Archive for the ‘Proverbs 20’ Category


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 20:30 Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

Corporal punishment works. Pain is an efficient deterrent and effective instructor. Do you believe both rules in spite of what effeminate fools and social do-gooders say today?

Why are you careful with fire? By studying the laws and theories of fuels, heat, oxidation, combustion, and thermodynamics? By theorizing why fire hurts and destroys? Or because you felt the biting sting of fire when you were young. Ah, yes, fire hurts!

If you want to be wise, and Proverbs was written for that, then submit to God’s word. Let God be true, but every man a liar (Rom 3:4; Ps 119:128). God and Solomon had more wisdom about modifying behavior than any man, group of men, institution, or theory on earth. Freely given without charge, they wrote it down for your great profit and success.

Foolishness and wickedness are terrible human traits, causing much pain and suffering, including ruined lives and estates and death. How can these traits be reduced? Sin is more than a bad habit; it is the inborn reaction of deceived rebels (Jer 17:9). Most men must be beaten, bruised, and wounded before they will change or improve. This is the lesson.

Do you wisely wound those who need it? Do you receive wounding well when you need it? Do not resist the wisdom taught here. Severe and wise punishment is far less painful than unrestrained self-will or obstinate rebellion. A fool not corrected will cost himself and those around him far more than the light sting of a whipping. This is the application.

Parents drive foolishness from children with the rod (Pr 22:15; 23:13-14); God scourges foolishness from His children (Pr 3:11-12; Heb 12:5-11); friends correct one another by verbal blows (Pr 27:6; Ps 141:5); and Jesus was bruised and wounded for our iniquities (Gen 3:15; Is 53:5,10). Corporal punishment greatly reduces crimes. This is the result.

Until recent decades of perverse thinking and loud talking by social engineers, everyone knew corporal punishment worked. They used to say, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” In a wise society, magistrates beat criminals (Deut 25:2-3), and employers beat offending employees (Pr 29:19; Ex 21:20-21).

Solomon’s inspired wisdom is despised today. Social dreamers and arrogant educators teach that flattery and freedom work better than corporal punishment. Read Benjamin Spock’s, Baby and Child Care. They do all they can to outlaw parental spanking of children, just as they have outlawed flogging for maintaining order and discipline in schools, the military, and society. But look at the results! They have miserably failed!

What a beautiful proverb! Here you see the nature of proverbs as clearly as anywhere.  The words are chosen and arranged to create maximum beauty, force, and rhythm; but the sense is slightly hidden for you to discover and enjoy. Can you find a few metonyms?

Consider the proverb’s words. When a body is bruised, the place often turns blue. We say it is “black and blue.” The first clause by use of metonymy teaches that proper wounding for corrective purposes will drive foolishness away. Corporal punishment is a God-ordained means for purging away sin (Pr 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 26:3; 29:15).

Note the metonyms. Blue wounds do not correct rebels. Corporal punishment properly applied reforms them, which creates wounds, which often turn blue. These are metonyms, the substitution of one thing for a related thing. This is metonymy of effect, where the effect is put for the cause – blue wounds for the punishment producing them.

In the second clause, “stripes” are metonymy of effect for beating with a rod (Pr 17:10; 19:29; Ps 89:32; Deut 25:2-3), and “belly” is metonymy of subject for man’s soul and spirit (Pr 18:8; 20:27; Job 32:18-19; Ps 44:25).  Stripes, applied on the back by a rod, for the purpose of correcting behavior, will have the same positive training result that the wound of the first clause will have (Pr 17:10; 19:29; Ps 89:32; Deut 25:2-3).

This beautiful and wise proverb teaches God’s ordinance of corporal punishment. But today’s enlightened world prefers the darkness of the perverted speculations of educators. They will suction a million screaming babies into pieces in their mothers’ wombs, while protecting teenagers and criminals from ever being touched! These perverse persons are the devilish corrupters of nations, and the results of their policies are visible everywhere.

