AN AMAZING FACT: With eight tight hairpin turns down a 27 percent grade, Lombard Street in San Francisco has been dubbed the most crooked street in the world.
Maybe you’ve driven down the red-bricked Lombard Street when touring the City by the Bay. It’s kind of fun to travel down the one-block section famous for it corkscrew turns. Carl Henry, a property owner, first suggested adding switchbacks to deal with the quarter mile section that was much too steep for most automobiles at the time. That happened in 1922. Even walking up this hill is tough on most people.
Our text for this morning contrasts righteous speech with talk that is perverse or “crooked.” The King James uses the word “froward,” which means to be habitually disposed to disobedience. Good speech is honest and straightforward. People whose mouths speak unrighteous words are perverse. What they say is winding and shaped more like a slithering snake. That matches Satan, whom Jesus calls the father of lies (John 8:44). His first conversation with Eve was definitely crooked!
This reminds me of the time Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, went to visit Ahab, king of Israel, to discuss attacking Ramoth Gilead. When Ahab called upon 400 prophets to give him advice, they all said, “Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king” (1 Kings 22:6). But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him” (v. 7). Ahab said there was one man, Micaiah, but he hated listening to him because this prophet spoke the truth.
Straight talk has never been popular. It put Jeremiah in prison and cost John the Baptist his head. On multiple occasions, the apostle Paul was beaten for speaking the truth. And most of all, honesty led Jesus to be nailed to a cross for our sins. All Christ’s words were true. The reason a river is crooked is because it follows the path of least resistance. This is why some lives are also crooked. The path of the righteous might not always be easy, but it is straight. The way to heaven is through Jesus. When we speak with unswerving faith in the Lord, we will reach our destination—heaven!
Additional reading: Proverbs 8:1–21
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Proverbs 8:8-9