Posts Tagged deception

Washy, Washy

Psalm 36: 1 – 4                  God’s Word

There is an inspired truth about the wicked person
who has rebellion in the depths of his heart:
He is not terrified of God.
He flatters himself and does not hate or even recognize his guilt.
The words from his mouth are nothing but trouble and deception.
He has stopped doing what is wise and good.
He invents trouble while lying on his bed
and chooses to go the wrong direction.
He does not reject evil.

This is an interesting psalm. It is twelve verses long; the remaining verses are in tomorrow’s Word of the Day. It is a study in contrast, as you will see. Ultimately we observe the grace of God which saves us and praise God for that. These beginning verses are beyond sad. They speak of a tragedy. David wrote this psalm so recall to your mind who his audience was. He, as I, wrote to God’s children. His psalms are an expression of what his heart experienced with the people God chose as His own. This is the lens through which you should read this psalm and this Word of the Day. We are talking about God’s kids here, not the unsaved heathen of a savage land.

The beginning of this passage in the New American Standard Bible reads, “Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart.” In other words, the voice of transgression is the rebellion in the heart of the one who is not wearing his godly mantle. To be ungodly is just that. We have been reborn into the family of God. That makes us godly, “of God.” However, we don’t always behave as if we are “born of God.” Sometimes we appear to the world around us the same as any unsaved person. Why is this so?

Today’s devotional is not a call to behavioral modification. It is a call to nurture and heal our hearts so that transgression does not keep us bound by its deception. See that this person has “stopped doing what is wise and good.” He used to but now he has begun to listen to a voice which is misleading him. He has allowed his heart to be corrupted; contaminated. He listens to his own counsel which has become perverted so that he no longer even recognizes his guilt much less hates it. The Amplified version says, “For he flatters and deceives himself in his own eyes thinking that his sinfulness will not be discovered and hated [by God]” (v. 2). Do you see what is happening here? It is a very important point. God is telling us that we deceive ourselves. Our own words, the words we speak to ourselves convince us as to our course of action. Do you see why this is so tragic. You cannot rescue yourself. Your wisdom and your counsel can mislead you. That is why we need Jesus and his word. Christians experience this misleading everyday all over the world. Well intentioned people have allowed a little slippage here and a little there until they no longer even see their sin. It isn’t only denial. They have become blind to it. But there is hope. There is always hope. Jesus and Yahweh have remedied every problem we have.

Have you ever heard the expression, “washed in the Word?” That comes from Ephesians 5: 26. Jesus’ words are a cleansing river. They fill us and simply wash out the old. It is not a painful process. It is like soaking in a hot tub. Grace and mercy flow in; lies and deception flow out. You cannot stand in Jesus’ presence and lie to yourself. He is truth. Fear not, though, because truth sets you free. Truth isn’t painful. It is liberating. Jesus wishes to show you the way. He is the way. He didn’t come here to accuse us but rather to save us so refresh your hope. Be renewed in joy. The root of Jesse has come to restore you and give you hope for tomorrow and the day after that and on and on.

Obviously, the big secret is abiding in the Word, Jesus and the Father. It is in being intertwined with the savior. Within his abiding presence is a host of help and tools. Do not feel alone, do not be alone. Reach out to others. Let your heart hear the truth from the Word and also from your pastor and other Christian friends. Listen to some of the most anointed preachers in the world through free internet programming. A theology which grows in isolation is rarely a healthy one. We need to hear other voices speaking into our lives. You should not be your only adviser. Reach out to others who are in the Word and share your experiences with each other. They can benefit from your voice too!

Praise in Place of Fear

Isaiah 9: 2 – 4

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Thou shalt multiply the nation, thou shalt increase their gladness; they will be glad in Thy presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide spoil. For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor as at the battle of Midian.

Many people look upon the last days as days of darkness and they are afraid. Well, in truth, there will be great darkness and even now that is the case but the light prevails. I have read the end of the book as have you. We know how the story ends. Although there is great darkness in the world the light is even greater. Where darkness touches the earth, the light shall increase and shall disperse the dark for there cannot be darkness in the light. Do not fear days of darkness. Jesus is the light and He reigns!

Think of Paul walking on the Damascus road. Now there was a fellow who walked in darkness but behold, a great light came upon him and he was saved. There will be glory and praise in the lands of darkness because when the light comes there is no greater joy experienced by mankind. 

