1998-01-05 - Giving You Some Lip Service

Proverbs 24:1, 2. "Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; For their minds devise violence, And their lips talk of trouble."

The book of Proverbs uses the word "lip" in several different ways.

  1. "Refrain the lips", is to speak little and seasonably. To "Talk of the lips," is to engage in vain and idle speech. This is empty boasting which tends only to poverty. (Prov. 10:19, 14: 23)

  2. To, "Open the mouth or lips wide," is to talk rashly, boastingly, or reproachfully. (Prov: 13:3)

  3. "Burning lips," denotes fine language, ardent protestations, or words apparently full of love. (Prov. 26:23)

So what kind of lip service is in mind in this 24th chapter of Proverbs? It appears that we have a #2 form of lip service in view. Really it is a caution against falling into the trap of #2. This is a caution we should all take to heart.

This caution is much the same as the one given in Chapter 23:17 of the same book. We are not to envy sinners, think that they are happy, or wish ourselves to be where they are in life. They may prosper in this world, and they may seem secure, but our security is not in this world.

Not only will the end of the unrighteous be bad, but the way of the unrighteous is also bad. Their heart will prove to be a destruction to themselves. So this Proverb admonishes us to not even speak like them. Everyone who rejects the love of Christ has an ill tendency about them, they dishonor God, they reproach religion, they even do not love their neighbor. They live for self, and it is wise to have nothing to do with them save speaking of and showing the love of Jesus Christ to them. We have no reason to look upon them with envy, but rather pity, and a just indignation at their rejection of the love of their Creator. This is a tough lesson, but in the end, this is really what the Proverb is saying.

I live in Philadelphia, and here someone recently showed their love and paid lip service to their next-door-neighbor with a .357 magnum, killing him. This seems to happen here more than once a day. Envy is treacherous. To show the love of Christ is to show the virtues and nature of Christ to those with whom we come in contact. Keeping up with our neighbor is not our task. Envy is deadly for a Christian, but keeping up with the love of Christ is a worthy task for all our days.

"If there is any sin more deadly than envy, it is being pleased at being envied." Richard Armour "

Envy always implies inferiority, wherever It resides." Pliny

"The envious man is an enemy to himself, for his mind is always spontaneously occupied with his own unhappy thoughts." Menander

Soli Deo Gloria,