Proverbs 21:2

from
An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs
by
Charles Bridges

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but Yahweh weighs the hearts."

Let me be thankful for the repetition of this weighty Proverb, most valuable for the close probing of my heart and the testing of the vital spirituality of my profession. So "deceitful is the heart above all things" that it deceives not others only, but--what even Satan never does--itself. Every intelligent Christian bears painful witness to this self-deception. How differently do we judge of the same action in others and in ourselves! Often do we palliate, if not justify, in ourselves the very habits which we condemn in others. Never therefore is the prayer out of season, "Search me, O God; know me, try me; show me to myself" (Ps. 139:23). There are no persons in the world about whom we make so many mistakes as ourselves. But, Oh! to be approved of God in heart and in sincerity is no common mercy!

Hid as the self-deluding professor is from himself, his way is right in his own eyes. But is it right in God's eyes? The Lord ponders the heart. Solemn and awakening recollection! He thoroughly reads every heart. And what defilement does he see in those ways of a man that are most right in his own eyes. Saul thought that he was serving God acceptably. But the all-searching eye discovered pride, covetousness, disobedient rejection of his God. What more self-satisfying than the soul's strict fast and humiliation? But the defective motive marred the sacrifice. "Did you at all fast to me, even to me?" Little did the self-complacent ruler suspect the spiritual pride, false confidence, and worldliness which this heart-searching God brought to view. And how much base alloy is hidden even in a sound-hearted profession! The disciples covered their own spirit under the pretense of vehement zeal for their Master. The Lord ponders the heart. He "weighs the spirits," proving exactly what is of himself and what is of a baser kind; what, and how much, there is of God, what of man. The principles of the heart lie deep. The work may be good in itself, but what are the ends? The same work, according to its end, may be accepted or be cast away. Jehonadab and Jehu both were engaged in the same exterminating work. With the one it was right service; with the other, vile hypocrisy (2 Kings 10:15). Self-distrust is therefore the wisdom of true godliness--daily, hourly trembling in ourselves, yet boldly grounding our confidence in God. But for the covering of the High Priest, how could we stand for one moment under the piercing eye of our Judge? Did our dearest earthly friend know what was passing in our thoughts at any one hour, could he ever deem us worthy of confidence? Must not his heart revolt from contact with such vileness? Yet does our gracious Lord, while pondering our hearts and privy to all their hidden corruptions, forgive and accept, yea, rejoice in us as his people.

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