"Was I not joking?" - Proverbs 26:19b (NAS)
For John McDonald this day started out just like any other day. He arose before sun up and headed out to the barn to do his morning chores. By 9:00 he was ready to get on his tractor and head out into the corn fields, but something went wrong. When he went to start is tractor, it broke.
After telling his daughter Tracy what had happened, John hopped into his pick up truck and took off to get some parts to fix his tractor but there was another problem. The tractor store in Pupperville didn’t have the parts he needed to fix his tractor. The clerk at the store told him he could find the parts at the store over in Jericho if he wanted to drive there.
Since he couldn’t do anything until his tractor fixed, he decided to go even though he had never been there. According to the clerk, all he had to do was follow the signs, but what he didn’t know was the first sign was pointing the wrong way.
Earlier in the day Harold had been out taking Muffy for a walk. As it turned out it was Muffy who was taking Harold for a walk, a very fast walk. When they got to the intersection where the sign was pointing to Jericho, Muffy pulled Harold into the sign knocking it over and giving Harold another bump on his head.
By the time Harold got back on his feet, Muffy was out of sight. As he stood there rubbing the bump on his head trying to figure out how to get Muffy back, he got a mischievous idea when he saw the sign laying in the ditch. Soon, he went over and picked up the sign and placing it back in the ground, he turned it so it pointed the wrong way. “What a great joke this should be” he laughed out loud. After a few minutes Muffy came running back and away they went.
As John drove up to the intersection, he looked at the sign pointing to Jericho and headed off in the wrong direction. As he drove down the wrong road you could here him happily singing e-i-e-i-o. Only later did he realize he was on the wrong road.
Do you like to play tricks on people like Harold? Harold is often causing trouble with his tricks and all too often you can hear him say “Can’t you take a joke?”Proverbs 26:18-19 says Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows and death, So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, "Was I not joking?" (NAS)
Have you ever told someone something that wasn't true only to get caught and than try to back out of punishment or responsibility by saying you were just joking, teasing, kidding, I really didn't mean it, etc? One could ask why one even lies to begin with. To Ponder such a question, lets go to the book of 2 Chronicles Chapter 18 where we meet up with two kings getting ready to go to war.
The first of our two kings is Jehoshaphat the king of Judah. The Bible tells us that Jehoshaphat was a good king that followed after God. The second king is Ahab the king of Israel and when it came to following God, Ahab didn't., He followed after false gods.
As our story gets going, we find that Jehoshaphat had gone to visit Ahab and while he was there he was asked if he would go and fight against Ramoth-gilead. along side Ahab. Jehoshaphat agreed to fight but he wanted to find out what God had to say first.
Now there were many prophets there making claims that they should go to battle and that they would win the battle because the Lord would be with them but these prophets were not from God. Jehoshaphat knew that and asked if there was a real prophet they could talk to.
Ahab, didn't like Jehoshaphat's request because he knew there was a real prophet named Micaiah and that he never prophesied anything good for the king but always evil. When Jehoshaphat learned of the real prophet, he had him sent for.
When the messenger who had been sent to find Micaiah found him he said these words to him. "
"Behold, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. So please let your word be like one of them and speak favorably." (2 Chronicles 18:12b) but Micaiah said he could only say what God tells him to say.
The message that Micaiah had to bring once he arrived before the kings was one of doom. He told them that if they went to battle they would not only lose but that Ahab would be killed. Unfortunately, this did not stop them from going to battle and indeed, they did lose and Ahab was struck by an arrow and died at sunset.
From verse 12 above, I think we can learn at least three reasons why a person "jokes" or lies.
- Self gratification - We tell lies for what we can get out of it - for these prophets they would continue to be taken care of
- Tickling ears - Because it's what the king or someone else wants to hear
- Peer pressure - Because everyone else is doing it
Can you imagine the false prophets standing before the king as he's dieing claiming they were only joking.
Here's Something to Ponder
- Has someone ever been hurt by your joking?
- Have you ever tried to make things seem right by claiming you were only joking?