Horses have been restrained and trained with physical devices for several thousand years, and so have fools (Pr 10:13; 26:3). What jockey would mount an 1100-pound Thoroughbred and expect to control him at the start and win a race without a bridle, bit, and whip? If these brute beasts can be taught careful maneuvers and maximum effort for desired goals, how much more the rational minds of children and men? Let God be true!

With only a few proper lessons from a rod, children will grow up into mature and wise adults (Pr 22:6,15). Feed them for 17 years without this tool, and you will have a child that brings you shame, ruins his life as well, and is a burden to those around him (Pr 23:13-14; 29:15). The self-restraint needed to prosper and succeed in life is brought by the rod and reproof. Correct children, and they will give you rest and delight (Pr 29:17).

Let parents remember the rule – the rod works. Let school principals and magistrates consider – the rod works. Let friends recall – sharp reproofs work. The wise use of corporal punishment will correct fools and sinners and reform the heart. This is not fanciful advice of the ignorant: these are inspired rules of the wisest man ever! Are you wise enough to grasp who is right? God and Solomon or Ben Spock and UNICEF?

Let every man gratefully and humbly receive wounds from God and man, for they are designed for his learning (Pr 3:11-12; 9:7-9; 27:5-6; Ps 141:5). Without them, there is no evidence that either God or men love you, and there is no hope for your improvement or perfection. You should look for a church where you are wounded weekly by preaching.

Some natural men limit this proverb to foolish medical advice. They say the blue color around a wound is evidence that infection is being purged from it. And they say that developed abdominal muscles (“a six-pack” of stripes on your belly) promote the health of your lower internal organs. What an ignorant travesty of interpretation! Forget it!

God hates sin but loved His elect, so He severely bruised and wounded the Lord Jesus by the Jews and Romans. During the hours leading to His death, He turned blue from many wounds, and many stripes covered His back. Why? Because He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and by His stripes we are healed (Is 53:5,10). His blue wounds and many stripes cleansed us from all evil!


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 20:24 A man’s steps are directed by the LORD, How then can anyone understand his own way? 

We are often confused by the events around us. Many things we will never understand; others will fall into place in years to come as we look back and see how God was working. This proverb counsels us not to worry if we don’t understand everything as it happens. Instead, we should trust that God knows what he’s doing, even if his timing or design is not clear to us.

What are your plans for today? The LORD will alter them if He chooses, and He will use them for Himself, if He chooses not to alter them. Either way, He is the Potter, and you are the clay. It does not matter if you believe God is sovereign or not, because God is sovereign over your life, whether you believe it or not. But wise men will submit to Him, knowing they can neither forecast the future, determine the future, or change the future.

The LORD Jehovah rules over all! He created for His own pleasure (Pr 16:4; Rev 4:11), and He governs it all for His own pleasure (Is 46:10; Eph 1:11). His rule includes chance events and movements of sparrows (Pr 16:33; I Kgs 22:34; Matt 10:29). He knows the end from the beginning, and you do not even know tomorrow (Pr 27:1; Is 44:7; 45:21).

Pharaoh, his parents, and Egypt thought he was a great success. His whole life had been constant progress to the throne. He was rich, strong, and victorious. He ruled the greatest nation on earth. But his existence and position were simply for the LORD to show His power and to honor Himself by crushing him (Ex 9:16; Rom 9:17). Hallelujah! Amen!

The King of Assyria thought he was the greatest king alive, and his great and many military conquests seemed to confirm his confidence (Is 10:8-11,13-14). But God had simply used him like a rod to chasten Israel (Is 10:5-15). And when the LORD was through using him, He destroyed him miserably for his arrogant attitude (Is 10:16-19).

King Ahasuerus of Persia could not sleep, and chose reading the history of the Empire rather than other available sleep helps, bringing the incredible promotion of Mordecai and horrific demotion of Haman (Esth 6:1-14). Ruth chose gleaning to provide for Naomi and herself, but she happed on the field of rich Boaz, who soon married her (Ruth 2:1-3).

