The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but gracious words are pure. - ESV
This Proverb was a long time coming. I've had it resting in my mind for about 2 weeks but between a couple other projects and my regular work I wasn't able to get it out.
Something presses on me with implications of such futility. Like Ecclesiastes, this proverb talks about the futility of life without God. In this instance of consideration it is the wicked who finds himself living without God and in another place it says that 'even the plowing of the wicked man is sin.' In both instances there is an activity which is either essential or unavoidable and it is counted as a horrible action. To be living is to be human and responsible for the good and evil we recognize, or choose to ignore. For the wicked many, even his plowing, that is, raising food and being productive/industrious is sin...even though it is for attending to the basic needs of life, and the original commission in the garden. And if that man is to lazy to be productive, even his thoughts are an abomination. It is an all-encompassing reality that we are responsible for our thoughts, and if they are done apart from God, they are counted as unrighteousness.
The other half of the proverb is quite hopeful. When considering what good there is that I can do, what good I can hope to do, this proverb begins to give an answer. Some commentators point out that the sense in which the word 'pure' is used is the same as in Malachi 1:11 in reference to a 'pure' offering. In that passage the author is talking about sacrifices which were knowingly imperfect, whether blind animals or with defects or stains and people were, in their hearts, despising the system God had set up. Instead of the imperfect sacrifices he wanted them to offer 'pure' sacrifices. And in this sense, in all the words speak, knowing that in a multitude of words sin is not lacking, those words which are gracious are like a pure sacrifice and a pleasing aroma to God.
Then this brings up a whole other bunch of questions - if the word of the tongue is from the Lord as in Prov 16:1 then are we really giving Him anything any way? Or has He given us gracious words to give back to Him through others?
Also - no one seems to notice what's going on in the brain of this image...there's more there than a snake....