We continue with the list of seven things the Lord hates, as listed in Proverbs 6. Pride was the first and the worst. But today we come on to the second, lying. Pride and lying are closely linked: “Let lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt” (Psalms 31:18). Once trust has gone and we can no longer rely on what others are saying, then there is no foundation left for a relationship.
The Bible gives some cautionary tales of the consequences of lying. There was Jacob who tricked his father into thinking he was his elder brother, Esau. He gained the Blessing, but had to flee his cheated brother’s wrath. For the following 14 years he lived in exile as a servant of his uncle. Eventually he had to return to be reconciled to Esau, and on the way wrestled with an angle. Out of this conflict he emerged with a lifelong limp (Genesis 32:24-28).
Then there was Ananias and Sapphira. This couple were part of the early church, many of whom were selling their possessions and sharing them with the whole church. Unfortunately, these two conspired together to withhold half the proceeds and yet claim to have given it all. The result was the divine wrath of Peter and the instant death of both of them! (Acts 5:1-11). This was extreme but it served as a salutary example to the other disciples.
Lying is serious. Jesus taught that when the devil lies “he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). He lied in the Garden of Eden: “You will not die” (Genesis 3:4). Deception and lies should not be part of our armoury, rather, we should “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
Hilaire Belloc told a Cautionary Tale about Matilda who “told such Dreadful Lies, It made one Gasp and Stretch one’s Eyes.” When she cried “Fire” once too often, no one believed, and “Matilda, and the House, were Burned.”
Lord, you always spoke the truth. Help me to be honest and yet gracious. I know the truth will set us free. Amen.
If you would like to join the social group and help organise social activities for church members to enjoy, please come to the Vicarage on Wednesday 29th January at 7.30pm. We would love to see you there.
When we speak of the Seven Deadly Sins we may immediately think of the Catholic list: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. This list is good and comprehensive, and certainly Pride is the key to all sins.
Indeed, Pride leads a different list which we shall be considering over the coming weeks. The Book of Proverbs gives a wide ranging list of things that the Lord “hates” and which are “an abomination to him” (v.16).
The first one, then, is “haughty eyes” (v.17). This feeling of superiority is a disaster. The original sin was Adam and Eve’s desire to be “like God” (Genesis 3:5). They were tempted by the pride that they knew better than God; the ‘fruit’ would not kill them but would make them wise. How wrong they were, how far they fell! Surely the saying is true: “Pride comes before a fall”.
The first Couple were of course only following in the steps of the Tempter. Satan had already gone the same way before them. His fall is well described by the Prophet: “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven … I will set my throne on high …” (Isaiah 14:13). If you read the passage (see Explore More below) you will see that five times he says “I will”. That is the nature of pride.
We are all infected with this fatal tendency, although some of us suffer from inverted pride. We either have too much confidence in ourselves and think we can do without God and can climb up over others, or else we have so low an opinion of ourselves that we do not believe that God has done a good job in making us, and do not believe that he can do anything for us or through us.
Both these positions are an offence to God Almighty. “Haughty eyes” are to be avoided. As Paul says, the disciple “is not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment …” (Romans 12:3).
Lord, though you have made me unique, keep me from looking down on others. Teach me humility. Amen.
Derek and Ruth Hicks 10.00am Sunday Welcome Team is in need of a couple of volunteers. The welcome is once every six weeks and would mean coming to church at 9.00am to help set up. If any Church member would like to help please could they contact either Derek or Ruth on Taunton 289531. Thank you.
Firstly, we would like to form a social team. This group of people would meet regularly to plan church community events. This may include trips to the theatre, a restaurant, a sporting event like football or rugby, or helping with community activities in the Church such as the Pancake Party. (Do put 4th March in your diary because we will enjoy pancakes and a quiz on Shrove Tuesday). If you would like to help, come to the first meeting at the vicarage on Wednesday 29th January at 7.00pm. We would be delighted to see you.
Secondly, we would like to begin a discussion about holding a regular informal worship service on the second Sunday of the month at 4.00 pm followed by a bring and share tea. We pray that God’s Holy Spirit will flow and bless us as we worship Him. If you would like to be involved in the planning and shaping of this, please come to a meeting at the vicarage at 7.00pm on Tuesday 28th January.