Wicked Jews and Romans killed Jesus of Nazareth, but they did no more than His eternal counsel had determined would be done (Acts 2:22-24; 4:27-28). They fulfilled every prophecy He had given hundreds of years earlier (John 19:31-37). Yet He held them accountable and obliterated their nation for the crime (Matt 23:34-36; I Thess 2:14-16).

Timing and chance, governed by God, are far more important factors in human successes than a man’s own swiftness, strength, wisdom, understanding, or skill (Eccl 9:11). Men do not know what or when anything is going to happen (Eccl 9:12). God has so ordained events that men cannot find anything outside His government of the universe (Eccl 7:14).

Therefore, godly wisdom submits all to God’s will (Jas 4:13-15). Since believers do not know His secret things, they beg in prayer until they are revealed (Deut 29:29; II Sam 12:22-23). They tremble before their great God in humility and obedience (Ecc 12:13-14; Is 66:1-2). They make preparations, but they beg Him for success (Pr 21:31; Ps 127:1).

They devise plans, but they know God rules the details (Pr 16:9). They do not glory in anything they have, knowing that all things are His sovereign gifts (I Cor 4:7; 15:10). They are not in despair, because they know He rules the future (II Cor 4:8-18). They fear no man, for they know the will of God will surely be done (Dan 3:16-18; Acts 21:14).

Here is the faith of God’s elect. They glorify their Creator, rather than make Him angry, as did Belshazzar (Dan 5:21-24). They know the course of their life is beyond their knowledge and ability, for it is in God’s hands (Jer 10:23; Acts 17:28). They seek Him diligently, knowing He can favorably arrange circumstances for them (Ps 37:23; Heb 11:6). They reject chance, Fate, and coincidences, knowing all events are under His rule.

Since God’s secret will for their lives is unknown, the elect dedicate themselves to the revealed things that are known – the commandments they are to keep (Deut 29:29). Rather than despair with His secret and sovereign providence, they seek Him with the whole heart, in cheerful submission and thanksgiving, regardless of their portion in life.

The elect, who have fled for refuge to Jesus Christ by His sovereign gift of faith, always know that the hairs of their head are numbered and they are of more value than many sparrows (Matt 10:30-31). The great Potter has prepared them from before the foundation of the world as vessels of mercy unto eternal life (Rom 9:21-24; Eph 1:3-12). He predestinated them unto salvation, and He will certainly bring it to pass (Rom 8:28-39).


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 20:07 The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.

Your family’s future depends on how you live today. The greatest influence you can have on your children is to live righteously. Children of godly men grow up with greater wisdom than peers, so they are blessed with natural success in measures of prosperity. But far beyond that, God Himself will supernaturally favor the children of godly men.

A good man lives with integrity; he does more than think or claim goodness (Pr 20:6). He will walk the walk, not just talk the talk. He lives by fear of God and faith in Christ, keeping all the commandments. God will send blessing and favor on his descendants. Here is a proverb with the promise of a wonderful blessing. Let the godly lay hold of it!

Understand the condition. This man is not today’s typical carnal Christian, who talks and acts one way on Sunday and with other believers, but lives another way during the week, while at home or in the world. Here is a just man, doing what is right and holy in the sight of God. He seeks the Lord with His whole heart. And he walks in this course every day.

Here is a man with a clean conscience, who guides all his affairs with the discretion of God’s word. He is blameless before God and men, by confessing his sins and making proper amends for them. His affections are set on heaven above, and he crucifies his sinful lusts with Christ. He trembles at the Word of God and humbly walks with his God.

He has no self-righteousness. He has no high opinion of himself or his family. He gladly condescends to men of low estate to love and serve them in any way he can. He knows he is vile; he rejoices in God’s forgiveness of his sins; and he forgives others very quickly and fully because of it. He examines his heart and rejects all bitterness or pride there.

He knows relationships with others are one of God’s measures (Mal 4:5-6; Luke 1:17). He carefully and fervently fulfills duties to rulers, employers, parents, pastor, wife and children – he knows these are exalted in the Bible. He is a benefactor and peacemaker, especially to the lowly, and even to enemies (Luke 6:27-36; 14:12-14; Rom 12:16).

