If you could have two wishes granted, what would they be?
Perhaps you’d wish for good health or for restored relationships. Maybe you’d wish for the chance to remake a decision that you’ve regretted. Perhaps you’d wish for peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Or maybe your wish list would contain things far different from those I’ve mentioned.
Proverbs 30:7-9 contain two wishes worth consideration. “O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”
Help Me Never to Tell a Lie
Honestly, if I had only two wishes coming, I wouldn’t have considered this one as high on my list. But, as I think about, I understand the writer’s heart.
How easy it is to tell lies to ourselves and to others. To ourselves, we say things such as, “That God-given task is too hard for me. I can’t do it,” and “I’m worthless. I messed up so badly in the past that God can’t use me for anything good.”
Eventually we begin to believe those untruths, and then our behaviors follow. The outcome? We live as defeated and ineffective Christians.
On the other hand, speaking truth over ourselves shapes our beliefs and behaviors. When we walk in truth, God is able to fulfill His purposes in and through us. We mature in our faith, and our lives bear eternal fruit.
In regards to lying to others, we often think solely of false statement made to deceive or impress. But consider this: We also speak untruths when we say things that discourage others from taking God-given risks.
I’ve experienced this—like when God called me and Gene to minister in Nepal as newlyweds. I was only 23 years old when we began making plans to move overseas. Someone said, “You want to do what? You’re ‘way off base. You’re not trained for that. You haven’t got a clue.”
The things she said about my not having a clue were true. What did I know about being a homemaker in a mud and rock hut with no electricity or indoor plumbing? What did I know about learning a new language and adapting to a foreign culture? Nothing.
The part about being ‘way off base was a lie. I suspect Noah’s neighbors said something similar to him when he started milling lumber to build an ark. Imagine the result if Noah believed his neighbors untruths and acted on them rather than on God’s call for his life.
Imagine the result if I’d believed that person’s lie about being ‘way off base and acted on it—I would have said no to God’s assignment and would have missed the transformation He accomplished in me by planting me there. I would have missed the maturation that He did in me through circumstances that drove me to rely on Him—homesickness, physical illness, and fear. Indeed, that experience shaped my entire life and continues to mold me to this day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
We need to be aware of our words and their power both over ourselves and others. May God guard us against speaking lies. May His Holy Spirit give us the ability to speak truth instead.
I’ll address the writer’s second wish in Friday’s blog. In the meantime, feel free to post your thoughts about today’s blog. I’d love to hear what you think about the writer’s wish to never tell a lie.