The ninth commandment is laid out in this proverb. God commands us to be true witnesses, and in doing so we save lives. Maybe even our own!
My bible helps has this verse standing alone. But this concept, and commandment, is visited several times by Solomon. It is even seen in the final days of Jesus’ life. A TRUE witness can save lives. And a false one can condemn the innocent.
I knew we had covered this concept before in Proverbs so I went looking to find out how many times. In Proverbs 6:19 lists false witnesses among the things God hates. Proverbs 12:17 simply mentions that speaking the truth makes one an honest witness. Today’s verse won’t be the last time Solomon hammers home this point. We will visit this concept and close associates of it again in chapters 18, 19 (twice), 21, 22, 24, and 25.
Jesus Himself was the True Witness to all that God had/has planned for us. He testified of God’s love and a hope for our future. He told of the cost of following Him along with the rewards for doing so. Jesus summed up His whole mission and God’s plan when He spoke these words:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).
What better witness could there be to God’s plan than His own Son, who would walk out that plan in the form of a man?
We know that this concept of being a truthful witness is important to God but why is it so important to man? First of all, we ALL want to be able to trust in something or someone. It is in our very nature to do so. Our whole lives are based on what we believe to be true. From the simplest form of trust a baby exhibits to our belief in our justice systems, news media and even religious beliefs shapes our lives.
When a baby cries, he trusts that his/her needs will be met. Why? Because his/her experiences have proved this out. With a reliable caregiver the baby learns trust and security. With an unreliable one the baby learns uncertainty and fear. This is the foundation for this child’s world. It is what he/she will build all other concepts upon.
This foundation, cracks and all, will be tested throughout our lives. The more we are fed truth, the stronger our foundation will become. And the more truth we know, the easier it will be to spot a lie. But there are people in our lives that can disguise a lie so cleverly that it goes unnoticed as one. Also the person who has been fed little truth is constantly seeking something to believe in. This person is ripe for the picking of those who would deceive.
Imagine a man who has been struggling all his life with trust. He has encountered many broken promises in his life through outright lies and deceit. One day, he is befriended by someone who KNOWS how he feels and is here to help him. He tells him that everything he has heard before was a lie. He can’t trust anyone else to tell him the truth. Then this friend begins to ‘prove out’ the relationship with ‘evidence’ of his trustworthiness. The friend feeds his new convert his truth. Before you know it, the friend’s truth becomes the man’s. Whatever the friend says becomes reality. Done often enough, a cult is born.
I’m going to point out a few examples of ‘twisted truths’ from my corner of the globe. The first one that comes to mind is the “Flat Earth Society.” Despite evidence to the contrary, there are still many people who still believe our world is flat and that we will fall of the edge if we go too far. They have come to this conclusion through belief in a false witness. Their lives are shaped and ruled by these lies.
Another group finding popularity these days are the ones that say the mass shootings are hoaxes perpetrated by our governments. They won’t even believe eye witness testimony. Their deceivers have them so convinced that THEY are the only ones telling the truth. Their lives are ruled by their beliefs in government conspiracy plots. They see them everywhere.
Then there are those who will believe ANYTHING and EVERYTHING they see or hear in the media. This includes anything from the slanted news reports to Facebook posts. “It was said by_____ so it MUST be true.” When ‘evidence’ to one of their ‘truths’ also is broadcast it creates confusion. Often these people will choose one side or the other of the conflict to hold onto. One glaring example of this is Trump supporters and detractors. Both sides cling to their ‘truths’ with all they have. Their lives are shaped by the personal bias of their sources.
There are also those who won’t believe ANYTHING. They are skeptical of everything they hear. They have to check the ‘facts’ of everything they hear. And even then they question if the sources of the information is reputable. They expect deceit at every turn and this also shapes their lives.
ALL these are false witnesses that affect a person’s life in a broad way. Some of these false witnesses even cost people their lives, as in the Heavens’ Gate cult. The people who believed that particular false witness believed his lies all the way to the grave.
The MOST COSTLY false witnesses are those that say there is no God. Their lies lead to eternal death. This is also the easiest lie to disprove. Look around you. There is NO WAY our world could exist without a Creator. That self-evident truth sets you up to look for that Creator. He is just waiting for you to make that search. And then He can fill you with REAL truth. That truth gives life forever more.
Thank You Father God for providing Your TRUE Witness, Jesus. I can in no way deny Your existence. There is just too much evidence. But Jesus’ witness fills in the rest of the story. Your word is a treasure of truth for me. The continuity of Your story from first to last is proof also of its truth. So many years, so many authors, so many languages, and so many events ALL speak of Your love. THANK YOU for giving me the truth.
Holy Spirit, THANK YOU for bringing God’s words to life for me. For making it relevant to my life. God’s truths are what I measure all other evidence by. If it doesn’t match up it doesn’t make it in my heart.