The Heart Of The Righteous Studieth To Answer
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer:
but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things
The heart it says; not the hearts but the heart. The righteous have but one heart, the inner man created after the image of God, yoked to Christ, with the same indwelling, divine principle guiding it for we have the Spirit of God in us and He teaches us, leading us into all truth that God would have us to know. “A NEW HEART also will I give you, and a NEW SPIRIT will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” says the Lord in Ezekiel 36:26.
This heart STUDIETH to answer; this is a core characteristic of it. To one degree or another this heart WILL study to answer; may it be that it is to a greater degree for all of God’s people who are physically and mentally able. But what does it mean to study? The word at issue literally means “to roar, growl, groan, to utter, speak, to meditate, devise, muse, imagine.” What a divergent set of meanings and yet they all tie-in. The heart of the righteous meditates upon God’s word. It ponders it, considers it, muses over it. It seeks out His word for this purpose; to understand it, to know it as God enables, and to know Him whom it reveals.
Yet it isn’t a hidden-city-set-on-a-hill type of consideration. It isn’t a pondering meant to be kept within (unto the edification of the thinker only). It is no buried talent meditation; it speaks, it utters, it shares what has been pondered unto the benefit of others. We are to edify the brethren as we seek to be edified; likewise, we are to speak words of grace, seasoned with salt, to those without.
But with what passion are we to speak before others, with what zeal and intensity are we to do it? It is with a roaring intensity; it is a growl like a bear and a roar like a lion; it is a powerful, bold, formidable utterance. Not in volume, not with a fierce countenance or undue harshness of words, but with God-given fervor; with a sense of urgency, understanding the grave importance of the Doctrine of Christ and all of the associated precepts that flow into it and from it. And yet, it is a moan; we moan over our lack of understanding; beseeching the Father for wisdom and prudence, even the manifestation of Christ in our heart and mind for He is our wisdom and understanding. We see how little we know and understand; we see our poorness of spiritual sight; and yet, we are to take the sight that we do have, and feed one another therewith, praying the Lord that He will give us grace and true insight so that all may benefit and prosper (as He wills). Thus, the studying, pondering, meditating heart of the righteous desires: (1) the source of the meditation (the Scripture and all that it has to say therein); (2) the object of the meditation (which is ultimately Christ: His person, His work, His doctrine, and His will for us), and it desires (3) to boldly declare the truth being meditated upon unto the growth and maturity of the church. Again, the degrees may vary but the desire is real. We ought to pray for greater degrees and make the best use of the abilities He has given us. Seeing that many can study politics, engineering, philosophy, science, design, history and everything else, may it be that we pursue God’s word with equal, or greater, vigour.
Now, this heart studieth to answer but to answer what and whom? This word answer literally means sing. However, it is primarily used in the sense of responding, testifying, witnessing. The obvious cross-reference is 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” The word answer also has as its meaning: to cry out solemnly, with a loud voice, again, with fervor and gravity; which is how we should proceed seeing that these biblical matters, these Gospel matters, are not trifling but of the utmost importance; “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…“
This answer also pertains to lifting up the voice to speak of wondrous things found in God’s word. It is to declare Christ; declare the Godhead; declare the righteous demands of the law; declare the horrid predicament of man by nature; declare the only hope, the only peace, the only salvation for desperate, sin-sick, hungering and thirsting men and women… We study to answer all who ask of us a reason for our Hope. We study to be faithful witnesses (and faithful witnesses we all are if we be in Christ). We study to learn all that God would have us to learn in His word. Did he write about it? Then it behooves us to be willing, ye more than willing, to hear what He has to say, to ponder it, and to declare it before others. Are all biblical precepts of the same weight? No; surely the core doctrines of the Gospel outweigh eschatology or the role of singing/music in the worship service. However, we MUST be willing to hear all, ponder all, verify all (via the scripture), and to answer all — as God enables.
“But the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things;” the wicked (singular) mouth of the reprobate pours out sin, wickedness, and error. “…Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” The heart of natural man is desperately wicked, who can know it? It is this one heart, and this one mouth, that we see in view here — it represents the old man, even the evil flesh and spirit of man. It stems from the one fallen state and condition of mankind and it is abominable to the core; totally depraved by nature (but not always totally depraved in outward display or manifestation).
The word poureth literally means to bubble forth, to gush out. It is a constant flowing and a mighty one at that; it causes to boil up, ferment, putrefy. It is noxious and damaging; it never brings good — it can only bring death and destruction. It emits error and belches up confusion. Yet how does it manifest itself in the world? It manifests itself as proclaiming, declaring that which (quite often) sounds holy to the natural ear. It is the publication of lies that look like truth; it is the dispensing of bitter poison that tastes sweet and satisfying when ingested by the undiscerning. It is a fountain of sin and calamity, wickedness and misfortune that sounds (to countless millions) like gospel truth.
And who are these wicked ones whose mouth pours out evil things, promoting error and delusion? Certainly, they are the pagans, atheists, animists, new-agers, agnostics, theists, deists, theosophists, Hindus, Talmudists, Buddhists, Mohammedans, and other vain philosophers and religionists who DO NOT name the name of Christ. Yet, they are the least of our worries for within so-called “Christendom” we find the Methodists, Adventists, false “Witnesses,” Anglicans, Romanists, Lutherans, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Mormons, “free-will Baptists,” (ecumenical) Presbyterians, and many others who claim to profess Christ but deny Him by their evil deeds, doctrines, and compromising religious associations. But worse than these, far more deceptive than these, are those who come even closer to home (even lying in wait in the midst of the brethren, appearing to be brethren to many). These are they who claim to profess the doctrine of Christ, the doctrines of free and sovereign grace, but who promote Annihilationism (denying that the suffering in hell of the reprobate is eternal), true legalism, true antinomianism, the error of regeneration without Gospel conversion, hyper-preterism, etc.). These doctrines are ungodly distortions of the true Gospel and those who promote them are indeed pouring forth evil things out of their wicked mouths.
Yet God will triumph against them because He has already triumphed in Christ — and this will be made manifest to all come Judgment Day. It is only by the grace and effectual working of God that any Christian, any righteous heart, will study to answer unto the edification of themselves and the saints. May it be that God puts it on all of our hearts to study His word, searching it out, pondering it all the more; speaking to one another concerning it; and declaring it before the unsaved world unto the benefit of God’s scattered and wandering elect. But let us not study to talk vanity, to debate, or to philosophize — for none of these things profit. But let us study to glorify God, to see Him better, praise Him better, and to know and love Him better. May our study, our scriptural ponderings and meditations, fill us with awe, reverence, godly fear, and godly obedience towards Him — all by His grace and unto His eternal honour.
To God be the glory.