He who walks blamelessly will be delivered, but he who is crooked will fall all at once. Proverbs 28:18
There are some who try to walk simultaneously on two divergent paths. They will find that their hypocrisy and duplicity will betray them in the end. Like a man standing on both sides of a draw bridge that is opening, they will find that sooner or later they will either have to pick a side - or face falling into the water all at once. That is what our proverb is about today.
The crooked man is one who is trying to live two ways at one time. The Hebrew word for crooked means to walk twisted in two ways. The idea behind the word is that the two paths are opposite of each other. There is no way that this man can continue in this indefinitely. The paths themselves are mutually exclusive and will end badly. That end is given to us as a warning. He will "fall all at once." This is end for those who try to walk in hypocrisy - they will not slip up a litle - they will fall all at once. The best example of this is in the New Testament. The person who did it - Judas Iscariot.
Judas tried to live in two completely different worlds. We learn that he followed Jesus - and was even one who saw the power of God in Christ up close and personal. Yet he also wanted to be in power - and he loved money. He would steal from their money box as the treasurer - and also was angry when the woman with the valuable vial of oil poured it on Jesus rather than sold it for a small fortune. He wanted money - evident by the fact that in the end he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. But that money would not assuage his guilty conscience. Judas was an example of a man who fell "all at once." Unable to handle the guilt for betraying Jesus to crucifixion, he eventually went out and hung himself. He truly fell quickly and permanently. All hypocrites can know that this end looms before them. They can try to escape all they want - but the fact is either by an exposure here and now or by the judgment in the end - they are going to fall - and fall badly.
The one who walks "blamelessly" is the one who will be delivered. This is an encouragement for all men to live a godly life. They reject the lies and deception of those who play games with their relationship with God. By this - and by the grace of God they are delivered from the destruction of sin itself. But this proverb goes even deeper - and presents to us the gospel. Those of us who desire to live for The Lord give it our best shot - but in the end we will not be "blameless" before The Lord. We unfortunately will sin - and that takes us out of the category of the blameless. But there is One who lived His entire time on the earth in a blameless state - never breaking God's Law - never sinning once. That One is Jesus Christ - and He is the One who was delivered first - to death - and then in the resurrection - from death. His deliverance to death was for our sakes - so that He could pay the price for our sin and rebellion required by God's holiness and justice. His deliverance from death in the resurrection reveals to us that God accepted the payment of His blood for our sins. Now, here is the tremendous news of the gospel. Through His blamelessness and His death, burial, and resurrection we can now be granted the same deliverance from the wrath of God against sin.
The wise man knows that any attempt he makes on his own to get to God will be dogged by his own sinful duplicity. I cannot tell you how often I tried to clean myself up from my sin and bad character and choices - only to find that I could never finish the job I started. What was the most disappointing was the fact that often I simply chose sin and rebellion to God. I did so just because it felt good - or because my flesh wanted something, and I didn't want to "just say no." The fact is I couldn't "just say no." And a wise man realizes he can't either. We all wind up hypocrites who try it both ways only to find we fall all at once when our sinful selfishness rises up and demands its own way. The comfort to us who are wise enough to see our fallen conditin is that there is One who walked blamelessly before God. His choice was to always do what pleased His Father. Jesus is that One - and He will graciously grant us His deliverance from sin by grace. Thus we are rescued from the twisted way we walk by our very nature. But that rescue is never self-earned. It is received as we receive the grace of God in Jesus Christ proclaimed to us in the gospel.
Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows and death, So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, "Was I not joking?" Proverbs 26:18-19
I like to call this the, "Practical Jokes" proverb. That is because it describes what can happen when practical joking gets out of hand. Unfortunately, I've watched a few of these in my day and they can get ugly in a hurry.
The proverb speaks to us of a certain madman. This guy is out of control. He is throwing three things in his insanity. The first is firebrands - which are akin to something like a flaming arrow. This crazy guy is also shooting regular arrows. The third thing he is dealing in is death. The first two are easy to understand, but this last one is a little more cryptic. I see the final thing in light of what happens due to the deception. He is throwing around these things that hurt physically - but he is also throwing something that hurts emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. He is throwing "death" - he is killing relationships and injuring people so that they are dead to him emotionally. His actions are hurting things and killing someone's ability to be around him - interact with him - and receive anything from him. So we see three pretty rough things going on here. All three are destructive and can cause great harm. The interesting thing is that since he is a madman - his aim may not be the best. From how this is stated, it seems as if a rather random pattern is being followed in how these things are being shot and thrown. Thus he will not hit everyone, but when he does, it is going to hurt badly. It might even kill someone. What could this be describing? Let's look, because the answer is given in verse 19.
