God and communication

The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

Some interesting thoughts on Proverbs 22:12 from Peter Leithart:

The “eyes of Yahweh” are open for judgment (Psalm 11:4). His eyes roam about the earth to view what is going on and to pass judgment. Sometimes, the eyes are the source of the judicial action itself. It’s not simply that God sees and pronounces on something, but that His eyes see and His eyes take action.

Here, the Lord’s eyes are watchers, preserving and guarding. There is a connection with the tabernacle symbolism. The lampstand of the tabernacle is formed like a almond tree, with almond blossoms and buds. This fits with the story of Aaron’s rod, which budded like an almond tree. Aaron’s rod designated him as the true priest, who could flourish and bear fruit in the presence of God. But the fact that it was almond shows part of its significance. In Hebrew, the word for “almond” puns on the word for “watcher.” Aaron was being designated as the “watcher,” one of the “eyes of Yahweh” within the house. The almond-formed lampstand had the same symbolism. The lights of the lampstand were “watchers” that keep their “eyes” on the twelve loaves of showbread on the other side of the holy place.

How do the eyes of Yahweh preserve or guard knowledge? What does that mean? We can look at the second line of the Proverb for a clue. This says that Yahweh overthrows the words of a treacherous man, and this evidently contrasts with what the Lord does with the wise, faithful, or righteous man. A treacherous man speaks, issues orders, makes plans, announces judgments, but the Lord doesn’t preserve and guard them. He overthrows his words, the words of his knowledge. He tries to pass on knowledge to others, perhaps to his own children, but those words are without effect. The Lord overthrows them. But the Lord preserves, watches over, guards, and makes effective the words and knowledge of the faithful and righteous and wise.

Communication is never simply a matter of clarity of expression or conception. It is never simply a matter between two people. God, who is with His Word and who is His Word, is always involved in every act of human communication. God either protects knowledge, keeps His eyes on knowledge and words, to confirm and give them success; or He frustrates words and makes them fail. Good communication thus requires faithfulness and righteousness before God. Repentance is always part of the answer to poor communication.