Tag Archives: truth

When Silence is Self-Hate

Proverbs 29:24

“Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.”

Bewrayeth

When was the last time you used “bewrayeth” in a conversation? I don’t know if I have ever even seen it in a crossword puzzle. But before we go any further, let’s make sure we understand this old English word.

According to Strong’s Concordance,  the Hebrew נָגַד (nagad ) occurs 370 times in the King James Version. Besides “bewrayeth,” nagad is translated most often as “tell,” “declare,” and “shew.” Therefore, it is safe to conclude that “bewrayeth” carries with it the idea of making something known or telling it the way it is.

So, then, what does “bewrayeth’ have to do with partnering with a thief and hating one’s soul?

Partners

First, it must be understood that a partner in crime is just as guilty as his other partner in crime. The one driving the getaway car and the one laundering the money are just as guilty of bank robbery as the one who takes the bag of cash from the safe.

Are you a partner with a thief? Do you recoil at that question? Stop and consider that if you know of someone committing a crime, no matter how small, then you are just as guilty if you keep silent. For instance, do you know of a man who beats his wife and yet have never reported the abuse? If so, then you are enabling him to do his dirty work, which makes you his partner in crime.

Self-Haters

The hard thing to grasp is that when we try to stay out of something by remaining silent, we are not doing ourselves a favor. So many people will witness a wrong or learn of a crime, but keep silent in order to protect themselves. But even though one may stay out of the spotlight or courtroom, the one that “bewrayeth it not” hates his own soul.

What is a worse form of hate: to hate one’s body, or hate one’s soul? Which is worse, the fear of jail time or eternal damnation? Simply put, there are deeper consequences for “not getting involved” than for speaking out in the face of evil.

 

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Truth Revealed

Proverbs 29:13

The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the Lord lighteneth both their eyes. (KJV)
The poor and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both. (NASB)

Plain meaning

This verse obviously has an upfront meaning: God, as Creator, gives sight to people of every social status. It makes sense.

One thing that comes into conflict with this meaning, however, is that some people are born blind or are blinded in the course of life.

Suddenly the plain meaning seems tricky in certain circumstances. Though we should remember that proverbs are generalized statements, but perhaps there is a deeper meaning.

Plain truth

In Romans 1, Paul tells us:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

What all of this is saying is that God has given us the ability to see what is going on around us – to discern what is right, what is wrong, and that God is real and in control.

God has revealed His truth throughout Creation and especially in His Son, Jesus Christ.

He has “lighteneth” all of our eyes, allowed us to see what is plain. He has enlightened us.

What are we doing with this knowledge? What are we doing with this sight?

Lord, open our hearts to what our eyes can see. Help us to accept the truth that is evident. Help us to trust and believe You.


Worthless Legs

Proverbs 26:7

“The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.”

This verse and verse 9 are very similar; both talk about worthlessness of wisdom given to fools. In this verse we see a parable compared to a crippled person’s legs. In verse 9 we will see a parable compared to a thorn in a drunk’s hand.

Parable

Before we go any further, let’s make sure we understand what a parable is. One dictionary defines a parable as “an extended metaphor or simile which compares a religious truth with a common experience or circumstance in life.” [1] But if that was too confusing, a parable is “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.” [2]

Jesus was famous for using parables to illustrate certain truths to His disciples. For example, you may remember the parables of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31), the seed and the sower (Mk. 4:3), and the ten talents (Matt. 25). Each one was used to illustrate a point in such a way that the hearer could relate truth to a common experience.

Legs of the Lame

The King James version describes the legs of the crippled person as “not equal.” At first glance it may seem like Solomon is talking about one leg that is shorter than another. However, That “not equal” is another way of saying limp, worthless, or shriveled.

Imagine legs that have no strength, unable to bear the weight of the owner. They are deformed, curled under, twisted, and completely useless. Taking into account the original meaning of the Hebrew term (see Strong’s H1802), they may do nothing more than hang like string.

Parable In the Mouth of a Fool

Now, take the image of crippled legs that you have in your head and imagine them being a parable. How good is a parable that is incapable of illustrating truth? How good is a story that bears no resemblance to common experience? A parable like that can’t even stand on it’s own two feet.

How worthless, then, is the advice of a fool? What good is his counsel? Why should we listen to him?

Keep that in mind the next time you are offered emotional, spiritual, relational, and marital advice from someone who doesn’t even believe there is a God.


[1] David H. Wallace, “Interpretation of Parables,” ed. Ralph G. Turnbull, Baker’s Dictionary of Practical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1967), 107.

[2] Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).


Kissing the Truth

Proverbs 24:23-26

These things also [belong] to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them. Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

Ultimate Turnoff

There are a lot of things which we could cover in today’s proverb, but I will focus on only one: attraction.

What attracts you to other people? Their good looks? Their personality? Their sense of humor? You could probably create a long list of attractive qualities, but the last on your list, I would bet, is prejudice. And more than that, I bet people who lie on the witness stand or render prejudiced verdicts from the bench disgust you, don’t they?

According to this proverb, those who call the wicked “righteous” and let criminals walk free are the scum of the earth. Nobody likes them (except the wicked). People from all walks of life “abhor” prejudicial judgment; it’s the ultimate turnoff.

