August 05, 2020 – Wednesday
Proverbs 26:23-26 NIV
23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 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.
While each proverb within a chapter of Proverbs can stand on its own, every so often there will be a couplet where two verses can be compared and contrasted on the same subject. Other times there may be a grouping of proverbs that are clearly related such as the four verses above.
The first three have direct mention of hearts, evil – deceit – abominations, while the fourth implies malice in hearts. While our focus is on the third verse, let’s look at each of them in turn.
The first is sometimes written with smooth lips vice the fervent lips of the verse. Either way the meaning is clear, the lips lie and cover up what is an evil heart. It does that just as a silver veneer can take a piece of worthless earthenware and make it look expensive. Thus, we have a warning against smooth or fervent speech that does not match the actions of the speaker.
Next, we have something very similar where an actual enemy will disguise themselves with deceitful words from their hearts. Once again we have a warning against simply listening to the words of what someone says without considering the purpose or goal of their speech.
Then in our verse of the day, we have the most direct statement of all, Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. We are not told who this person is in any of these verses and especially in this one. Who is the verse talking about? Various commentaries suggest the person is a known enemy in which case we might wish to believe what is said but know better in general. Here, we are given a strong warning not to be taken in by charming speech when it is an enemy speaking. This would be particularly true when we are speaking of a spiritual enemy who wants us to take an ungodly action or path. No matter how charming the warning is DO NOT TRUST! If someone is promoting evil or sin it is likely their hearts are filled with abominations with seven being the number of completion.
Finally, we come to the verse where the heart is not mentioned, but implied Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. First of all, we are still speaking of the same enemy. Then what is implied here is that malice covered by deception in a private or a very small gathering will be exposed when brought before the assembly or congregation.
Bottom line here is when an enemy presents something / anything that sounds too good to be true, it most likely is too good to be true. Indeed, it is most likely to be both false and harmful. Be careful what and whom you trust.