A false witness will not go unpunished,
and whoever pours out lies will not go free.
The irony in this proverb is that people lie for the express purpose of escaping punishment. We lie to cover up other sins. We fudge the truth so that our spouses will not get upset; so that our bosses will not blow up at us, etc. We will lie so that suspicion is passed on to others. Our lying so that we can get ahead is a form of escape. We think that our present status, our present financial state, our present job and position is life is not as good as it should be. We want to escape it and climb higher. We lie on our tax forms to escape more taxes to pay.
But such lies, though they may seem to provide escape, are merely leading us into entrapment. As often as not, our sins are found out and our lies prove only to magnify their gravity. But more to the point, we cannot lie before and to our Maker who sees all things even into our hearts. Furthermore, we cannot lie about our faith. We can fool others about our faith, but we cannot fool God.
Before you can exercise faith, you must exercise honesty. You cannot be inwardly convicted about what you will not own up to. You cannot repent what you will not admit. You cannot turn in faith to your Redeemer if you will not confess your true need. And you cannot grow close to your Lord if you try to deceive him. Remember then that your goal is not to escape, except to escape from the clutches of sin and lying. You want to be caught by your Lord who is your Redeemer. You want to be forced to confess your sin and your need for your Savior. Like the father caught in his own lie – “I believe” – you want to be caught in mid-sentence and cry out – “Help me in my unbelief!”
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
Patience in Suffering
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.
The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.