Verse 19 tells us that the comparison is to a man who deceives his neighbor - then tells him he was only joking. First of all we need to see that this man does these things to his neighbor. The term here implies more than just a casual relationship. Some passages imply a relationship as close as a close friend or even a lover. What he is doing to his neighbor is that he is "deceiving" him. The word here is "ramah" and it means to intentionally deal craftily with someone. Other ways it is used is to indicate lies, betrayal, crass jokes, and even pulling a trick on someone. That is definitely the case here in Proverbs 26:18-19. What is going on is that a trick or a crass joke is being played on a person by his neighbor, which is pretty much the definition of a practical joke.
If we did not know the nature of this proverb through the word "ramah" - things become much clearer as we see that after this man deceives his neighbor - he eventually lets him know about it by saying, "Was I not joking?" There it is - a practical joke, pure and simple. But why is this such a strong statement? Is God adamantly opposed to all practical jokes? From what I read here I cannot say one way or the other. This is just a warning about consequences.
A day is coming when the practical joker is going to play a joke on someone and it is going to blow up in his face. He is like that madman randomly shooting arrows. Most will fall relatively harmless to the ground. They won't hit any real target. But every once in a while he will strike something - actually someone. When that happens - problems are coming. In some cases real harm comes to someone in a practical joke. Somebody gets physically hurt - and at times it is a bad injury. In other situations the pain is much worse - because it is emotional and relational. I've actually watched relationships broken forever or for a long time because of a practical joke gone bad. These are very sad things to watch because the joke was meant to be funny (at least to the one doing it - and to everyone watching the person humiliated). But at times the humiliation breeds anger. That is why God warns us about it.
In all honesty - when I consider that most practical jokes are done to humiliate someone - or at least to laugh at their expense - I think that a wise man should probably avoid them. He knows that such an action may result in an offended brother. And from other proverbs he knows that if this happens that brother will be very hard to win back. That is why the wise man decides against such actions. But before you think I am a 'stick in the mud' on this issue - you should know that I have been the mark of many practical jokes. How do I respond them? I laugh with those who did them . . . sometimes threaten retaliation . . . and usually end up forgetting them and thinking, "You got me good!" It is good to have a sense of humor - and an ability to laugh at yourself. Just remember that some won't - and when that happens - it's going to be bad - very bad.
The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!” - Proverbs 26:13
Excuses, excuses . . . is something that men who have been used of God in my life used to say to me. They would say it when I would try to use an excuse to cover for something that was far more an instance of laziness than a problem that developed. This is something many of us are guilty of - and yet unlike my experience they have not had someone who would call them so openly on it. I will admit that hearing my mentors call me openly on these things hurt at first - but it has been invaluable to me over the years. We all need someone who would be so painfully honest with us. That is what this proverb illustrates by showing the absurdity of the sluggard's excuses for not doing what he should do.
Here the sluggard makes statements that very well could be true. In Israel there are lions that are in the wilderness that surrounds the towns. This was especially the case when the country was far less developed than it is now. But in the day Solomon wrote this, it would not have been too odd to know that a lion was in any of these areas. Yet in saying this - it was not the everyday occurance to have a lion in these areas. And, if there was, a man's job was to get with other real men in the city and address the problem by going and driving the lion away or killing it to protect the people. This is NOT the response of the sluggard to this real or imagined situation.
We are introduced to the one making these claims by hearing that he is a sluggard. That means he disdains work and labor of any kind. He avoids it at all costs - or in this case with all his many stories of danger and trouble. There is a lion in the road - therefore I cannot go on the road to work! Guess I'll just have to stay inside today and be safe (or lazy - which is his normal position). There is a lion in the open square! Therefore I cannot go into the square and see if there is any work for the day. Therefore I cannot go and get food for the family at the market. Therefore I cannot do anything - because it is too dangerous. Oh woe is me - guess I'll have to spend another day inside laying around. Too bad they didn't have xbox 360 or Nintendo back then - becasue he could have beaten every game his wife or mother bought for him as he sat around and was a lazy bum. Sorry if that reference was too close to home - but if the shoe fits (or in this case the controller) wear it.
