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What Is Flattery? (Psalm 5:9)

Introductory Thoughts

The New Testament frequently incorporates minor word variations when quoting Old Testament passages. Some Bible critics have pointed to these variations suggesting that the Bible contains contradictions. However, Bible-believing students know that these variations actually provide additional light and understanding of God’s word. For example, Romans 3:13 quotes Psalm 5:9 with the variation in wording shedding light on the meaning of the word flattery. The phrase from Psalms reads “they flatter with their tongue” (Psalm 5:9). Romans modifies this Old Testament quotation by stating that “with their tongues they have used deceit” (Romans 3:13). This indicates that flattery involves the use of deceitful words; and according to 1 Thessalonians 2:5, the motive is often connected to covetousness.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): It is good to praise someone with the right intention. However, flattery involves saying something nice to someone when your heart feels otherwise (Psalm 55:21). For example, Judas greeted Jesus with a friendly greeting along with a kiss, but his intentions were deceitful (Matthew 26:47-49).
  • (For everyone):  Sometimes people say things that they don't mean to other people in order to get something from them. At other times, people will stretch the truth hoping to receive some personal benefit. What are some examples of this?
  • What are some subtle ways in which we might use flattery to get what we want? How can these subtle beginnings lead to much more serious situations?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask the Lord to teach you the dangers of flattery.
  • Ask God to show you when you are using flattery.