“The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”
The NIV words this verse in this way: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Notice the first part is the same. Technically, so is the second part.
The KJV reminds us that sinners are perverse. When most people hear or read “perverse” they tend to think of sexual deviants of various sorts, but that’s not the primary meaning. Consider how Merriam-Webster (.com) defines “perverse”:
1 a: turned away from what is right or good :corrupt
b:improper, incorrect c: contrary to the evidence or the direction of the judge on a point of law <perverse verdict>
2 a: obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable, or accepted :wrongheaded
b: arising from or indicative of stubbornness or obstinacy
From this we see that all people are perverse in some way at some point (or all points) in life. We also see that it is because of a willful disobedience.
For many this means destruction. This is not just losing everything or dying, but it could very well have bad eternal significance.
This also means that, for Christians, we are frequently duplicitous. We wish to serve God, but we put forth a mindset contrary to what our Judge would have for us.
In the parable of the sheep and the goats of Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus says that those whom He calls goats think they are good people. When He comes to judge the world, their duplicitousness will prove their doom. As He said in the final two verses, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
What Do We Do?
As one of my favorite passages words it:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. – James 4:7-9
Heavenly Father, help us live a life that honors You. Clean our hands and purify our hearts that we may not be perverse or double-minded. Thank You for saving us from our sins, now please save us from ourselves. Make us a people of integrity, grace, and love.