The fourth characteristic in Solomon’s litany of things that God hates was “a heart that devises wicked plans” (Pro. 6:18a). One of the reasons that God hates such a heart is that following close on its heels are “feet that run rapidly to evil” (v. 18b).
The world has given us a useful maxim: “The thought is mother to the deed.” Stated mundanely, actions result from mental processes—both good and bad. The Word of God offers a corresponding but inspired version of that idea: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Pro. 23:7a).
One of Satan’s most effective ploys is to encourage hasty action. That intense urge we all have felt to “Do it now! Do it now!” is never of the Lord. Yes, the Lord wants us to obey Him immediately, but the insistent pressure that we sometimes feel is not His modus operandi. The Spirit of God speaks softly and gently. It is a characteristic of the flesh to rush into action without any reflection. In fact, one of the characteristics of a fool is that he refuses to seek wise counsel and fails to consider the consequences of his actions.
I remember as a young man having a co-worker whose feet ran rapidly to evil. In his case, he would twist even the most innocent thing said to him into something perverse. I found myself talking to him only when necessary and speaking as tersely as possible. His evil was swift and continual.
There are many innocent diversions in this life. But many people are happy only when they are sinning. Some people delight in pulling one over on the boss—fudging their hours, stealing small items from the office, padding their expense accounts. Some people are pleased only when they are spreading some malicious bit of gossip. Some people enjoy provoking an argument. Some enjoy lying, and do so for no apparent reason. Some entertain sexual fantasies—or act them out. Some will compromise anything for money. Some are proud and arrogant, boasting with nearly every breath.
As you can see, when we consider “feet that run rapidly to evil,’ we need not conclude that God has in mind just the “big” sins, things of a felonious nature, murder, kidnapping, rape. In fact, when Paul warns Timothy about the “difficult times” that will characterize “the last days,” he doesn’t even mention those kinds of sins. A number of the items he includes would be regarded as pretty innocuous by a lot of believers: “men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (II Tim. 3:2-5a). Disobedient to parents? Ungrateful? Conceited? Unloving? These are the terrible sins that characterize “difficult times”?
Yes. God hates sin in any form and is particularly antagonistic toward those with a propensity to sin quickly and repeatedly because sin is so harmful. Sin is the reflex of the flesh. And God hates “feet that run rapidly to evil.” We may try to psychologize, socialize, sanitize, or fictionalize these behaviors, but God hates sin. And though He is longsuffering, often waiting patiently for decades, His patience has an end. And when that end comes, what Peter reveals about the judgment on false prophets is true of sinners in general, namely, that whereas their feet ran rapidly to evil, God’s judgment is more rapid. Instead of happiness, they will discover that they have only been “bringing swift destruction upon themselves” (II Pet. 2:1b). There is no guile in the Lord’s mouth; when He says He hates something, we had better believe Him. Do your feet run to evil? Turn and run in repentance and faith to the Lord. He is also swift to forgive and cleanse.
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