Proverbs 24:12

If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?


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Save your excuses! They will not work. You cannot deceive God, Who ponders your heart and keeps your soul. He knows your thoughts, and He will reward you accordingly. Your excuse may exonerate you to others, but the great God is not so easily influenced.

This sober warning is to be understood in light of the previous verse, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain” (Pr 24:11). God holds you accountable to deliver any innocent person from a wrongful death. If you fail to get involved, even with the excuse you did not know, God will justly judge you.

Where there is cost, effort, or danger involved, most will not get involved, as the lesson of the Good Samaritan from Jesus shows. Both the priest and the Levite, though fellow countrymen, would not help the wounded Jew. It was a Samaritan, a cultural enemy of the Jews, that stopped and gave comprehensive care to the wounded man (Lu 10:29-37).

Most do not like to leave their comfort zone. Most hope that others will take care of a problem. Most do not like to get involved, because it may cost them money or time. These selfish and lazy persons avoid a guilty conscience by ignoring events around them. But noble and virtuous men and women are vigilant and get involved, for they are better.

The person here chose not to know. This is the excuse for not getting involved to save a life. Such excuses bring God’s judgment, “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Pr 21:13). And, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse” (Pr 28:27).

Here is the sin of omission – you did not do something you should have done. Most men only think of sins of commission – doing something they should not have done. But godly men also measure themselves by what God expects of them, for the Bible says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas 4:17).

Do not make excuses for your sins, for they will not sway this righteous Judge at all. He ponders, or carefully considers and measures, every man’s motives and actions (Pr 5:21; 21:2). Do not avoid getting involved or participating where you should to help others, because He will surely require it of you (Pr 3:28-29; 17:5; Jas 4:17; Matt 25:41-46).

The Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is quick and powerful, and He discerns the thoughts and intents of your heart (Heb 4:12). Everything in your life is naked and open to His eyes (Heb 4:13). Therefore, you had better soberly consider all your duties before Him, which in this proverb is to help and deliver those in serious trouble (Heb 4:14).