There are a myriad of excuses that the sluggard will use to avoid work and avoid doing the things he should be doing as a man or woman. God calls us to work - and it was something He commanded BEFORE the Fall! If we are not giving ourselves to valuable work - we are being lazy. I know that sounds harsh - but it is true. Honestly, it only sounds harsh because we've created a whole society that no longer values hard work. We've once again encouraged a welfare state where people wait for work to be given to them - and some don't even look for work, knowing that a bare subsistence living will be given to them by corrupt politicians who have long left the idea of compassion - and now are just creating a class of people who will support them as their power base - at least until the money runs out.
God called us to be working. I don't mean that we should never rest because God desires for us to be balanced in such things. But if we are not working - there is potentially a very big problem. Work is a godly thing - and honestly - it keeps us from a whole host of problems that arise when we are sedentary. Remember this . . . God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. Therefore it is wise for us to mirror the activity of our Father and our God. To do otherwise is to risk becoming a sluggard who seems to always have an excuse why he is not working or doing something useful in society, for his family, and even for himself. Dearest saints - be wise - let go of all the excuses - and WORK!
He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred covers itself with guile, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. Proverbs 26:24-26
This proverb is about how people can hate you in their heart while all the time speaking what seem like pleasant words from their mouths. It has to do with deceitfulness, guile, and ultimately . . . wickedness. A wise man read these things and learns that just because someone is "for you" with their words does not mean that they are really with you in the end. There are some who speak wonderful words in public, but their feelings and their support in private is a wholly different matter.
Most people do not speak openly about their hate of another. To do such a thing would immediately characterize them in a very negative light. It would also expose them in such a way that they would have no more influence with that individual - or with anyone who thinks favorable of them. Therefore it is better for the ungodly man to disguise his hatred. This, according to God's wisdom, is done with his lips. He speaks graciously of the one he hates, All this is done for the sake of appearance only. The whole time he speaks graciously and kindly of this man - he has quite another thing going on inside his heart. We are told that he is laying up deceit in his heart. He is deceiving others - and in some ways even deceiving himself. He hates the man he speaks kindly of - and considers him an enemy.
We are warned that when we come to a man like this, we need to look into his heart. There is lying within his heart - and there are also abominations - 7 of them to be exact. What are these abominations? There are a couple of possibilities. Jesus spoike of seven woes in Matthew 23. These were curses on the Pharisees and Saducees for the hypocrisy that they practiced. Here we have a man who hates his friend or acquaintence, being the picture of hypocrisy by speaking well of him and yet hating him in his heart. The seven thing Jesus speaks of may be similar to the abominations in this man's heart. This also may be related to the seven things God says He hates in Proverbs 6:16-19. The list here is full of things God absolutely despises. The way I lean on this is that the number seven used here speaks more of perfection. There is a perfect hate - that leads to a perfectly abominable attitude and heart filled with evil and hypocritical actions and thoughts toward this one who is hated.
The warning here I think is twofold. First of all, don't be a man like this. Don't be someone who speaks hypocritically of another - saying positive, gracious things about them while all the while holding hatred and wicked, abominable thoughts and plans in your heart. To live this way is so harmful to our spirit. It is also to embrace attitudes that are completely foreign to Almighty God and those who are transformed by the Holy Spirit to be more like Christ daily. The second lesson for us is learned as we hear a warning from God. Such a man as this will be exposed in the end. His hypocrisy and his falsehood will be revealed. The assmbly will see the duplicity of this man - for God Himself will expose him in the end.
Consider this one example as we draw our thoughts about this proverb to a close. Judas was the ultimate example of this proverb. He was with Jesus for three years - and yet in the end sold him for a slave's price as he betrayed the Lord. During that time Judas never exposed himself publicly as an enemy of Christ. Even his betrayal was false as he betrayed the Son of God with a kiss. He was unwilling for his heart of hatred and greed to be exposed publically - and yet it was exposed. In the gospels we learn that Judas was a thief who stole money out of their money box. He was a man who criticized the beautiful expression of Mary's love when she anointed the Lord's feet with her perfumed oil worth a year's wages. Judas spoke only because he knew such a stash would have netted him so much more money he could embezzle later. God fully exposed Judas' hypocrisy - revealing in the gospels all the lies, deceit, and guile that he hid for three years. In the end he was exposed - showing both his hypocrisy and his horrific end - hanging from a tree dead and hopeless.
