Day 25 Proverbs Challenge: A Broken Foot

by Tammy Phillips

“Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble

is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.” (NLT)

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble

Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.” (NJKV)

Proverb 25:19

Missionaries, lay leaders and pastors from around the world came to a church for extensive leadership training. The church’s radio program had thousands of regular listeners.   As the result of their many weekly services, souls, by the hundreds, shouted that Jesus was their Savior and Lord. Financially independent, this church was glorifying God.

But then their leader, an internationally renowned Bible teacher and married father, refused to give up his girlfriend. The church leadership begged him to give her up, repent, receive correction and move forward. He ignored the requests and continued in his leadership role.

When the indiscretion became public, the consequences were quick and severe. Hundreds left the church, turned off the radio show and stayed away from church. Financial difficulties hit the church. But many people continued to follow the unfaithful pastor.   Eventually this pastor died. The leadership went about finding his replacement, but they did not pray and fast about their selection. So a good-looking, smooth-talking gentleman slipped in and became the new pastor. Soon his creative banking skills were exposed and the church fell further from their once elevated status.

Hundreds more left the church. But, there was a remnant that remained. A few were instructed by the Lord to stay and pray. However, others, still enthralled with this pastor’s looks and speech followed him.   His embezzlement of money from the church did not seem to deter this faithful group even when devastating times hit the church. Eventually, the pastor and his wife were indicted.  Today, there is just a nibble on the Internet about this once impactful church.

Could either pastor be relied on in time of trouble? No, since they were the ones responsible for the trouble. The ministry’s once stellar reputation was destroyed. The young, in age and spirit, fell away. Money to pay the church bills disappeared. Members became distrustful.

I like what The Pulpit Commentary says about Proverb 25:19 — “A faithless man is as little to be relied on in a time of need as a loose or broken tooth, and a foot unsteady or actually dislocated. You cannot bite on the one, you cannot walk on the other; so the perfidious man fails you when most wanted.” Perfidious means deliberately faithless; treacherous; deceitful.

Man is like vapor, sand and dust — fragile and easily blown away. But, the Good News? God is steady, dependable and Holy. So, “it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes” Psalm 118:8-9 (NIV).

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