Proverbs 21:4 - Proud Looks and The Wicked


"An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin." Proverbs 21:4

Matthew Henry said the following concerning this verse: 

"This may be taken as showing us, 1. The marks of a wicked man. He that has a high look and a proud heart, that carries himself insolently and scornfully towards both God and man, and that is always ploughing and plotting, designing and devising some mischief or other, is indeed a wicked man. The light of the wicked is sin. Sin is the pride, the ambition, the glory and joy, and the business of wicked men. 2. The miseries of wicked man. His raised expectations, his high designs, and most elaborate contrivances and projects, are sin to him; he contracts guilt in them and so prepares trouble for himself. The very business of all wicked men, as well as their pleasure, is nothing but sin; so Bishop Patrick. They do all to serve their lusts, and have no regard to the glory of God in it, and therefore their ploughing is sin, and no marvel when their sacrificing is so, ch. xv. 8."

Matthew Henry's commentary and the text touch on a few things that we should notice. First, pride is the disposition of the wicked mainly because their own glory and design is upon all they do, from praying to ploughing. I am reminded of a verse in Romans 14:23, which states:

"And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

These are harsh words perhaps, but they are true. Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 10:31:

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

The reason that the ploughing of the wicked is sin, is the motive behind the ploughing. It comes from a wicked heart not predisposed to God's grace and mercy. It is a heart set on self-glory and rebellion against God and His existence. The man of faith eats and drinks to God's glory, and when he ploughs the field, he does it for the glory of God.

John wrote the following:

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:16-17

Paul gives us a glimpse of what is going on here with the wicked and why:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousnessBecause that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." Romans 1:18-25

The self righteous aren't exempt either:

"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the GentileBut glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the GentileFor there is no respect of persons with God." Romans 2:1-11

Faith is what commends us to God:

"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Romans 4:3b

Therefore, if someone asks why the wicked mans ploughing is sinful, you can tell them it was not done in faith. It is our faith that commends us to God and it is faith that makes any work of man sweet to God. For we are saved by Grace through faith.

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