Do not be a betrayer - a liar - and a fraud in your friendships. Speak the truth - and if it is hard truth to hear - speak it in love. Don't hide things by sounding one way with your friend - and a wholly different way when you are not physically with him. This is a lifestyle that God calls an abomination. Be a true friend - an honest one - and one who is the same whether seen or unseen. Such a friend is like The Lord.
He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him. Proverbs 26:27
This is not a proverb that explains why bad things happen to Wylie Coyote - even though at first glance it might. It is actually about those who plan to do evil to others. Those who set traps to catch others and have bad things happen to them are warned in this proverb that what they do will eventually happen to them. Let's take a look at what this means - and also see an example or two.
Those who dig a pit do so to catch someone in it. In biblical times people would dig pits and cover them for the purpose of catching more than just animals who would fall into them. These pits would be dug and covered with camouflage as well as wetted down on the sides so that whoever was caught in them would not have opportunity to escape. Those who caught the person would then either take them captive as a slave - or kill the one who fell into the pit. The reason a stone would be rolled is to be put on a steep hill so that it could then be rolled down to kill or badly injure someone who was coming through the valley. This was a tactic of thieves who wanted to steal what travellers would have as they went through valleys and along roads that were next to hilly or mountainous areas. The idea with a pit or with a stone was to injure or kill someone for evil purposes.
God warns that those who do such things will fall into a pit themselves. God also warns that the stone that is rolled with come back on them. This is not a reference to an actual pit or an actual stone rolling on them - but was a warning that God was going to hold them responsible for their wicked actions. A good example of this would be the story of Joseph and his brothers. The brothers threw Joseph into a pit with the original intention of killing him because of their jealous hatred of him. Joseph and his stinking varicolored coat reminded them every day that their father loved him more than them - so why not teach the little runt a lesson. Of course killing your brother is a little intense. In the end they decided just to sell him into lifelong slavery (their sibling rivalry was way more intense that what I remember with my brothers). They covered their tracks by dipping the hated coat in blood and telling their father that a wild animal killed Joseph. But the pit they dug - and the rock they rolled was going to come back on them one day.
The first "pit-experience" was when their father almost died from grief. Then there was the famine that came and caused them to have to go to Egypt where they had to ask for food from . . . wait for it . . . their snotty little brother who was now the second ruler of Egypt. What was very good for them was that their brother had far more mercy on them in their pit that they had on him when he was in theirs. They had rolled their stone on him - but he refused to roll his on them. He chose forgiveness rather than revenge.
The varied pits that you can fall into are as numerous as the ones you dig for others. It is amazing as I grow older to see all the various pits that people have fallen into after they've dug ones for someone else. It is a fact of life that what goes around comes around. That is the simple, one-sentence way to define this particular proverb. I just hope that we all remember that the next time we grab our shovels and start digging for someone else.
Like clouds and wind without rain Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely. Proverbs 25:14
Have you ever met someone who boasts of incredible abilities to do something, only to find out when you actually need those services that they were inflated beyond their actual size by the imagination of the person's mind? That is what today's proverb deals with. It warns us about the dangers of eggeration - especially when it comes to skils of abilities that we possess (or maybe don't possess).
I live in Arkansas - and that means that in the months of July and August there is a lot of excitement when any clouds show up to our west. That is because we are hoping that in those clouds there will be a little known commodity called rain. What is truly discouraging is when the sky grows cloudy - and even sometimes dark - and the result is . . . nothing. There is the promise of rain, but the actual wet stuff itself never falls. The clouds come - the winds come - and nothing else comes with it. Our hopes are raised and we become very excited about the propect of rain, only to see dust stirred up and trees bend in the wind, but the main act, rain, just is not going to show today.
