Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 22:12


The theological principle behind verse 12 should be obvious to any mature Christian. “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge,and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.” In other words, the sovereign God is in control of His creation, including all the human creatures in it. In one area, Jehovah’s providence protects the knowledge which mankind has of Him. “He left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” So if some agnostic, evolutionist attempts to overthrow God’s truth, he shall fail. While he may corrupt the minds of a few simpletons, as Solomon calls them, God’s truth still stands. “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.” There remains in the heart of all men an innate understanding that God exists, and our observance of creation reminds us. Additionally, we might apply this “knowledge” to God’s Word. When the humanistic educator or scientist suggests that the Bible is myth and folly, God brings another evidence of its truth to the surface. Elohim has said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away.” And after 2,000 years and specifically 250 years of concentrated effort, the Bible is still “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.” Basically, the Holy Spirit says – God is in control.

But it’s not WHAT is said in this verse which interests me tonight; it is HOW it is said. “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.” There is nothing secret, esoteric or mysterious about any of the words of this verse. The Hebrew word “eyes” is used almost 900 times in the Bible, and 800 times it is either “sight” or “eyes.” “Knowledge” is what you’d expect it to be, and “preserve” means “to watch” or “to guard.” “Transgressor” is what you’d expect – someone who crosses God’s line – a sinner. “Words” refers to “speech.” And “overthrow” suggests something being overturned – like a box of rotten apples.

The meaning of the verse is easy to grasp. And the words are easy to understand in themselves. But the way in which the Holy Spirit has put those words together should make us stop and meditate for a few minutes.

What does this verse indirectly say about God Himself?

Does God have eyes as you and I have eyes? Well, of course He does, because the Bible tells us so in verses just like this one. But wait a minute, God is a Spirit, and spirits don’t have flesh and bones and eyes. Our bodies have eyes, but when our souls and spirits leave our bodies, do they continue to have eyes? To say “God has eyes” is an “anthropomorphism” – an attempt to describe God in human terms. Does God see and know things? Absolutely. Since WE learn things through our eyes and other senses, we ascribe to God those senses, because we don’t know how to describe Him any other way.

Does God have ears? If He does what shape are they? Are they like the ears of a seal – simply holes in God’s head? Are they big and soft like the ears of some dogs, or are they huge and leathery like an elephant’s? Actually, just like eyes, God doesn’t have any, and yet He sees all things and hears all things. If you stop and think about it, eyes and ears would be hindrances to the omniscience of God, because of their natural limitations. God hears all and sees all things because He is God, NOT because He has eyes and ears.

Now, thinking about YOUR eyes and ears, do you SEE with your EARS, or HEAR with your EYES? In a limited way, both of those are possible to some degree. A perceptive blind person can see” what is going on in a room. He might “see” who is with him and also to see” what he is doing by carefully listening. Someone who is deaf may be able to “hear” a man speak to him by reading his lips.

You may be able to read book with your eyes, but can you turn the pages or reach for a different book with your eyes? You may be able to hear a sermon with your ears, and someone else might do so with their eyes, but can you preach a sermon with your eyes or ears? In the human body, each member has a special function and rarely can we adapt well enough to make them do what other members usually do. Someone may be able to play the piano or feed himself with his feet, but no one can do those things with their eyes or their ears. Am I being silly? I don’t think so, because I am trying to point something out.

Jehovah is not limited like us, because He is God – and God is a spirit. The triune God does not have a body with all the bodily parts we have come to know and understand. And yet we are told, “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge.” This is similar to saying, “The eyes of the Lord can turn the pages of the book.” This is because “the eyes of the Lord” refer to all that the Lord is. Solomon could have said, “The ears of the LORD,” or “The hands of the LORD preserve knowledge.” Everything about the Lord is involved in maintaining His sovereign reign over creation.

Now, let’s tack to the other side of the wind and approach our destination differently.

How is it that the Lord “over-throweth the words of the transgressors”?

Satan from Day #1, has been trying to usurp God’s authority and to “sit upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north.” He has said, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” After his initial rebellion and failure, he chose to corrupt mankind suggesting “and ye shall be as gods.” Now, for 6,000 years, he and his allies have been attempting to destroy man’s knowledge of God. “Yea, hath God said?” Why has he been less than successful? Because God cannot be defeated. It is the will of God that His truth will stand forever. To put it another way, “Providence stands in the way of Satan’s success.”

The word “providence” literally speaks of“provision.” But for Christians it has come to mean God’s sovereign control – with all its blessings and trials. And this brings me back to “the eyes of the Lord.” Jehovah “sees” and knows everything, not just in the sense of perception, but also in control – providence.

I usually come to church by driving straight west along 12th avenue, but if I was smart I’d take a different route. There is a dangerous intersection at 12th and Syringa, which has caused Judy and me, any number of skipped heart beats. Traffic coming from the north and south are supposed to stop, while we have the right of way. But it is difficult to see us coming from the east, and if those other cars are not careful, they might pull out right in front of us. More than once we have had to slam on our brakes to avoid an accident. Sunday morning (thankfully Judy was not with me), I could see a car rapidly approaching that intersection from the north so I began to slow, just in case. The car stopped, but just beyond it, so that I couldn’t see him, was a kid on a bike. The situation was further complicated by an additional parked car next to the street in the field. The boy was not on the street, but in the field, parallel to the street, so he didn’t have a stop sign. He may have been confused by the presence of two cars facing south, and without slowing he just rode out in front of me. If I hadn’t slowed due to the moving car, I would have hit the kid at 30 mph. Providence protected both me and that boy. I believe in the providence of God. I believe that the eye of the Lord saw” the situation and preserved that child. He glared at me as if I had done something wrong, but I just thanked the Lord for His providential care. Just as God preserved that child, He preserves His knowledge, His Word, and ten thousand other things which He wills to preserve.

“The eyes of the Lord” cannot be separated from the hands of the Lord – both of which are anthropomorphisms. Everything about our God is involved in the completion of His will. And most of the time the details of God’s providential care are so small that we experience it and immediately forget it. If I hadn’t chosen to use that boy as an illustration, most likely after few days I’d never think of him again. And do you think he went home and told his mother about what happened? Of course not. He will forget it as well. He was not killed or injured. Why? It was God’s will. Now, let’s our imaginations wander. What might that child become some day? Could it be possible that the Lord intends to save him? Might he some day become a faithful servant of God and the father of a family of Christians? “The eyes of the Lord” saw what was coming and preserved that boy who might some day become an apologist for Bible Christianity, “overthrowing the words of the transgressors.”

I think I see how “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.”