Song of the Drunkards


A Righteous Man Hates Lying

October 1, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations

Proverbs 13:5–6 (NKJV) 

5A righteous man hates lying, But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. 6Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to hate lying.

We live in a morally confused age in which we are told that we must “reject hate.” But “hate” is not intrinsically evil as we see in our text today. Hate is a transitive verb. Hence, we can only determine if it is virtuous or vicious depending on the direct object. To hate God, to hate virtue, to hate righteousness – all these are vices. But to hate arrogance, to hate cruelty, and to hate wickedness – all these are virtues. As Proverbs 6 reminds us:

16These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. (Prov 6:16-19)

If these are things that our Lord hates, then they are things that we should likewise hate. We should embrace hate – and note that the tongue is mentioned twice in this list. The Lord hates “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who speaks lies.” Thus, He groups liars amid a notorious collection of sinners in Revelation 21:

6… “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (21:6-8)

Liars are grouped among the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, etc. Hence, according to our text, the man who hates lying is righteous – pleasing to God and reflecting the character of our Lord Jesus. Jesus died and rose again because we are a fallen people, “deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim 3:13). We lie to others and are lied to in turn. And this deceitfulness makes us loathsome and shameful, our text declares – a people who lie and deceive one another are a people never at peace. Hence, such wickedness overthrows the sinner – his life falls apart, he has no friends, because there is none upon whom he can rely nor who can rely upon him. Lies beget more lies and destruction comes in their wake. Thus, the one who loves lies hates his neighbor.

But the one who hates lying loves his neighbor. So Paul commands the Ephesians, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Eph 4:25). Why should we put away lying? Because we are members of one another and thus called to love one another. The one who loves his neighbor speaks truth to him. And this truthfulness begets more truthfulness. Such truthfulness proves to be a guard to him who practices it.

So what of you? Do you hate lying? Do you abhor all manner of deceit and treachery? Do you strive to speak truth always, to be careful with your words? Or do you regularly lie and deceive others? Do you boast of your accomplishments or do you assess yourself honestly? Do you say one thing and do another or do you shun hypocrisy of all sorts? Children, teens – do you hate lies and love the truth? When you are caught in sin, do you openly confess it or do you try to lie and deceive to escape the consequences of your actions? 

Though we ought to be a people who hate lying, we often are tempted to lie and deceive. And God is speaking to us today and summoning us to repent – to love honesty and integrity. And the good news is that He is gracious and gives freely to those who thirst, who acknowledge their sin and thirst for righteousness. So today let us not hide our sin but let us confess it freely to the Lord. And as we confess, let us kneel together as we are able.

Diligence & Laziness

September 24, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations, Sanctification

Proverbs 13:4 (NKJV) 

4The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to be diligent not lazy.

Webster defines “diligent” as “steady in application to business; constant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken; assiduous; attentive; industrious; not idle or negligent…” The man of diligence is not afraid of hard work and exertion. He remembers that God created man to work. We were designed to fill the earth and subdue it and to exercise dominion over it (Gen 1:28). God did not put mankind in the garden so that he would sit back and eat grapes all week; God put mankind in the garden to work. Adam was to take the order of the garden and extend it to the rest of creation. And though the Fall introduced toil into the world, often causing our work to be frustrating or foiled, work itself is good and noble and right, a holy calling. Consequently, the righteous man is diligent. And God’s promise to the diligent man is that “his soul shall be made rich” – he often enjoys material prosperity but, even in the lack of material prosperity, the character that the diligent develops makes him a rich man. This is not a health and wealth Gospel; this is God’s promise to those who work hard – it is diligence not daydreaming that leads to prosperity and it is diligence not daydreaming that enables us to reflect the character of our Lord Jesus Christ. The soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

The lazy man, on the other hand, desires, and has nothing. So who is the lazy man? Let us reverse engineer Webster’s definition of diligence. Lazy means “unsteady in application to business; inconstant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken; inattentive; idle or negligent…” The lazy man is full of excuses. Solomon writes, “The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway” (Pr 15:19). In other words, whereas the diligent man clears away excuses and accomplishes the tasks given to him, the lazy man is full of excuses. There is always a reason the work can’t get done, the project can’t get finished, the job can’t be accomplished.