This is the metaphor that God uses to describe a man who boasts of skill - who boasts of gift that would help others - only to learn that he is eggagerating and lying of these things. You believe and hope in this man - only to learn that he is full of hot air - and little else. Some folks put their whole hope in such people and are crushed by the truth that their only skill is being able to tell tall tales of their supposed exploits. In the end their promise has as much worth as a 3 dollar bill. It may look good on the outside - even holding promise for being useful - but when you take it to a store, it is worthless. Beware of men who are all talk and little or no action. They will take your for a ride - and then leave you on the curb heart broken. Do not entrust yourself to someone unless they have shown by their words and their actions that they can deliver on what they've promised.
Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false scale is not good. Proverbs 20:23
It is interesting to see how seriously God takes the business dealings of His people. God desires for His people to be an example of His grace - and a testimony to things like honesty and integrity. There is no better place to see this than in the business dealings of a wise and godly man. Too often I run into the attitude that a man's business life is separate from his religious one. The fact of Scripture is that Jesus is Lord - not just of our "church-time," but of every moment we are alive. This means that the way that we act in business should also reflect God's glory to others.
In the society of Solomon's time everything was measured with weights and scales. Since it was primarily an agrarian society farmers and those who raised livestock would bring their goods to market where the crops and the animals would be weighed and valued. Once the price was established - even the money they were paid would then be weighed out so that they could be paid. When you realize this you can see why God speaks of differing weights and false scales. This was what unscrupulous businessmen would do to cheat the system. Their scales would have weights that were supposed to weight a certain amount, yet they would have two sets of weights - one accurate and another that would cheat their customers by being lighter than they should be. Others would have false scales that would underweigh whatever was put on them.
There are ways that men cheat today in business - and they are as varied as the ungodly men and women who use them. Some use kickbacks to get business - while others "cook the books" to embezzle money from their bosses. Some just steal from their business and hope no one catches them. But God is not just interested in the big-time offenders, He hates even the little embezzlements that happen and are overlooked. In fact God uses the word "abomination" to describe how He views dishonesty and a lack of integrity. This word means something utterly loathesome and hated. How does God feel about dishonesty and a lack of business integrity? He despises it - hates it - and considers it loathesome. Really can't be much more clear about something than that now can we?
God's character is impeccable. He is faithful and true. He has never failed to fulfill any of His promises or judgments for that matter. When He says something He means it - and you can bet your very life on it. He is infinitely honest and throughout all eternity He has a perfect record of integrity. Remember dear saints of God that God desires for us to reflect His glory to this world. It was why we were created - to know Him and to reveal His character and love to the world that is all around us. This is why the business world is a key place for a godly witness of integrity and honesty for Him. Rather than think that God separates this part of our lives from our relationship with Him - we should see that this is a perfect place to know Him - and make Him known. When I say this I am not referring to leading a Bible study or sitting down to share the gospel with co-workers - although these things are important in time. But before you do these things it is so important to be a godly example in front of all your colleagues. They need to see your faith as well as hear it. And being a man of integrity and honesty - a man whose word is his bond - a man who can be trusted to care not just for his own interests, but also for those of his customers - being that kind of man is how to truly glorify God in the workplace.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20
What are you doing as you walk through life? Are you among those who are plotting evil or with the ones who are promoting peace. Today's proverb shows the contrast between these two things.
First we see those who are plotting evil. What is interesting about this is many who would fall into this category would not agree that they are plotting anything. Yet - because they choose to reject God's Word as truth - and instead make up an argument for their own truth - they are indeed plotting the demise of those with whom they speak. On the day of judgment they will learn the awful truth that their deceitful speaking misled many to where they now stand in the same judgment they do.
Our proverb describes the heart condition of those who devise evil. Their hearts are said to be filled with deceit. The word here is mirmah. It means to intentionally mislead someone by either distorting the truth or withholding the truth from them. The fact stands in all of history that God's Word IS truth. That eternal fact will never change. But there are those who do not acknowledge that God's Word is truth. They hold to another "truth" which is nothing more than error. Because they hold fast to their version of truth - they now hold fast to lies. This means that as they spread them - they are misleading others as to what is truth. They are also intentionally withholding from their students the truth of God's Word. This is deceitful - since truth is readily available to anyone who will read the Word of God with an open mind and heart. What is truly fascinating is the word used for the evil that these people devise. The word for "devise" used here means to plow or till the soil. Hosea uses this same metaphor when he speaks of how Israel was "plowing wickedness" and reaping God's justice as a reward for what they had sown (see Hosea 10:13
). The so-called truth of the ones who deny Scripture - is nothing more than a falsehood and lie that is deeply tilled into the hearts of those who are their students. This plowing with falsehood and evil will one day reap a harvest of judgment if God does not intervene. They are simply plowing evil into the hearts of men - and that plowing will one day reap the wrath of God.
