Flattery Toward God is a Serious Offense

Someone has said, “Flattery is like perfume. The idea is to smell it, not swallow it.” Another suggested, “Flattery is like counterfeit money which, but for vanity, would have no circulation.” Most of us would rather be hurt by flattery than helped by criticis … More


The writer states in this passage that the people flattered Him with their mouth, lied to Him with their tongue, had a heart that was not steadfast with Him, nor were they faithful in His covenant (vv. 36,37). The dictionary says flattery is to compliment insincerely. We flatter people because we want something from them. It is bad enough to flatter people but even more serious to flatter God.

How do we flatter God?

  1. When we praise Him but don’t mean it. An example is to stand in church and sing songs of praise with our lips when our minds and hearts are far from Him.
  2. When we make promises to Him that we don’t intend to keep. We yield to a certain temptation and promise God that we will never do that again but take no steps to prevent it.
  3. When we pray to Him but don’t really seek His will. It is so easy to go through routine prayers and make promises, but our hearts have no intention of following through.

Over and over the children of Israel claimed that they would follow God but they turned away from Him (vv. 32-44). So often the Israelites lied to Him. They brought sacrifices, hoping to buy God’s blessing. They went through the ritual and the routine of worship, hoping that somehow He would deliver them. In actuality we lie to God. To have a heart that is right with God means to be honest and open with Him. We must be sincere and not lying. We need to tell him just how we feel and exactly what we are going through. God wants us to walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:7), not trying to cover up or excuse our sins, but confessing them.


God wants me to be open and honest with Him and never flatter Him with dishonesty, insincerity or deception. The way to do this is to keep my heart clean by confessing my sins (I John 1:9) instead of trying to cover them.

Psalms 78:32-44 (English Standard Version)

In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe. So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror. When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe, when he performed his signs in Egypt and his marvels in the fields of Zoan. He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »