Summary: Truth lives forever, because Christ lives forever, who is the embodiment of Truth. He expects his disciples to reflect on him in their day to day life. Three things are said: Be a Faithful Witness, Have faithful Lips, and Be a Truthful Person.
Theme: Truth Lives Forever
Text: Proverbs 12:17-27
The Lord is good; His love endures forever. So far, we have meditated on the themes of Kingdom of Truth, Truth will set you free, Worship in Truth and Spirit, and on Three Faithful Men. Now we will meditate on the theme “Truth Lives Forever” based on Probers 12:17-27. I would like to leave you three practical life practices with you this morning.
Be a truthful witness
Have truthful lips, and
Be a truthful man.
Truthful Witness (Vv. 17-19)
Read the verses: “Truthfulness marks the righteous, but a habitual liar can never be trusted reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal.”
The definition of testimony goes like this: a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer (Merriam Webster Dictionary).
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour (Exodus 20:16). This ninth commandment concerns our own and our neighbour’s good name. It forbids speaking falsely on any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising or designing to deceive our neighbour, speaking unjustly against neighbour to hurt his reputation.
Bearing false witness against him, or in common conversation slandering, backbiting, and tale-bearing; making what is done amiss, worse than it is, and in any way endeavouring to raise our reputation upon the ruin of our neighbour’s. How much this command is every day broken among persons of all ranks! (Ref: Matthew Henry/ biblehub.com).
False witness is of two kinds, public and private. We may either seek to damage our neighbour by giving false evidence against him in a court of justice or even calumniate him to others in our social intercourse with them.
It is expressly forbidden (Exodus 23:1). The wrong done to a man by false evidence in a court may equal actual murder (1 Kings 21:13). The false witness began in the Garden of Eden, where the lying tongue of Satan set the stage for the tragic Fall of Mankind (Genesis 3:4). Joseph was slandered by the wife of Potiphar (Genesis 39:13-20). Naboth poured out his blood because of the suborned testimony of Jezebel's lying witnesses (1 Kings 21). Stephen, Paul, Silas, and our own Lord Jesus, are victims of this instrument, and all suffered from the violation of this law of God! (ref: Coffman/studylight.org).
The righteous will always speak the truth, and their words heal and not injure anyone (Proverbs 12: 17-19). Exodus 23:1 “Do not spread false reports. Prophet Jeremiah cautioned the people of his times that they should not believe their friends, neighbours because everyone is a slanderer (Jeremiah 9:4).
Gill comments that a proven false witness never is allowed to witness again. His word and oath neither to be taken, nor should any questions be put to him, and not suffered any answer by him. His depositions should not weigh with those before whom they were made. The person and his words are false (ref: John Gill’s Exposition/ biblehub.com).
One Poem beautifully describes the character assassination through false testimony and false reports
“Who steals my purse, steals trash,
But he who filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
Yet leaves me poor indeed.” (ref: Ellicott/ biblehub.com)
At Athens, the false witness was liable to a heavy fine, and if thrice convicted he would lose all his civil rights. At Rome, a law of the Twelve Tables, he would be hurled headlong from the Tarpeian rock. In Egypt, a false witness was punished by amputation of the nose and ears (ref: Records of the Past, vol. 8. p. 65, cited:biblehub.com).
Truthful Lips (Vv. 19-21)
Truth lasts; lies are here today, gone tomorrow (The Message Bible). Truthful words will stand the test of time, but one day every lie will be seen for what it is. Deception fills the hearts of those who plot harm, but those who plan for peace are filled with joy. Calamity is not allowed to overwhelm the righteous, but there is nothing but trouble waiting for the wicked (The Passion Translation).
God looks after those who love the truth and speak the truth. Under His blessing, they will be established forever. It often seems that the lying tongue wins the day and is stronger than the truthful lip. The judgments of the God of truth will show how temporary the success of the lying tongue is (ref:enduringword.com).
By speaking in this way, they will bring pleasure to God and joy to themselves and their hearers (Proverbs 12:20-22). The false testimony is like a club, sword, or sharp arrow that wounds others (Proverbs 25:18).
Chuck Smith Commentary: God created a clean tongue. He does not like our tongue being used as a sword to cut people. Our words must be an ointment balm, a healing agent, a comfort, lifting one another. If we use our tongue as a cutting instrument, if we use our tongue to destroy others, people will seek to defend themselves, and what you dish out will come back to you. People are going to start cutting you and chopping you if you are always chopping others. But if you will speak well of others, compliment a person it will come back to you. What you sow you will reap. (ref: studylight.org).