Understand the promise. The holy God of heaven rewards good men with blessings upon their posterity. If those children or grandchildren sin, they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity, but the Lord will be more merciful than He would have been otherwise. If those children also live righteous lives, which is more likely given the example they have witnessed, the Lord will assist and bless them for the sake of their just father.

Consider David, the man after God’s own heart, who was perfect in God’s sight, except for his sins with Bathsheba (I Kgs 15:3-5). To honor David’s virtuous life, the Lord showed repeated mercy to his descendants (I Kgs 11:12,32,36; 15:4; II Kgs 8:19; II Chron 21:7). David described the just, “His seed is blessed” (Ps 37:26). Also, “What man is he that feareth the LORD? His seed shall inherit the earth” (Ps 25:12-13).

Parent! Do you love your children? Your extended posterity? Grasp the priority of this proverb. Live humbly and walk justly before God, and He will bless your children because of your life. Job’s life of integrity even included sacrifices for his children after their birthday parties (Job 1:1-5).

Phinehas and Jonadab, examples of just men, were promised a godly seed (Num 25:11-13; Jer 35:18-19). Believer, are these promises only for others? Consider again. “Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed” (Ps 112:1-2).

But it is just as true that any sin will find you out (Num 32:23). You cannot hide sins in your thoughts, your bedroom, or anywhere else (Eccl 10:20; Jer 23:23-24). His eyes see everything (Pr 15:3). Start with your heart and get rid of anything in it that does not match up with the highest standard of God’s word (Pr 4:23; Ps 139:23-24; Jas 4:9).

God is not obligated to reward you for living a godly life, especially rewards like blessing and favoring your descendants. You should live such a life anyway due to fear and love, as did Paul (II Cor 5:9-15). But God does make such promises, and He expects you to consider them (Eph 6:2-3). Be a just man today for the benefit of your family tomorrow.

 

 


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 20:26 A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them.

Great rulers crush criminals. A powerful king that will not tolerate civil opposition is a beautiful thing (Pr 30:31). Solomon and his father David were both wise and successful kings. Here Solomon gives inspired and learned political advice to kings and others in authority. Wise rulers will fight and destroy wicked persons under their authority.

The origin and purpose of civil government are not mysteries. The LORD God ordained rulers over nations and other political principalities to punish evildoers (Rom 13:1-4; I Pet 2:13-14). Resisting or resenting this authority is to resist and resent God Himself. Civil government has the right to capital punishment in enforcing its laws, and God sends these rulers as His ministers to execute revenge upon criminals that break the law.

Bringing the wheel over the wicked is to crush them. Grain was crushed in King Solomon’s day by turning or rolling a heavy wheel over it (Is 28:27-28; Judges 16:21). This separated the wheat from the husk. Wise government will take heavy measures to crush wicked men who have set themselves against the state, law, and other citizens.

The wisdom here teaches that civil government should be strict and severe. There can be no tolerance or compromise with criminals. Compromise and delay cause an increase in crime by hardening the hearts of criminals. You can see this in current issues of hung juries, appeals, delay tactics, further appeals, and stays of execution (Eccl 8:11).

There are several references to kings in this chapter of Proverbs. Solomon was providing wisdom for his son Rehoboam, the next king of Israel, and for rulers in general. He described the positive virtue of great fear (Pr 20:2), their holy execution of judgment (Pr 20:8), and their balance of mercy and truth in protecting the innocent (Pr 20:28).

Wise rulers seek quiet and peaceable lives for their productive citizens. These people can only have such lives, if the wicked are scattered and crushed. Leaders must take the justice part of their office seriously and do all they can to destroy criminals and crime. They must be free of sentimentality to aid, abet, respect, or pardon criminals.

There is not room for one wicked person, one criminal, in a just and good nation. Death row in the U.S. should be emptied of 3700 monsters by way of public stoning on pay-per-view television, with the proceeds going to the victims’ families. One cent spent on their upkeep in the penal system is a waste and encourages crime. Stones are cheap. David, a king after God’s own heart, had zero tolerance for criminals (II Sam 4:1-12; Ps 101:4-8).

