Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but Yahweh weighs the hearts.Proverbs 21:2
Most people in our Western culture who have any ideas about God will typically have the understanding that God knows everything about everybody, including internal thoughts. According to popular perception, the God of the Bible is all about judgment and motives.
This kind of understanding in Western culture is driven by the way God is depicted in the Bible, and Proverbs 21:2 is one of those that highlights that characteristic of God. A parallel passage in the Proverbs is consistent with this as well.
All a man’s ways are pure in his own eyes, but his motives are weighed out by the LORD.Proverbs 16:2
But what is less recognized by the general population is the connection between the heart and actions. While most people are of the opinion that God is some sort of cosmic Santa Claus, just knowing good people from bad people, he really doesn’t have to go that far into an individual’s psyche to know what they think, because their actions bear out what’s in their heart.
For example, when Yeshua was confronting the Pharisees regarding their love of money and earthly wealth, he let them know how God’s perspective varied greatly from their own.
So He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is prized among men is detestable before God.Luke 16:15
God (or anyone, for that matter) can know what’s in someone’s heart because of what they value. What the Pharisees prized (wealth) was detestable to God, especially in light of the fact that they were supposed to be the shepherds of his people. It’s not that God hates money, it’s just that he has revealed that when money is valued above one’s dedication to God, it has become an idol, and he detests idolatry in any form.
But the key takeaway was that their hearts were revealed by their actions.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know about this,” does not He who weighs hearts consider it? Does not the One who guards your life know? Will He not repay a man according to his deeds?Proverbs 24:12
Even back here in Proverbs, we can see how the weighing of hearts is connected to an evaluation of someone’s deeds. The deeds reveal what is truly in the heart. This is also evident in the prophecies of Jeremiah.
I, Yahweh, search minds and test hearts. I will reward each person for what he has done. I will reward him for the results of his actions.Jeremiah 17:10
While God can certainly know what’s in our hearts, he typically does not need to look much further than our actions to know what resides there. Unless what we believe lines up with what he teaches us through his Word, our lives will likely bear out the errors of our own thinking, what we think is “right in our own eyes.” Integrity is ensuring that our hearts and our actions are working together to fulfill the righteous purposes and will of God.
If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.