Together, we serve
to know Christ
and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

10 January 2022

Proverbs 26:24-26

Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
    but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
    for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
    but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Let’s follow the train of thought. There is the type of person who, though he in truth is hateful, he covers it up by speaking graciously. He is the illustration of verse 23’s “the glaze covering an earthen vessel.” This phenomenon is seen on all levels: the entertainer who tells his audience he loves them, while he actually despises them; the politician who speaks admiringly of his constituents whom he regards as fools; the hired worker or salesperson who behaves respectfully to the one controlling his paycheck and yet is filled with envy; the “friend” who wants to be considered “one of the guys” but can barely tolerate the same.

We are not to believe him because of the condition of his heart. It is the heart that must be dealt with. Knowing how to speak graciously does not signify a good heart. It signifies merely cleverness. Indeed, to speak graciously to those whom one hates signifies a wickedness that goes deeper than that of the man who does not hide his hate.

The third point is that a person’s hatred will be revealed. Hatred will come out. Indeed, if one gives time to observation, a hateful heart is detectable. Like a movie set of a town made up of facades that shake or fall when buffeted by wind, so the “gracious” facade of the hateful heart is shaken and revealed. It takes effort to keep up appearances, and even then it is difficult to coordinate the artificial words with the artificial mannerisms. The hateful person is merely reading lines.

What then are we to do? Be on our guard. Don’t be taken in. But all the more befriend such a person. Most persons like that believe they are doing what everyone else is doing. They do not believe in a true loving heart. Perhaps you will be the one to prove that not all is a disguise.

 

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.