Haughty eyes and a proud heart—the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin (Proverbs 21:4 NIV 2011).      

Sin doesn’t pop up fully grown. It starts from a small seed of defiance planted deep within us before we were born. It takes root, not in the rich soil of heaven, but in the hardened sewage of hell. The proud heart is the unplowed field of the wicked rebel. Nothing good is going to grow there. The heart—not the muscle that pumps blood, but the center of our thoughts and emotions—is either hardened in rebellion against its Creator, or is broken and contrite before its Savior God. The eyes will reveal which.

When a group of people have been rounded up after an IED blast, how will a person identify America’s enemy from among those who are just innocent civilians? A person who has served as an interrogator in such situations reports, “I watch the eyes!” Those who submit to their circumstances will lower their eyes. Those who stare back show defiance. They are haughty. Defiant eyes reveal a defiant heart. Maybe that person did not set the IED. But he could have. He wishes he had. One day he will.

The author of this proverb, King Solomon, wrote these words not to invite us to detect defiance toward God in others, but to warn us to check our own hearts. After all, the seeds of rebellion against the Holy One were also sown inside of us. They have taken root. We must admit that they have produced sin.

Maybe we can fool others. Maybe we can even fool ourselves. But God sees through us. With his Word, he judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) How can we escape his judgment? What can we show that proves we do not want to be his enemy?

King David knew. “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, O God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

The writer of “Rock of Ages” caught the right words: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling…”

The eyes of such a one are not haughty. Such a heart is not proud. Such a field does not produce sin.

This field has been plowed by the Holy Spirit. It yields a heavenly harvest.

We pray: Holy Spirit, shine into our hearts the truth of the Lord God so that stubborn pride and rebellion may be seen for what it is. Break up the hardness you find in our hearts, and plant into us the seed of your Word. Enable us to produce a rich harvest of good fruit that will benefit others, and give glory to your name. Amen.


Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida-Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military