But know this: That in the latter days hard times will come: and men will be lovers ofthemselves and lovers of money, boasters, proud, revilers, unyielding towards their own people,deniers of grace, wicked, unloving, addicted to irreconcilable malicious gossips, ferocious,haters of the good, treacherous, rash, inflated, attached to pleasure more than to the love of.Elohim, having a form of respect for Elohim but wide from the power of Elohim.Them who are such, repel from you. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
There is a deceitful saying that “flattery will get you everywhere”, and the opposite wise saying that “flattery will get you nowhere”. It might be good for us to remember these sayings when someone wants to use flattery to our defenses and try to play games, and manipulate us to take something away that doesn’t belong to them. Flatterers are takers. Flatterers are deceivers who tell lies and try to puff others up so they can exploit them, here’s what Scripture has to say about flatterers.
“He that speaks flattery (cheleq) to his friends,even the eyes of his children shall fail.”Job 17:5
“A lying tongue hates those that are afflicted by it;and a flattering (chalaq) mouth works ruin”Proverbs 26:28
“For the commandment is a lamp; and the Torah is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep you from the evil woman, from the flattery (chelqah) of the tongue of a strange woman.”Proverbs 6:23-24
“For I know not to give flattering titles (kanah);in so doing my maker would soon take me away.”Job 32:22
Hebrew words for “flattering” or flattery”
Cheleq -portion, part, flattering, flattery, inheritance, partaker #2506
Chalaq -flattering, smooth, smoother #2509
Chelqah -portion, parcel, piece, field, flattering, plat, part, flattery, ground,
places, smooth, smooth things (comes from Cheleq) #2513
Kanah -flattering titles, surname #3655
Strongs or Thayers #
Flattery is like witchcraft and sorcery in that the flatterer uses deception to gain an advantage over others. The flatterer lacks truth and sincerity, he or she is snared by the transgression of their own lips and they seek to ensnare others. The opposite of flattery is to have gratefulness towards others and use words to praise others for doing and saying righteous and appropriate things, but excessive praise can easily be seen as flattery and it can also become destructive. We either avoid the hazards of flattery, or risk being ensnared by the person who flatters.
A flatterer tells others what they want to hear to break down their defenses, like putting hooks into the weak areas of the soul to pull someone in their direction.
“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”Proverbs 27:2
Indulging oneself in extravagance is self-flattery, putting out the impression that we have more wealth or popularity than we do, or trying to appear more sophisticated and capable that we are, is simply stroking the ego or indulging in self-flattery. Not long ago a wave of religious indulgence hit America through the indiscriminate use of “the prayer of Yahbetz (Jabez)”.
“And Jabez called on the Elohim of Israel, saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And Elohim granted him that which he requested.”1 Chronicles 4:10
Many became convinced into emphasizing their desire to seek materialism and so they tried to stretch the Word of YHWH to fit their covetousness. When the “blessings” don’t come of course, they blame YHWH for not being their big “sugar daddy”. Some think that because blessings never came that YHWH doesn’t love them, that He doesn’t care or even exist, otherwise they should be given more stuff, they see that even those who don’t profess to live according to the Faith seem to get all their desires. A flattering spirit says, we should receive much more that we have because we deserve it.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For Elohim knowsthat in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened,and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4-5
On a community level we recognize the importance of designated offices for our leaders and we utilize titles such as, Doctor, Minister, Counselor, Pastor, Worship Leader, Rabbi, Board Member, Chairman, President, Mayor etc. to describe the office and/or qualifications. These offices carry the respect of the community and are necessary to provide order, structure and facilitate leadership. Those who hold positions in leadership are instrumental for developing the values and personality of the community, they represent their community to the outside world. However there is also a potential for those with influential leadership positions to become “self-important” and flatter themselves or become targets for flattery.
“Let me not, I pray you, regard (nasa*) any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; for in so doing my maker would soon take me away.”Job 32:21-22
Job prays that he not “lift up any man’s person”, or give “flattering titles unto man”, referring to not stroking the prideful flesh. He is not speaking against the office or titles of men since YHWH appointed the titles of Cohanim, Neviim, Leviim and Melekim for the purpose of distinguishing each one for positions and responsibilities. The adversary of YHWH does direct much resources towards YHWH’s leaders to tempt them into being flattered and being manipulated by evil, or by flattering themselves and then reducing the value of others.
