Proverbs 11:20

They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.

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What a difference! Some men are an abomination to God, and others are His delight. This difference in how the great God views men is severe. How does the Most High look at you? Does He despise you for your rebellious and stubborn heart? Or does He rejoice in you for your righteous actions? The consequences here are very great. Examine yourself!

Though this is a typical proverb in construction, it teaches a most important lesson. Do not rush by these words. The God Who rules heaven and earth treats men according to the thoughts of their hearts and their conduct. He is the enemy of the wicked, but He is the friend of those who love and live godliness. It is your wisdom to consider this rule.

What is a froward heart? The word “froward” is not the word “forward.” They have two very different meanings. Froward means bad, unreasonable, obnoxious, perverse, and ungovernable. It describes a naughty, evilly-disposed, and wicked person. A man with a froward heart is regularly thinking and acting contrary to God’s word.

Such a man is an abomination to God. That means the LORD detests, loathes, despises, and hates him. A man’s face reflects his kindness or resentment of another. God’s face is “against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth” (Ps 34:16). It is a terrible thing when God sets His face against a man (Lev 17:10; 26:17). And this includes those who rebelliously set up idols in their heart (Ezek 14:7-8).

The upright in their way are the opposite of the froward. They humble themselves before God’s word in every decision. They choose righteousness, no matter the cost. They do what is correct, honest, and just with integrity. As they face the temptations of life, they choose what is right in God’s sight. The contrast between heart in the first clause and way in the second clause teaches that a man’s actions reflect his heart (Matt 15:17-20).

God’s face is toward upright men, and He blesses them. His eyes are upon them, and His ears are open to their prayers (Job 36:7; Ps 33:18; 34:15). He delights in them for good (Ps 84:11). “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (II Chron 16:9).

The issue of this proverb is what you will do with your heart and life. If you push ahead in rebellion or stubbornness, thinking you know better, the LORD will despise you. If you will admit and confess your folly and commit all your ways unto the Lord, He will delight in you and cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth (Deut 32:13-14).