Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 9, 2014

“I love the truth … I defend and promote … the honor and good character of my neighbor”

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy 19:14-21.

“14 “You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God gives you to possess.

15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed;  on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.  16 If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, 17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.  18 The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother.  Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.  20 The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you.  21 Thus you shall not show pity:  life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”  Deuteronomy 19:14-21.

——————–

The importance of not being a false witness is shown by the fact that it is one of the Ten Commandments.  “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Exodus 20:16.

The importance of not being a false witness is also shown by the following Proverbs 6:16-19.

“16 There are six things which the Lord hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.”  Proverbs 6:16-19.

There is also certain punishment for a false witness.

“A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will not escape.”  Proverbs 19:5.

In conclusion, the Heidelberg Catechism gives us a great commentary on what is required in this ninth commandment (“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”) by not only instructing us what we should not do, but by also instructing us what we should do as can be seen by the last phrase highlighted in bold italic.

Q. 112.   What is required in the ninth commandment?

A.  That I bear false witness against no man, nor falsify any man’s words;  that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer;  that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly or unheard;  but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit as the proper works of the devil, unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God;  likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly, and confess it;  also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighborHeidelberg Catechism.

 

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