Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an
evil heart. A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but
in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming,
do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart.
Malice is most effective when it wears a friendly mask. The heart of the malicious man may be boiling with hatred, but revealing the truth of his corruption would take the edge off the sweetness of his dark intent. On the surface, he appears to be a close friend: “My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords” (Psalm 55:20– 21).
The man who gives his life over to serving God is especially susceptible to the malice of the wicked. David prays for deliverance from his enemies: “Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. . . . Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous” (Psalm 38:12, 19).
From the earliest days of his ministry, Jesus is under attack from Satan and from his acolytes, the religious leaders of Israel, and even from members of his own family.
The world will often go to great lengths to cover up its own darker designs. We are warned to be alert, to be fully armed, and to know God’s Word, for we will often find ourselves operating behind enemy lines where we are in danger of the forces of subversion at any time.
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts