Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death
is the man who deceives his neighbor and then says “I was only joking”
What a strange and disturbing picture this is. A fire brand is a piece of burning wood. Throwing that or an arrow at a neighbor would surely declare an intent to harm. How then could someone throw these at a person and turn around and say, “Just kidding”? It would be deceitful and ludicrous. Only a crazy person or fool would do such a thing.
Scripture is full of verses dealing with deceit and fools. Proverbs 12:20 says, “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil.” Proverbs 14:8 says, "The folly of fools is deceit." Psalm 101 gives the consequence of deceit: "No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house".
In three short verses, we see that the deceiver has evil on his mind, is a fool, and there is no place for him in God’s house.
What does this have to do with us? God sees everything we do and nothing—including our folly, deceit and lies—is hidden from Him. While we wouldn’t dream of throwing a piece of burning wood or an arrow at our neighbor, what about hurtful words? Words that wound and are painful are easy to throw at someone. To add to them “I was only joking” is just as deceitful as the madman throwing the firebrand.
“Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold O Lord, Thou dost know it all” (Psalm 139:4) Words need to be handled with care because once hurtful ones are hurled, they do their wounding job. It’s crazy if you think about it—hurling something painful at someone you know and care about. Lest we be like the madman or deceitful fool, we must continually be before the Lord, seeking His grace, forgiveness and self-control over our tongues.
Psalm 139:23 says, ”Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me; And lead me in the everlasting way.
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