So what of you? Are you diligent or lazy? When you are given a task, does your parent or your boss or your spouse have to remind you to complete it? Children – is your room a pig stie or do you pick it up? Do you do your homework willingly or do you need constant reminders? Are your chores routinely accomplished or just as routinely neglected? Teens – are you wasting an inordinate amount of time on video games or on your phone or on entertainment rather than gaining skills that you can use to start a family and contribute to the well-being of your community? Adults – are you redeeming the time because the days are evil? Are you growing in faithfulness? Diligent in your vocation? Devoted to reading the Word of God and deepening your knowledge of God? Or is there always an excuse?

Reminded that we are to be diligent men and women and children who are attentive and industrious, let us acknowledge that we are often lazy, that we often make excuses when we should take responsibility. And as we confess our sin to the Lord and seek His forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us kneel as we are able.

Taming the Tongue

September 17, 2023 in Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations, Tongue

Proverbs 13:2–3 (NKJV) 

2A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. 3He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to guard our tongues.

There is an old Arab proverb, “Take heed that your tongue does not cut your throat.” It is that sentiment that is expressed in our proverbs today. Verse 2 contrasts a fruitful versus a mischievous tongue while verse 3 contrasts a cautious versus an ungoverned tongue. So let us consider the difference between a fruitful, cautious tongue and a mischievous, ungoverned tongue. On the one hand, a fruitful and cautious tongue is one that speaks good, that strives for peace, that exalts God, and that treasures truth. This man weighs his words carefully and speaks only that which is good for necessary edification (Eph 4:29). He knows that “in a multitude of words sin is not lacking” and so he “restrains his lips” (Pr 10:19). The one who speaks thus, who speaks his fruitful thoughts and restrains his foolish and sinful thoughts, will both preserve his life and eat well. He will enjoy a clear conscience in God’s sight as well as, in general, good relationships with family, friends, and neighbors. 

On the other hand, a mischievous and ungoverned tongue is one that spreads gossip, that deceives others, that exalts self, and that treasures personal gain. The one who speaks thus “feeds on violence.” He finds himself at war with his conscience as well as with family, friends, and neighbors. He opens wide his lips – he defines authenticity as the need to speak whatever he thinks, whatever she feels, whatever his passing fancy dictates. So he reveals the secrets of others, betrays friendships, and flatters others for personal gain. Such a person shall have destruction. She will discover that no one trusts her or wants to be her friend.

Solomon writes earlier in Proverbs, “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked” (10:11). So what of you? Are you characterized by a fruitful, cautious tongue or by a mischievous, ungoverned tongue? Have you set a guard on your mouth? Do you weigh your words carefully? When you speak, are your words like the violent thrusts of a sword or the gentle swabbing of a wound? How do you speak to your spouse and your kids? Do you scream and rage and wonder why your family cringes in your presence? Do you multiply words to no purpose? Or do you carefully consider the words you speak and their impact on others?

Teens, you will be particularly tempted by the mischievous, ungoverned tongue. When speaking with your parents, are you careful to show them honor and respect? When you are angry or upset or hurt, do you restrain your lips until you can speak with care? Or do you just vomit out your disrespect and wonder why you keep getting disciplined? When speaking with your friends, do you use foul language to prove how cool you are? Do you make crude, sexual jokes? Do you speak ill of others to try to make yourself look better? Do you spread rumors and gossip? Do you speak one thing to someone’s face and then another behind their back? Do you open wide your lips or do you guard your mouth?

James the Just, the brother of our Lord Jesus, reminds us in his epistle, that

the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell… no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so (Jam. 3:6-10)

But they often are so, aren’t they? We are often tempted by the mischievous, ungoverned tongue. So reminded that we often sin with our tongues, but that God calls us to have a fruitful, cautious tongue, let us confess our sin to the Lord and our need for Him, by the righteousness of Christ and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, to tame our tongues and teach us to use them well. And as we confess, let us kneel before the Lord as we are able.