Those who resist civil government or speak evil or lightly of those in authority should be dealt with most severely. God Himself opened up the earth to swallow men and their families alive for speaking against Moses (Num 16:1-34). The New Testament says they should be destroyed like rabid dogs, for they obviously do not understand the basic necessity or duties of authority (II Pet 2:10-12; Jude 1:8-10). There is no such thing as freedom of speech against authority in God’s wisdom (Ex 22:28; Ec 10:20; Job 34:18).

Let every man in a position of authority use strict and severe measures against the wicked in his realm of control. This applies to employers, fathers, husbands, and pastors, as well as kings and presidents, governors and sheriffs. Righteousness, peace, and quiet in any society depend on strong leaders ridding it of fools and their rebellion (Pr 19:25; 21:11).

Jesus Christ is the greatest of Kings, with the most wisdom. He is King of kings! When the Jews rejected God and their O.T. scriptures and crucified Him, He promised to return and miserably destroy those wicked men (Matt 21:41), tear down their temple, send His armies to burn up their city (Matt 22:7), and grind them to powder (Matt 21:44).

He promised to not leave one stone on another when He destroyed Jerusalem (Luke 19:44). He promised more distress and trouble on them than any nation had suffered before or since (Matt 24:21). He fulfilled all this and more in 70 AD by Roman armies under Titus Vespasian Augustus. But at the same time, to those who feared His name and loved Him, Jesus the Sun of Righteousness came with healing in His wings (Mal 4:2).

The Lord Jesus Christ is soon coming again with His mighty angels in flaming fire to wreck vengeance on all those that have rejected God and disobeyed the apostolic gospel (II Thess 1:7-9). But He will be admired that day by all those who believe the gospel and love His appearing, and He will bring eternal blessing and reward for them (II Thess 1:10; Titus 2:13). Reader, repent of your crimes against heaven and beg for His mercy!


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 20:18 Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.

Good advice is necessary for good decision-making, and good advice is only gotten from good counselors. Solomon here taught you to submit your major plans to the scrutiny and criticism of wise counselors, who can save you from disappointment and trouble. This is true wisdom – to deliberate before you act, and to establish your plans by wise counsel.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, for your deceitful heart convinces you that your plans are brilliantly devised and certain to succeed (Pr 16:2,25; 18:17; 21:2; 28:11; Jer 17:9). You must use a multitude of counselors for safety (Pr 11:14; 15:22; 24:6).  Rushing forward in heady pride is foolish and will soon cost you. If you are prone to be impulsive and hasty by temperament or training, you must doubly heed this warning.

It is a sin to be hasty in spirit, in speech, or in action (Pr 14:29; 29:20; 19:2). Haste is destructive, as a common adage says, haste makes waste (Pr 21:5; 25:8). Paul condemned a sinful trait he called heady, which is to impetuously and rashly rush ahead in some activity or choice recklessly (II Tim 3:4). Slow down to get counsel and good advice.

If you neglect seeking counsel, you are proud, heady, hasty, or foolish. If you reject counsel you have been given, you are rebellious or stubborn. If you avoid counsel for fear of its criticism, your heart is foolishly involved in a risky proposition – you are already emotionally attached to a plan. It is foolish to get your heart involved before your head.

The only perfect counselor is the Lord (Is 9:6). But He has not left you without other counselors. You have His perfect Word, which can make you wise (Ps 19:7-11; 119:98-100). You have His ministers, who can be perfect counselors by His Word (II Tim 3:16-17; Mal 2:7). You have parents, who usually have much greater wisdom and experience, and they also have strong motivation to save you from trouble (Ex 18:13-27). You have friends and brethren who are known for wisdom (Pr 20:25; 27:9-10; Acts 15:1-6).

What kind of counselors do you seek and use for your weighty decisions? Though older men are not always wise (Job 32:9), they generally are wiser (Job 12:12). A saint is better than a pagan, if there are any moral considerations at all; they should have God’s wisdom in their heart and the highest degree of concern for your safety and prosperity. Look for critical counselors for sure, for the landscape is littered with the corpses of optimists.

