Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
Hypocrisy is just a lie. Lies have many ways to manifest and one of them is hypocrisy or duplicity. Culturally we are taught to keep quiet about what we think which in itself is not bad but eventually it transforms into not showing what we feel and accepting, at least externally, what we do not approve. Sometimes we do it to avoid conflict but that does not stop it from being what it is: deceit. Social conventions often guide us to assume attitudes that make us acceptable to those around us but we forget that lying is a sin and that sin has serious consequences on our lives. Of course we can’t go around saying the first thing that comes to mind. Sometimes we hurt others because we use words laden with intentionality without analyzing the impact that they may have in the life of the recipient. We must be careful of what we say to avoid hurting feelings but we must take care that what we say is a sincere expression of our thoughts and our hearts. Lying, in whatever form, comes only from its father, Satan. Being disingenuous and assuming misleading attitudes makes us disciples of the enemy.
Jesus Christ said: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” If we are truly disciples of the Lord Jesus, we must always speak with honesty, calling a spade a spade, with no duplicity but always with love. The apostle Paul reminds us in his letter to the Ephesians that we need to put off our old self and put on the new. “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” Let us do what pleases God and not what satisfies our corrupt nature. Let us always act honestly allowing the truth to reign in our lives. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, earthenware, evil, faith, fervent, God, heart, hope, Jesus, life, lips, love, Proverbs 26, righteousness, silver, spirituality, wisdom
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but people are tested by their praise.
Recently we discussed a proverb similar to the one we are discussing today which says that man’s heart is proven by God. Today’s proverb takes a look at one aspect of this test which is humility. We could define humility as the ability to receive praise without being influenced by it. Our sinful nature is full of pride and therefore, when we are subjected to praise; our vanity takes control of our lives making us walk the wrong paths which takes us away from God’s purpose for us. The enemy knows this ─it was because of his unbridled pride that he lost his privileged position as guardian cherub─ and he uses praise, or rather, hypocritical flattery to entice our hearts. Even when Satan tempted the Lord Jesus in the desert he used this strategy, using flattery as a weapon based on the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. If the enemy is so bold as to use this weapon against him who truly deserves all the praise, how much more he will use it against us whom we have nothing to be praised for, since all we are, all we have or all we do we owe it to God our Creator and Lord.
Let us be careful, then, when someone comes to us with praise and adulation that our heart does not fail the test and that we do not stumble and fall. Praise is not always offered with sincerity and instead it can become a dangerous trap aimed at pleasing our natural need for recognition. Thank God that gives us the ability to discern the purpose of the praise we receive. To God alone be the glory!
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.
Gold and silver have been highly prized metals since the dawn of history. Their beauty and malleability have made them the favorite metals all over the world and one can hardly find a culture where these two metals are not appreciated. From a chemical standpoint, these two metals are pure, i.e. they are not combined with other chemical substances and they do not react easily with other elements to form compounds. For this reason, they support very well the attack of acids or strong alkalis and that is why they are known as noble metals. Also for this reason they can be found in nature in pure form or as elements ─as for example the rich silver mines in Zacatecas─ unlike other metals such as iron, copper or aluminum which must be extracted from an ore. However, in their natural form some impurities may be present that can only be removed by melting the metal. When the metal is subjected to high temperatures the unwanted material can be separated in the form of slag which floats on the molten metal and can be easily removed.
This long explanation is necessary because the heart of man is very similar to these two noble metals. Almost everything that can be said of gold and silver also applies to the human heart. God subjected the hearts of men to high pressures and temperatures by trials in order to eliminate the slag that makes them unclean. That is why Moses urged the people of Israel after they left Egypt with these words: “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Also, the psalmist King David said: “Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” Let us understand, then, that when we are confronted with trials and we feel the fury of the fire on our lives, our heart is being examined and purified so it becomes closer to the heart of God. To God alone be the glory!
Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
Here we have a biblical principle that we will never cease to repeat. Riches are not the foundation of happiness, but wisdom certainly is. This is something that few people know, in fact, almost no one knows it. If people knew this principle their goal in life would not be to become millionaires. If you ask most people what they wish they had, the most common response you will get is that they would like to have tons of money so they do not have to work at all. Because of this mindset, most people wander around and never get financially ahead mostly because their goal is unrealistic. Once again, wisdom is the foundation for happiness. I’m talking about true wisdom, that which comes from above, that which descends from heaven and brings us closer to God, teaching us obedience and respect. Worldly wisdom is mere knowledge, apparent common sense and empty rationality; so fickle and insecure that it has led modern society into postmodernism and its ambiguities.
The world has tried to reach wisdom through philosophy and some philosophers are regarded by the world as great sages. However, their views eventually go out of fashion and the authority of their teachings is soon replaced in the popular taste by new philosophical positions as uncertain as their predecessors. Philosophy can only reveal a very shallow understanding of wisdom; therefore, it is a useless path. True wisdom can only come from God and yet, very few philosophers believe in him and fewer still are looking for him.
As children of God we are indeed privileged because we have access to true wisdom from the Father and also because we have his word, which is very effective in bringing us to true knowledge and perfect wisdom. To God alone be the glory!