The godly man or woman is one who is a "counsellor of peace." These are the ones who bring the truth from the Word of God and present it to men. They bring the gospel to those who realize that they are facing a dire future in their sins. To be a counsellor of peace is to be a man or woman who presents Christ to the lost. There is no peace for the wicked - but for those who humble themselves - there is great joy and peace. May God make each one of us a counsellor of peace - and an individual who works alonside the prince of peace so that the ultimate message of God's peace, the gospel, may be understood - received - and the cause of great joy to those who hear it with faith.
He who speaks truth tells what is right, But a false witness, deceit. Proverbs 12:17
Today's proverb has a picture to paint for us about being a person who speaks truth and what is right, or a person who is deceitful and untrustworthy in what they say. The picture that is painted for us is framed by the Hebrew word used for "speaking" that is mentioned first in this verse. The word used here is the Hebrew word "puah" which means to breathe. It refers to how we breathe out. This is a word used in a poetic way in the Old Testament. In the Song of Solomon it speaks of the day breathing. This refers to how the shadows of morning flee at the appearance of the sun. Here in Proverbs 12:17
it refers to the way that we speak - but not just in a specific situation. It refers to our lifestyle - or - what kind of things come out of our mouths in every situation in life. Of course what we see in the rest of the proverb is that we either speak truth or deceit.
There are those who speak truth and what is right. "Truth" is the word "emunah" which refers to something true and faithful. The primary thing being communicated with this word is faithfulness. Through the rest of the Bible the word speaks of character - God's in Deuteronomy 32:4
, Psalm 33:4
, and 119:90 - and that of people in 2 Chronicles 19:9
, Proverbs 12:22
, and 28:20. When someone is speaking truth - they are being faithful in what they say. The whole proverb says that they are speaking faithfully - and what they speak is finally defined as "what is right." What does all this mean in the end? The faithful man or woman declares what is right. The word for right is "tsedeq" which is the word that speaks of righteousness - or right by God's standard. It is an ethical word that referred to God's justice and righteousness as represented by the Law of Moses - and by the reaffirmation of God's Word by the prophets. Here, though, is how this works out for you and me in the 21st century.
Situational ethics unfortunately rules the day in our world. Everything is negotiable. There is no absolute truth - except what you yourself are comfortable in holding - and even that only applies to yourself (except when you are uncomfortable with your own standards - and then you can change those too). What is left is a society founded upon shifting sands. But as the people of God - the people saved by His grace - we will stand out like brightly painted, fully lit up sore thumbs! We are those who regardless of public opinion - hold faithfully to God's Word as our source of truth and what is right. We not only believe this in our thinking - we also faithfully speak it out of our mouths. In the midst of a world where the winds of change and compromise drive the public conscience wherever they blow - we are a biblical breath of fresh air when we speak. To some we will be a breath of death - but to those who are being saved - it will be a breath of life to life.
At this point I am going to say some things that will most likely offend people - yet they need to be said. Too often a statement is made like the one above - and yet people will interpret it according to their "situational ethic" mindset. Thus what is right once again is mired in personal opinion. A faithful truth-teller will speak up when it comes to biblical ethics and righteousness. That means that they will speak up about biblical sexuality. Biblical sexuality is abstinence before heterosexual marriage - followed by faithfulness to one spouse in that heterosexual marriage until death parts them. Thus a faithful truth-teller will oppose heterosexual immorality and homosexuality, as well as their off-shoots living together outside of marriage and homosexual marriage. A faithful truth-teller will state that abortion is wrong - in all cases. A faithful truth-teller will openly stand for racial harmony - and will view racism as evil and sinful. A faithful truth-teller will state that we are to oppose greed and selfishness by giving to the poor - but will also say that providing for able bodied people who can work is wrong. Everywhere God's Word makes an statement of ethical morals - the faithful truth-teller will stand - and will speak it. And . . . just in case a person decides to speak the truth - but not speak it in love - the faithful truth-teller will remind them that the spirit in which you say something (i.e. not like a jerk - and with grace and mercy - yet saying what is true even if the truth itself is offensive) is as important as the truth itself.
