Proverbs 29:5-6 Net Work
Weaving together lies or sneaky schemes is bound to get a man in trouble. He is building a net with his work that will bind him in it instead of another.
When first reading this, I had to Google a word. I thought I knew the meaning, but the way it is used in the first verse of our reading told me I needed to look again. You may have already guessed the word I needed to look up. If not, I’ll share it with you now.
The word is “flatter.” I always thought this was a good word. The dress is flattering to me meant it looks good on you. Flattering remarks meant someone saying something nice about someone or something. But “a man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet” is NOT a positive statement. It is a warning. So, let’s see what the dictionary has to say about the word “flatter.”
Dictioanry.com defines “flatter” as:
verb (used with object)
to try to please by complimentary remarks or attention.
to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively: She flatters him by constantly praising his books.
to represent favorably; gratify by falsification: The portrait flatters her.
to show to advantage: a hairstyle that flatters the face.
to play upon the vanity or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle, or beguile: They flattered him into contributing heavily to the foundation.
A couple of these fit my understanding of the word but the rest caught me totally by surprise. I’m going to guess that Solomon was leaning towards the definitions that include the insincere portions. I guess that’s where the phrase “Flattery will get you nowhere” cam from. The one lavishing the praise has an ulterior motive. They are only saying nice things about someone to gain something in return.
Solomon is probably saying that when you insincerely complement your neighbors you are liable for what you have said, especially if you said it about them in the presence of another. You will either come off as a liar or a schemer if found out. Neither is a positive word in ANY dictionary.
This leads us right into the next verse where Solomon speaks of evil men being “ensnared in his transgressions”. God has made it clear from the time Adam and Eve tried to hid their sin, that there is NOTHING hidden that will not one day be revealed. Abel’s blood called out to God from the ground against Cain. It may be hidden from men, for a time, but God spoke through Moses when he warned the tribes who wanted land on the near side of the Jordan. “You have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23b).
“You can fool all of the people some of time; you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” This saying is attributed to Abraham Lincoln but some say that it not the source. I have also heard it said by replacing “fool” with “please”. Both work in saying that, yes, your sins WILL find you out. You can’t fool or please all the people all the time. Someone will see through your ruse and your net will close around you. God is certainly NEVER fooled. And, sometimes, I think He sets up the ‘great reveal’ to happen at the MOST inopportune time.
Jesus even warned the Pharisees that the people from the most sinful cities and times would shake their heads at the behavior of those walking in His time. Talk about “flattery”!!! The Pharisees used that tactic on Jesus more times than I can count and it ALWAYS backfired on them. If not with the men listening, then certainly with God and His ‘tally system’ for numbering a man’s sins.
But the man who lives righteously doesn’t have to worry about getting tangled up in his web of deceit. He has no lies to remember to maintain his ‘story’. He doesn’t live in fear of discovery either. And believe me, that can be a REAL fear. My eating issues had me in that place A LOT! There is NO joy in hiding.
I was struggling with the fear of discovery for the past week. When I went with my daughter to take one last look at her father’s (my ex-husband) home we found something I should NEVER have taken home with me. It was a gallon baggie of Hershey kisses. I have been hiding them from my husband, who is diabetic and would like nothing more than to eat them. And I have been hiding as I eat them. I tried giving them away but no one wants them. As I was writing this, I was convicted to GET RID OF THEM. I just dumped them in the garbage can outside. I’m coming clean to you. I’m not certain if I will divulge this to my husband though. I’ll leave that in God’s hands to direct me. My husband’s memory is fleeting and I doubt he would remember anyway. I would only be telling him to ease my guilt.
Father God, forgive me for hiding once again. I HATE how it makes me feel and I KNOW that ‘feeling’ is a gift from You. If it weren’t for the feelings of guilt I would feel free to do whatever I wanted. You touch my heart with Your Spirit and pull me back to the right path.
Thank You for the conviction and push in my spirit. Thank You ALSO for speaking to my spirit just now about the difference between ‘guilt’ and ‘conviction’. Guild is something I heap on myself that weighs me down and makes me feel ashamed. It doesn’t life when the offense ends. It hangs on as long as possible, trying to make me feel even worse. It is NOT from You. It’s from Satan.
Conviction is that knowing that something is wrong and fanning the flame of desire to change that wrong. It comes directly from the Holy Spirit and it brings me to You for forgiveness. It does NOT drag guilt along with it. When You forgive me, there should be no guilt, as You have washed away the sin completely. There are often consequences from the sin that I have to go through but guilt is NOT one of them. I can CHOOSE to put that guilt down. I do so NOW Father. Thank You for allowing me this choice and showing me that it is not only possible, but a BIGGER gift from You that the original conviction today.
Thank You for pulling me back from the ‘cookie jar’ again. Not that ‘cookies’ are sinful but the way I get entangled with them is unhealthy. And me hurting Your child (myself) is painful for You and therefore a sin to me. Does Jesus still feel the pain?
I’m sorry beyond words for causing You more pain Lord Jesus. Let me hug You until we are both cried out and can smile again. I NEVER want to hurt You again.