23 ¶ Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
Commentators like Henry make two applications to this verse. Both have to do with the first part. One application he makes which goes well with the next verses is that, and I’m paraphrasing, lips that profess love, loyalty, faith, friendship, and allegiance with a passion and fire but coming from a false, wicked heart are like a broken piece of pottery covered with the castoffs of the process of refining silver.
Dross is defined in such a way in the following verses;
Psalms 119:119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
Isaiah 1:22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
The silver looks good from a distance but up close you realize that its just pretty trash covering a broken piece of pottery. Such is the profession of someone who claims with tears and much emotion that they have trusted Christ as their Saviour but when God examines them closely it’s just a phony profession. I am very wary of politicians and those who seek power over the lives and money of the populace and constantly talk about how God has told them to run for office. I have often wondered why we can’t have a debate where we try to find out who God told first. (Just joking.)
Jesus warned about false prophets, who may be preachers in our context as “to prophesy” can mean to not only foretell but “forth tell” as in preaching God’s word, or even regular Christians in Matthew.
Matthew 7:15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
When I first joined an Independent Fundamental Baptist church I thought everyone would be like Dr. Ruckman; folksy with common sense, human but with good intentions, a plain understanding of the Scriptures, and desiring to draw people closer to Christ through God’s words in His Bible knowing that not everyone will agree with everything he says and not being too concerned about it. You never see him in the main stream news telling people how to vote or throwing his support to one candidate or another, marching down the street against abortion with his arm around a Catholic priest, or trying to have a “revival” meeting in the park across from the White House for the cameras. I heard him say things like “if you have to work a shift on Sunday morning don’t get too upset, you can come to church on Sunday night or Wednesday”, and “not my own children or any of my students believe everything I believe so I’m not a very good cult leader if you accuse me of running a cult”, “I may have to apologize to a bunch of people at the Judgment Seat of Christ. I doubt it, but I might have to”, and also “there is nothing more ridiculous looking than a woman trying to ride a horse in a ankle length dress or in a canoe that’s overturning. Use some common sense folks.” (I’m reciting those from memory so they aren’t perfect quotations.)
I have been disappointed to see that there are many in the pulpits across the land who have a personal agenda, who twist the Bible, and who desire to control the congregation for their own purpose, drawing them away from Christ and to that preacher. It is really apparent to me that there are a lot of Christians in America in positions of religious and political authority who, from a distance and hearing their professions of faith appear to be passionate Spirit filled Christians who want to turn the nation back to Christian values and principles but, upon closer examination have an agenda where they are using God for a purpose, like a broken piece of pottery covered with glittery trash draws you to it. They look and sound genuine from a distance but up close they don’t bear up to much scrutiny.
Burning professions of faith with a wicked heart are like a broken piece of pottery covered with silver dross. Look very closely at those people on TV, folks. Look very closely and compare what they say with the Bible’s clear admonitions to Christians. Don’t be deceived.