“But Y’shua called them unto him, and said, You know that the princes of the Heathen exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister,and to give his life a ransom for many.”Matthew 20:25-28
Those who take positions in leadership become targets for the flatterers, the Mashiyach Himself had to deal with this.
“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why do you call me good? there is none good but one, that is, YHWH: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.”Matthew 19:16-17
“And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”Luke 6:46
Many leaders like to flatter their congregations week by week, so as to make them feel that they are equipped, knowledgeable and prepared to go off to heaven. Those who are concerned about speaking the truth are not as concerned as how people might feel, as they are about being true to YHWH’s Word and His Ways. When a leader crafts his sermons to accommodate his audience he becomes a follower, rather than YHWH’s chosen leader, Scripture refers to these men as “hirelings”.
“For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of Elohim to be put in trust with the Good News, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but Elohim, which tries our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness; Elohim is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Mashiyach.”1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
“For do I now persuade men, or Elohim? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Mashiyach.”Galatians 1:10
Nations can also be trapped into flattering themselves or being flattered by others:
Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the Torah of YHWH: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things (Chelqah), prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water out of the pit. For thus says the YHWH Elohim, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and you would not. But you said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall you flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill. Isaiah 30:8-17Guarding Against Flattery
Our fathers Avraham, Yitzak and Ya’akov exemplify those who were called and blessed of YHWH as Covenant Keepers. Clearly we see in these men a common thread of values far different than the ordinary common or pagan values that were predominate of their day. First and foremost each was called to Keep Covenant and therefor each one sought to nurture righteousness of character.
David began as a shepherd boy, a commoner, not wealthy or famous, but David’s greatness was that his Faith in YHWH superseded his own desires. David was preoccupied by sanctifying the Name of YHWH, he didn’t appear to do much “risk analysis” before he went to meet with Goliath. David denied himself, he would rather have died than continue hearing the enemies of Israel mock the Elohim of Israel. David’s motive was pure, he was ordained of YHWH and chosen to get the victory, and so it is with us who are in the Household of Faith, the ultimate test of our desires is to weigh them all in Mashiyach.
The Spirit of Mashiyach aims to accomplish Righteousness and Truth in the inward parts, when we compare our actions and desires to those of HaMashiyach we will recognize flattery for what it is, and not be entrapped by it. The desires to increase ourselves will transform into desires to increase the Kingdom of Elohim so we can live together as One Mishpocha (family) in YHWH.
“Listen, my beloved brethren, has not Elohim chosen the poor of this world rich in faith,and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to them that love him?”James 2:5
“Help, YHWH; for the Chasid (righteous man) ceases;for the faithful fail from among the children of men.They speak vanity every one with his neighbour:with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.YHWH shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things:Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail;our lips are our own: who is Master over us?For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,now will I arise, says YHWH; I will set him in safety from him that puffs at him.The words of YHWH are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O YHWH, You shall preserve them from this generation for ever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.”Psalm 12
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue:and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”Proverbs 18:21“YHWH Elohim has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakens me morning by morning, he wakens my ear to hear as the learned.”Isaiah 50:4
We shall never allow others to flatter us,because in so doing we allow others to greatly damage their own souls,and we shall not flatter ourselves or others for this same reason Flattery is not something that is done within the Body of Mashiyach. Flattery is a carnal thing that can never produce anyrighteous fruits.
“For the commandment is a lamp; and the Torah (law) is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in your heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”Proverbs 6:23-26
“For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter with their tongue.”Psalm 5:8
“Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.”Jeremiah 18:88
“Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passes away, and cometh not again.”Psalm 78:37-39
Many devastating experiences in private life or business can be avoided when we refuse to allow others to flatter us, and every child must learn the dangers of flattery or they will be vulnerable to all manner of abuse.
“But YHWH said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for YHWH sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but YHWH looks on the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
“The simple believes every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.”Proverbs 14:15
Stop Flattery Dead
It is far easier to stop flattery before it begins than try to undo it after damage has been done.
“Open rebuke is better than secret love”Proverbs 27:5
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight,O YHWH, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Baruch ben Daniel
*It’s an interesting coincidence that the Hebrew nasa refers to “lifting up” and of course the North American Space Agency is in the business of lifting rockets off the earth.