There is a second kind of wind that blows from the words that people speak. It is the false witness who speaks deceit. The false witness is the one who speaks lies and vanity. The word is used of those who were false witnesses in a trial - who lied on the stand. It refers to a person who says vain things and lives their life in vain. There is little or no other purpose to their existance than to live for themselves and love themselves. Their deciet is an intentional misleading of others by either distorting or withholding the truth from them. Their deceit is evidenced by the fact that there IS absolute truth - but they will not state it or hold to it. As offensive as some will take this - the false witness is the one who does not speak according to the ethical and moral standards held by God's Law and the entirety of Scripture. There IS a right and wrong! God gives it to us by His divine authority - and has revealed it to us in the Scriptures. Not holding to this - or trying to twist it in any way - is being a false witness.
When it comes to your words - what kind of breath flows from you throughout your day? Are you one who breathes forth deceit. Please understand that in our culture this person is the norm. They breathe forth the lies of our immoral and biblically unethical society. We hear them every day on the news - in our entertainment - everywhere. You and I are to be a breath of fresh air. They may not see it as fresh because they have been breathing in the sulfuric lies of the pit for a lifetime. But to speak lovingly and biblically is to speak fresh, life-giving air to those all around you. Speak the truth. Speak faithfully. Speak life-giving, fresh air to all with whom you come into contact! Be a faithful truth-teller!
If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become
wicked. Proverbs 29:12
This proverb reminds us that when we are in a position of authority - often what we want to hear is what we are going to hear. That is why it is so important for rulers, both religious and secular, learn to shun falsehood, lies, and deception in the counsel that they receive. For, as this proverb says if they listen to this kind of thing - all that they will hear in the future is this type of counsel. The end of such a swing in the opinion brought to this leader will be that all his subordinates will become wicked.
To "pay attention" to falsehood here means to listen with an intent to obey or heed the advice given. It has the idea that as the falsehood is offered, rather than reject it, the ruler listens closely and does so with a desire to obey. This means that the ruler's heart has a predisposition to what is false rather than what is true. The Word of God says that a godly ruler winnows the wicked from his presence - and makes sure that falsehood will not be spoken to him as advice.
The worst aspect of this ruler's choice to pay attention to falsehood is the affect it has on his ministers. They will become wicked. Such a ruler tends to not appreciate men who will tell him the truth. To be such a man means that you will speak the truth - even if the ruler to whom you speak it becomes angry and doesn't want to hear it. Such was Daniel - before he was thrown into the lion's den. Such were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego before they were cast into the firey furnace. The king only retracted his actions and his words after he had witnessed God's miraculous deliverance of these men. Only in the case of David do we see a man who is willing to hear the truth - even if it meant a humbling of himself in repentance for his sin.
We need to pray daily that our leaders will be men who value truth rather than falsehood. Included in this prayer is that they will heed biblical truth when it is directly related to legislation that is pending. Such is the case when it comes specifically to both the abortion issue as well as laws concerning sexuality, decency, and morality. Too often over the last 30+ years our elected officials, including our president, have not even considered the Bible when making such decisions. Outside of President Reagan, most of the pro-abortion Republicans have been paper tigers who spoke boldly but carried no stick whatsoever. We've watch laws concerning public decency become nothing more than the latest retreat from biblical morality. It has been disheartening to see issues of heterosexual morality, marriage, and now homosexuality made while completely ignoring the counsel of Scripture. In fact I would have to say that currently one would find themselves shouted down and called the most horrible names to even assert strongly a biblical stance on these issues. It is almost as if these issues are non-issues any longer. They are definitely not the front-burner issues that they should be. We think the greatest issue is the economy - and yet God WILL NOT bless our economy as long as we continue to abort 4000 babies a day and condone as an acceptable sexual lifestyle what He calls an abomination. We need a president and a Congress who once again listen to and value the truth. Until we do - not only will they be making wrong decision after wrong decision, but they will also be surrounded by more and more aids who are wicked - because their bosses listen to falsehood.