WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 12, 2021
TOPIC: BEWARE OF FLATTERY
BY T. O. BANSO
“He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail” (Job 17:5 New King James Version).
Everybody likes good things to be said about him, including those who are not even doing good things! We all feel good when people praise us and we are motivated to do better. But some people engage in excessive or insincere praise and, if those being praised are not sensitive enough, they could, in that mood, do things that normally they would not have done. This is actually the goal of flatterers.
For those who do not do good and expect to be praised by others, they are looking for those who will lie to them about themselves. Unfortunately, some people will deceive them. Those being deceived are the enemies of themselves as they’re seeking to reap what they have not sown. They need to change and begin to sow the seed of good deeds.
But my focus is on people who are doing good things but some people want to take advantage of them by showering on them exaggerated praise or praising them with insincere motives. The Cambridge Dictionary defines flattery as “the act of praising someone, often in a way that is not sincere, because you want something from them.” Flattery is insincere or excessive praise.
Don’t love flattery. If you do, you’re the enemy of yourself. Once people know you love flattery, they will come to you and give you excessive praise or praise you with an ulterior motive. For instance, if you love flattery, people will come to you with well-rehearsed praise, telling you good things about yourself, praising you to high heaven to make you have a swelled head.
They could tell you that you are the best this or that or they’ve never seen anyone do something you have done, etc. You could think they hold you in high esteem and you’re very special to them. It’s a lie. What they’ve told you that makes you feel on top of the world is what they have been telling others, too, or they will go and tell other people after they leave you.
Don’t think they believe in what they are saying. It’s all deceit, intended to achieve a goal. After they have showered excessive praise on you and you receive it, they have got you in a mood that they will now present their original request or come out with their real intention.
In other words, the flattery prepares the ground for them to achieve their selfish goal. Therefore, when people come to you excessively showering praises on you, just watch out; it is most likely a prelude to something immediately after or soon. They have a request they want to make and want to manipulate you to achieve their aim.
We see this pattern in Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, and Luke 20:20-26. The three gospels record the same event. According to the Matthew account, the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Jesus in His talk. In other words, they wanted to set a trap for Him or a bait to catch Him say something wrong they would use against Him. Their motive against Jesus was evil.
They sent to Jesus their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Verse 16-17 New King James Version).
Did you notice that they didn’t first go straight to the purpose of coming to Him? They first faltered Jesus. They showered on Him praises they didn’t believe in. They were insincere. They only wanted to put Jesus in a mood that He would see them as friends and give them a straightforward answer that He would give His friends. But all along, they’ve not been favourably disposed to Jesus and His ministry. He knew them very well and, therefore, was not deceived by their praise and did not give them an answer based on their praise of Him.
How many people have been put in trouble by supposed friends who flattered them to get information from them and used it against them? But Jesus was not a victim in this case as recorded in Mathew, Mark, and Luke. He didn’t fall into their traps. “But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.’ So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (verses 18-21 New King James Version). Verse 22 says when they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way. Their evil purpose was defeated.
Beware of flattery. Don’t listen to flatterers. They have ulterior motives. Don’t encourage flatterers in your life. Herod died prematurely because he received the flattery of the people of Tyre and Sidon whom he had been angry with. They came to ask for peace because his country supplied their country with food.
While Herod was arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne, and gave an oration to them, the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” (Acts 12:22 New King James Version). Immediately, an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give glory to God. He was eaten by worms and died.
In Daniel 6:7-9, when all the governors of the kingdom of Persia, the administrators and satraps, the counselors, and advisors, consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitioned any god or man for thirty days, except King Darius, shall be cast into the den of lions, they were only flattering him. He didn’t know that Daniel, whom he had nothing against, was their target. As I have said, flatterers have selfish goals.
Darius must have felt supremely powerful when he established the decree and signed the writing so that it could not be changed. It was according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which could not be revoked. Don’t listen to flattery. Because the decree could not be altered, Daniel, who violated the decree to pray to his God, was thrown into the lions’ den.
The king spent the night fasting and hoping that Daniel’s God would deliver him. The king was glad early the next morning when Daniel answered him from the lions’ den that His God had delivered Him. The king later said Daniel’s accusers and their children and wives should be thrown into the same den of lions. The lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces before they came to the bottom of the den (Daniel 6:10-25). Don’t listen to flatterers; don’t let them use you to achieve their selfish end.
Proverbs 26:28 says, “A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattering words cause ruin” (New Living Translation). Flattery ruins. David said, “My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery” (Psalm 5:9 New Living Translation).
Flattery will inflate one’s ego. It will make one arrogant as one believes the excessive praise being showered on one. Don’t believe a flatterer. He has an ulterior motive. Proverbs 6:24 talks about the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. She seduced her victim with her flattering lips (Proverbs 7:21). Obeying God’s command will keep a man from an adulterous or a strange woman.
The flattery of a strange woman will ruin the life of her victim. But wisdom will deliver a man from her. “Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the flattery of the adulterous woman” (Proverbs 2:16 New Living Translation). Wisdom will also save from the flattery of the immoral man. Remember that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10). Job 28:28 says, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding” (New King James Version).
Whether you are a pastor, a political leader, a manager, or whatever you are, beware of flattery. As long as you interact with fellow human beings, you can be a victim of flattery. So don’t let those who praise you in a way that is not sincere, because they want something from you to manipulate you to do what you would not normally do. When people fall victim this way and discover later, they usually regret their actions or bad decisions. They feel bad that they have been used. The Lord shall cut off every flattering lip that Satan wants to use to destroy you (Psalm 12:3).
Just as you should ensure you are not a victim of flattery, you also should not flatter anyone. Pay compliments but do not let it be insincere or excessive to gain favour or advantage. Elihu, the youngest of Job’s comforters, said, “Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone; nor let me flatter any man. For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away” (Job 32:21-22 New King James Version).
Pastor, please don’t flatter your listeners or members; be sincere with them. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2:5, “Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know. And God is our witness that we were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money!” (New Living Translation). Did you see that? No flattery; never once!
Don’t engage in flattery in relating with those within your sphere of influence. “In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery” (Proverbs 28:23 New Living Translation). Don’t have a reputation for flattering people or desiring flattery from them; be sincere. Job said, “He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail” (Job 17:5 New King James Version). The New International Reader’s Version puts the latter part of this scripture thus: “Then his own children will suffer for it.”
Beware of flattery.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help to recognize flattery and not become a victim of it. I shall be manipulated by flattery to make bad decisions or take wrong actions. O Lord, cut off every flattering lip that Satan wants to use to destroy me. I shall not speak flattery to anyone; I shall not flatter those within my sphere of influence. I shall praise people sincerely but not flatter anyone in Jesus’ name.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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