One explanation for the origin of the “Liar, liar pants on fire” rhyme involves the curiosity of a young country boy who stole a cigar from his daddy’s smokebox and hid in the tool shed to secretly mimic his father. After the boy lit the cigar, his dad smelled the potent smoke and followed its trail over crunchy leaves to the tool shed.
When the lad heard his father’s footsteps, he snuffed the burning cigar as best he could and stuffed it into his back pants pocket. The father opened the shed door and barked at his son, to tell the truth about what he’d done. The youngster feigned innocence, saying he was looking for a hook to go fishing with a friend at a promising fishing spot nearby. The cigar in his pocket suddenly sparked into flame. The father spotted the smoke and yelled, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” Then he swiftly turned the boy over his knee and whacked his behind, extinguishing the danger.
Part of David’s prayer of repentance.
Psalm 51:6 “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
It is so easy to lie to ourselves. It is so easy to deceive ourselves.
David had a special relationship with God throughout his life, starting in his youth. He experienced many victories. David killed the bear, the lion and the giant. Israel was at its greatest under David’s kingship.
David was a man after God’s own heart. Yet, David was a liar.
Through each downward step David took with Bathsheba, he thought he would be okay. David looked okay but he wasn’t. Nothing changed on the outside. He still had his ministry. He still had his position. He still had his family. He still had his home. He still had all his possessions. He had seemingly lost nothing.
He looked okay. But he wasn’t.
At any point along the way, David could have caught himself and reversed course, confessed his sin, but he didn’t. He kept getting deeper and deeper. He lied to himself again and again.
I’m thankful David was a liar and that his story is recorded in the Bible. I’m also thankful for the record of the steps David took after he was faced with the culmination of his lies as recorded.
That gives me hope. That should give you hope.
David was so comfortable with his lie he didn’t have a clue what was coming when the preaching walked into his world.
After David’s angry reaction to Nathan’s story, the preacher pointed his finger at David and said, “You are the one guilty of this deed.”
David was now at another crossroad. Does he continue faking it? Does he continue covering up? Does he continue lying to himself?
This time he did not. This time David presents us with a solid pattern of opening ourselves wide before God as Psalm 51 records for our benefit.
To be honest with God and others, we must first be honest with ourselves. Being honest with yourself will help keep your pants from the fire as well.
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