When a plan or purpose is established, it is made stable, secure, and permanent. It has a solid foundation for the future, and this is obtained by good counsel. When plans and purposes are pursued without good counsel, they are usually disappointed (Pr 15:22). How can you avoid the mistakes that so many make? By keeping this proverb diligently!

Merely seeking counsel to fulfill this proverb is not enough, for you must also listen to the advice and follow it. Otherwise, the whole mechanism of safety and success is violated and overthrown. Rehoboam sought counsel, but he rejected the advice of the wise men who had counseled his father (I Kgs 12:1-19). And he lost the kingdom for it.

A multitude of counselors is not needed for every decision, and you can see this by the inclusion of war in the proverb. War is the weightiest decision made by men, for it determines the lives and futures of whole nations, with enormous hardships. It should only be pursued after thorough counsel from many angles (Luke 14:31-32). So the lesson does not apply to all decisions, but rather to those of serious consequence and risk.

But matters like marriage are certainly worthy of counsel. The pain and consequences can be horrible; most people entering marriage have no experience at it, so they need the good advice of others (Pr 19:13). An uninvolved third party can save you much grief in this decision, and he or she can probably spot potential problems more easily than you.

Other matters like business ventures, employment changes, housing moves, health issues, child training, investment alternatives, and similar plans should be subject to counsel. Why would you rush ahead in such large decisions without seeking good advice? The consequences of mistakes in these decisions far outweigh the hurt pride of correction.

A multitude of counselors is the wisest course, for they will give you much to think about from different perspectives and a variety of experiences. If their counsel is shared with a wise man, it will result in even better counsel. The bottom line should be found by considering the overall weight of answers, the answers of the wisest counselors, and the advice on the most important aspects of your plan or purpose.

Of course, this choice to seek counsel takes time. It also requires humility to ask others for their opinion, implying your need of their assistance. Such caution is prudent discretion, and such humility is wisdom. Do not let men or devils convince you that you cannot afford the time or that you can make better decisions than counselors yourself.

Young man, you need wise counsel more than most. Folly and vanity are still bound in your heart, and sober counsel can save you from much trouble and pain. Older man, you are not above this lesson, for the hearts of all men are deceptively dangerous (Jer 17:9). It is pride, not principle, that keeps you from seeking counsel and testing your own plans.

The ultimate counselor is the Holy Spirit, Who guides you by the Bible, not feelings. It is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Ps 119:105). If you submit your plans to the Lord, He will establish your thoughts (Pr 16:3; 3:5-6). If your heart is in fellowship with Him, you can move ahead with plans, submitting all to His will (Pr 16:9; Jas 4:13-15).

The more you learn the word of God, the more wisdom you will have (Ps 19:7-11; 119:98-100; Is 8:20). And this book of Proverbs is filled with the wisdom of the wisest man with the most experiences in life, and he wrote by the inspiration of God (Pr 1:1-9). The Lord Jesus Christ has all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and the closer you are walking with Him, the more wisdom you will have yourself (Col 2:8).


Under Gods Command

 

Proverbs 20:17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to ta man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel

Lying is fun – but not for long. Then the results of your folly come crashing down on your head. You may think your lie helped in some way, but it only made things worse. When will you learn the painful truth, Be sure your sin will find you out (Num 32:23)?

Proverbs are dark sayings, and here a metaphor about bread and gravel is used for the lie of lying! The bread of deceit is the choice to lie. Lying may be sweet in the beginning, like a sweet roll or cinnamon bun, but it will not be later. A mouth full of gravel is the later result of lying. Far from sweet, it is painful, impossible to enjoy, and usually fatal.

Solomon used a similar metaphor about a whore seducing a man and the lying appeal of adultery, “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Pr 9:17). To show her danger to his son, Solomon wrote about her victim, “But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell” (Pr 9:18). Gravel indeed!

Ponzi schemes illustrate sweet now – gravel later. Promising above-market returns, they pay interest from the cash of later investors. The early suckers that get an interest check promote their free lunch, and it mushrooms with cash inflows. But then the scam artist skips town with the money he has not paid out, and the lie is exposed. What started out sweet for early investors is afterwards gravel in the mouths of all the investor-suckers.

Sin lies! Even about lying! Sin never works in the long run, even with a little pleasure or success in it for a short while (Heb 11:25). But sin will never tell you this up front; you will only learn it later when it is too late. The devil and the world never tell you sin does not pay. They work together in perfect harmony to deceive you that your sins are sweet.

It is a lie to think that lying will help you. This is the nature of sin. It is deceitful itself, and when it deceives you to deceive others, you lie because you believed a lie! Sin is so deceitful that it can turn a believer against God, if he gives it room in his life (Heb 3:12-13). For this reason you need godly friends to help exhort you daily, like by this proverb.

Sin is perverse! It greatly exaggerates the pleasure of sin, and it never warns of the dire consequences. Eve thought the fruit looked good, would taste good, and could make her like God. She was shocked by guilt and shame when she ate it, and then she had to face God asking why she was hiding in the Garden, and then she had to suffer through a life of sorrow and submission, and then she had to die. Her sweet bread indeed became gravel!

Sin is perverse! It greatly exaggerates the pleasure of sin, and it never warns of the dire consequences. Amnon craved sex with his half sister Tamar. This fantasy consumed his thoughts and health. When he finally had to force her, its pleasure was for one second, and then he hated her, and then Absalom killed him. His sweet bread became gravel!

But this proverb is not about fruit in the Garden of Eden or sex with your half sister. It is about lying. Where do you lie? On your resume? In your marriage? To your parents? In your Christian profession? To the IRS? To your pastor? On your expense reports? About your age, health, or ability? To your children? About your co-worker? To your boss?

Your lie may seem sweet right now, but it will soon be gravel. Your trouble will soon be similar to that of Eve and Amnon. You cannot stop the results. Sin will lie to you again that another lie will cover or enhance the first lie, but that makes four lies! Before you know it, you are a liar, and the God of heaven fans hellfire to receive you (Rev 21:8,27).

How bad is gravel in your mouth? Achan, his family, and all that he owned were stoned and burned for his deceit about stolen goods (Josh 7:1,20-26). Gehazi got Namaan’s leprosy for lying to his master Elisha about a little silver and some clothes (II Kgs 5:20-27). But the gravel in the mouths of these two is nothing compared to eternal torment.

Dishonesty and lying will ruin you – in this life and the next. Believe it. Make honesty and integrity permanent traits of your character. Solomon warned over and over about the importance of truth for your success (Pr 10:18; 12:19,22; 13:5; 14:5; 17:7; 19:9; 21:6; 26:24-26,28). Believe him! Reject any thoughts or worldly ideas that lying is acceptable.

You do not lie? It may be true. But what of hypocrisy? Do you live differently in private than in public? Different at home than at church? Different in your heart than with your mouth? This is also the bread of deceit. How long will your hypocrisy be sweet? Short! And only for a moment! The Bible says you will perish like your own dung (Job 20:4-9)!

Repent of any deception in your life. Repent for allowing sin to deceive you into thinking you can get away with lying. Repent for ever deceiving anyone else in any way. Repent for ever minimizing the folly and perversity of sin in the sight of God. Reject any thought that justifies deception or lying or any sin. Run to the God of truth and beg His forgiveness. He can and will forgive any that sincerely repent and become lovers of truth.


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 20:06  – Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?

Talk is cheap. Boasting is worthless. Your history is irrelevant. True character is known by present actions and results, not by self-praise, past events, explanations, or excuses (Pr 20:11). Yet fools talk more than wise men (Pr 14:33; 29:11), and sluggards talk more than hard workers (Pr 26:16). Most men love themselves and will quickly tell how gifted and faithful they are, but real performers as measured by the Bible are very rare.

Talk is cheap. What you think about yourself is deceiving and destructive (Pr 12:15; 14:12; 16:2,25; 21:2; Jer 17:9). But what you say about yourself is worse (Pr 14:3; 25:14; 27:1; Eccl 10:11-14; Jas 3:5). Neither God nor men care about your opinion, and especially when it is about yourself. If you must tell others you are good at something, then there must be lack of evidence to prove it, or why would you say it? Testimonials are stupid enough for promoting new products, but they are ridiculous about yourself!

Men have long loved the damning sins of arrogance, boasting, conceit, pride, self-love, and self-esteem. But today these destructive evils are glorified in popular athletes and arrogant entertainers and promoted as cures for most psychological or relational problems. Self-esteem theories are adored, though they merely whitewash sins of conceit and selfishness. Humanistic psychologists have always been deluded, but when so-called Christian leaders promote this narcissistic view of life, truth is in peril (II Tim 3:1-5).

In a day of advertising, mass marketing, and public relations, there is a perverse emphasis on appearance over performance, on perception over reality, on sound bites over substance, on feelings over facts. Due to constant verbal communication via telephone, the Internet, television, radio, and email, there is a perverse emphasis on words over actions. This distortion has created a situation where boasting is accepted over results.

Yet today there are few faithful men that will do what they should (Ps 12:1; II Tim 3:13). Athletes brag about abilities and accomplishments, and politicians claim to be near divine in what they promise to do. Great men do not need to promote themselves, because others will do it for them. Great men never stoop to self-praise; their praise comes from others (Pr 27:2). If other men do not praise you for greatness, there is an obvious reason!

Where is the humility of Solomon? As king of Israel and the well-favored son of David, he admitted he was a little child in understanding (I Kgs 3:5-9). God loved this confession, and so do wise men reading it. Where is the humility of Paul? Though the greatest of the apostles, he admitted he was less than the least of all saints (Eph 3:8). Where is the humility of Agur? As the author of Proverbs chapter 30, he admitted his ignorance (Pr 30:1-4). These three great men did not praise themselves; we praise them.

Do not tell about your job performance. Let a promotion tell it! Do not brag about your great marriage. Let your spouse spread it! Do not tell about your personal holiness. Let your fruits and persecution prove it! Do not tell about your charity and kindness to others. Let your number of devoted friends be the measure! Do not tell how much you can be trusted. Let your credit score tell the truth! Do not tell how much you fear and love God. Let your changed life and the testimony of others prove it (I Thess 1:6-10; I John 2:4)!

Reader, stop talking about yourself! Show your great character to God and men by your actions! James ridiculed Christianity based on mere faith, which is more than the carnal decisions most evangelists solicit today (Jas 2:14-26)! He exalted works as being superior to faith as the evidence of knowing God and obtaining His approval. Jesus, Paul, and Peter taught the same conduct-based doctrine (Matt 7:21; II Cor 5:9-11; II Pet 1:5-12).

Self-righteousness is one of the most damning sins of all. Once infected, how will you be healed? You do not know you are diseased. Whose rebuke would you accept? You have assured yourself that your standing before God is excellent (Luke 18:9-14). Listen to Jesus Christ! He said to the most conservative and respected religious leaders of His day, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).

You will soon give an account of your life to God, and then the truth will be known. Your words of self-praise and self-justification will be just more marks against you. Prepare to meet thy God! Jesus Christ, the Blessed and Only Potentate, will judge you for your words and actions (Matt 12:34-37). He gave you warning that it would be better to have bad words and good performance than good words and bad performance (Matt 21:28-33).

Many ministers promote themselves more than they promote Jesus Christ. They call their ministries after their own names, and they cultivate sycophants to keep their respective personality cults thriving. Just read the dust jackets of the books they write! But the Lord Jesus Christ will humble them in an instant of time, just before they are cast into hell. He will say to these self-praising success stories, “I never knew you,” (Matt 7:21-23).

Reader, are you well known for faithful actions and results that match God’s word? Or do you have to help people out by giving them verbal hints or explanations as to how faithful you are? Forget the talk! Measure yourself only by action, performance, consistency, and results; focus on the actions God’s word makes important, and do them only for the glory of God. May the Lord bless you to be one of the rare faithful ones in this generation.