Proverbs 9b

The Folly Of False Advertising.

“Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!” – Proverbs 9:17 NLT

Prior to entering the ministry, I spent 29 years in the advertising industry as a graphic designer. I loved everything about advertising and marketing. I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of the business and coming up with creative ways to market products to specific audiences in order to increase sales. But one of the dangers inherent in the industry is the temptation to present a product or service in a way that either obscures and ignores its faults or enhances and overly inflates its attributes. Sadly to say, it’s a common practice because increased sales drive everything, including ethics, at times. But if you’ve ever been a victim of false advertising, you know how frustrating it can be. You buy a product on good faith, only to find out that it can’t deliver on the promises made when you bought it. Your investment ends up being a big disappointment. The same could be said of sin. Satan is called the father of lies and he is an expert at manipulating the facts in order to present his product in the most favorable light. He is adept at advertising sin in such a way that it not only sounds appealing, but indispensable. Solomon was well aware of this fact. Over and over again in the Proverbs he warns of the dangers of false advertising. But he isn’t dealing with products that fail to live up to their expectation. He’s warning against the moral failure that inevitably comes as a result of our own lack of discernment in the face of the enemy’s alluring offers. Solomon talks a lot about the promiscuous or adulterous woman. He describes her words as seductive. He says her lips are as sweet as honey, and her mouth as smoother than oil. She seduces with pretty speech and entices with flattery. And because they lack discernment, men fall prey to her tactics, taking the lure and reaping the results of their own stupidity. Solomon describes folly in a similar manner, describing it as a woman calling out to those who lack judgment, “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!” (Proverbs 9:17 NLT). It sounds so true, so appealing, so tantalizingly logical. But it’s a lie. Temptation is always tempting, otherwise it would have no impact on us. And our enemy, Satan, knows our weaknesses. He is fully aware of the chinks in our armor. He knows what will tempt each of us and that is where he focuses his attention. He understands human nature and he appeals to our basest instincts and tries to take advantage of our sin natures. As in all advertising, Satan knows the key to success is figuring out how to appeal to our insatiable pride. So he flatters us, distracts us, manipulates and deceives us. He promises to give us what only God can provide. He offers us satisfaction, significance, and success. He guarantees us happiness. But the results are always the same: disappointment, disillusionment and, ultimately, death.

But wisdom calls out, “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave you simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment” (Proverbs 9:6 NLT). God offers us true satisfaction, real success, and lasting significance – in Him. Don’t buy the lie. Listen to God. Answer His call. You’ll never be disappointed.

Father, give me the capacity to see through the subtle lies of the enemy. Don’t let me fall prey to his false advertisements. Only You can deliver what I need. Teach me to trust You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men