Ultimate Attraction

According to verse 26 the most attractive thing is truth. Now, I am not one who goes around kissing everyone who gives me a correct answer. For instance, I’ve never kissed anyone who gave me truthful directions. I’ve never kissed my daughters every time they answered a spelling question correctly.

When I asked my dog, “Did you do this!?” I did not kiss his wet nose the moment he bowed his head in guilt. But, I did kiss my wife when she said, “I will.” I assumed that was the right answer.

What Solomon is trying to express is the refreshing joy we feel when someone tells the truth, especially when the wicked are being judged. Truth makes the system work. Truth gives us hope. Truth brings justice. Truth is not prejudicial. That is why the wise are drawn to it.

Note: Isn’t it interesting that Judas, the most abhorred man in history, betrayed Truth with a kiss? (Matthew 25:48-49)


The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

Proverbs 23:23 

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Buy the truth and do not sell it – wisdom, instruction and insight as well. (NIV)

Have you ever seen truth for sale in a supermarket? It is sometimes a fact that product labeling hides the truth that something may be bad for our health, or that our bargain is the result of a supplier taking a loss so that the supermarket can make even larger profits. Who do you think funds the ‘buy one get one free’ promotions? Not the supermarket, that’s for sure.

Perhaps selling the truth might be a good sales tactic. Potential customers might flock to a store with a reputation for truthfulness. In a 1970s UK sitcom a certain Reginald Perrin set up a shop called ‘Grot’ with sales slogans such as; ‘every single thing in this shop is guaranteed absolutely useless,’ and ‘plenty of gifts for people with no taste.’ The fact that the shop was a runaway success was an indication perhaps of the value that Reggie Perrin’s customers placed on the truth. Within two years Grot expanded to a chain of forty-four shops.

Solomon knew the value in truth. He measured its worth on an equal basis with wisdom, instruction, and understanding. If we value the truth too, then we have a responsibility to ensure that we are as truthful with others as we expect others to be with us. Honesty is so important that it was included among the Ten Commandments (do not testify falsely against your neighbor – Exodus 20:16). Jesus taught that we will all be required to give an account on judgment day of every idle word we speak (Matthew 12:36). An idle word could be an untruth, a word spoken without thought, or an opinion expressed without understanding. A wise person takes the greatest of care with items of great value. How careful are you with the truth?


Tongue-Tied

Proverbs 22:12

12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

Getting Confused

In Genesis chapter 9, immediately after the Flood, God told Noah’s family to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

So what did the people do within a few generations?

In Genesis 11 we find that they tried to settle in one place together and build a tower to live in there. It became known as the Tower of Babel, because these people transgressed God’s command. They refused to do as God commanded, so he confused their languages (the creation of different languages) and scattered them around the planet (the creation of different people groups).

In other words, God overthrew their words.

Preserved through Denial

However, God has a knack for keeping around some faithful friends.

This is the real reason Israel was established: to keep the record of God’s goodness and expectations of humanity, and to bring about His reconciliation with the world.

Israel could barely maintain a small minority of faithful followers, though. As a nation, they largely denied God’s truth.

Today, we live in a world of people who present confusing “facts.” Even when their own facts go against reason, they persist in their arrogance and often cause more confusion.

This is true within and outside of the Church.

Fortunately, God preserves sound knowledge through His Bible, through His Holy Spirit, and through a relative few who study matters and come to clear conclusions.

Are you slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19) and therefore grow in and preserve knowledge, or do you repeat whatever sounds good to you and spread confusion?

Wise Lord, help us to control our minds and tongues, that we may not cause more confusion and chaos but peace and understanding.


Vanishing Profits

Proverbs 21:6

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. (NIV)

I have worked with many dishonest people.

When I sold cell phones for a time, I worked with someone who was not afraid to stretch the truth to sell a phone.

“Of course you can set your own music as ringtones!” He would say for a device that does not play music.

“This phone will give you a signal everywhere you go!” He would say for an older device using old technology.

“You can return this anytime you want during your contract!” … Just not true after 30 days!

“I did not know you were their salesman!” He would say to the rest of us after putting a sale in his name.

Initially, he had great sales numbers. It looked like he was going to earn a great commission.

Unfortunately, most of his sales came back after customers realized they did not get what they wanted.

This meant his supposedly high commission was, in fact, quite low. Sometimes it was because the higher-ups in the company figured out he was stealing sales, and they would send the commission to those of us who earned them.

Taken Away

In Luke chapter 19, Jesus shares the parable of the minas, in which a nobleman travels and leaves his money in the care of some servants. Some grow his money while he is gone, but one simply hides it. Those who grew the money were given much responsibility, while the lazy one had everything taken away and given to the better servant.

In Matthew chapter seven, He shares that there will be many who speak and act in His name, but Jesus will tell them “I never knew you.” They are the ones who did everything for personal gain.

The reason these are all related is that in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus tells us to store up treasures in Heaven. We cannot store up treasures in Heaven if we lie through word and deed. If we do, all we think we have stored in Heaven, God will say “All the good you think you did is worthless, because it was a counterfeit.”

In this life or the next, we can lose everything through our dishonesty and selfishness.

Gracious God, forgive us of our deceitfulness and selfishness. Give us Your truth, and help us to be honest and grace-filled.