These people are under a yoke of deception and oppression but Jesus came to set all people free. There is liberty in Jesus and he is going to break the yoke off of their shoulders. Even today, people are getting set free all over the world even in dark countries.

We have a part in this great prophecy. First, we must not fear the dark. We should glory in the light rather than fear the dark. It is all about where our eyes are trained. If we are in fear rather than faith it simply means that we are looking at the wrong thing. Take your eyes off of the darkness and put them on the Son of light. Then your gladness will increase as the noonday sun. Secondly, pray for all peoples in all lands. There is great deception at work but the Son is the light and the truth. Where he is there can be no darkness and he breaks off the chains of lies. Third, there is great cause for celebration and praise. Glory in the Father of light. Shout His name and sing His praises for He is good and He has caused truth and light to be revealed in this earth. Glory to the Father!

Living Long

Psalm 55: 23

But Thou, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in Thee.

So, do you want to live a long life? Well, there is a hidden pearl of wisdom here. Men of deceit will not live out half their days. Ouch!! Now you see what is happening to the life span. Honesty has life in it. Deceit carries death with it. 

Deceit is interesting. I think of deceit primarily as not telling the truth but that really does not represent the thrust of the definition. According to the New American Heritage Dictionary deceit is misrepresentation, deception. It is characterized by trickiness and falseness. Deceitful means: Given to cheating or deceiving, misleading or deceptive. Some of the words associated with this idea are deceive, betray, mislead, beguile, delude, dupe, hoodwink, bamboozle, outwit, and double-cross. So what is the point? 

Deceit is not simply telling a lie. That is part of it, of course, but the greater part of deceit is to be intentionally misleading. One could tell a truth then, answer a question true technically and yet mislead the hearer. This deception is often seen in how we couch our facts. It is deceitful to represent the facts in a way which best paints the picture you want perceived when you know it is not really truthful. It is a twisting of the truth in order to mislead someone. This is a manipulation of the truth and of the person being addressed. It is reprehensible to God and will limit the number of days of the speaker. Just ponder this for a moment. We have all seen this and some of us even been guilty of it. We speak what is 10% true and leave out the other 90% of the truth because we do not like how it reflects on us or that it won’t bring about the desired result. I have watched people completely reframe an event in order to look guiltless. They will argue they did not lie because they spoke a bit of the truth but the reality is that in cloaking the greater part of the truth they are attempting to deceive someone. Now I want you to search your gut at this moment and see if you can tell how incensed this makes God. “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes seven which are an abomination to Him” (Proverb 6: 16). Out of the seven two are about not being truthful. This deceitfulness is right in the middle of all that God hates. I am guessing that is not where we want to hang out.

Jesus is truth. We are called to be the people of Jesus, therefore people of truth. It is a slap in God’s face when we mischaracterize something even it if is not a bald-face lie. In the eyes of our Father it is exactly the same thing. And why do people lie and deceive? In the end of things it is because they do not trust the Lord, their God. How much more can we insult God? Do you want to live a long and fruitful life? Be people of the truth.

Who is it?

Job 9: 24

If it is not he, then who is it?

You know the story of Job and of how great his suffering was. Job was a godly man so when calamity struck his house he was bewildered. The book of Job records conversations he had with his “friends”. In today’s passage Job is answering Bildad. He makes the assertion that so many Christians make which is essentially that God is the source of our trouble and misfortune.  

I was guilty of this myself. In my early years I, like everyone, suffered some hardships. My religious training had not taught me that there was a source of evil in the world. I remember saying to someone who was a Christian, “It must be God who is causing these bad things to happen to me.” It was a horrible thing to say to a believer but do you know what? He didn’t correct me. He didn’t explain to me how wrong I was and about the goodness and love of our God. Surely he believed in John 3: 16, who doesn’t? How, then, do we reconcile this God of love who gave everything to save us with the ideology of a God who inflicts pain and suffering? We cannot because the two are irreconcilable.

The devil has done quite a number on the church. He has reduced his image to that of a cute Halloween costume. He has shifted our understanding of him to fantasy and make believe. However, we have the means to learn and know the truth. James 1: 5 is the pronouncement of a major theme of the Bible, that being that the Lord, our God, gives us wisdom. The wisdom of God reveals all truth, so, the devil cannot hide in his lies when wisdom has come upon the scene. He is always exposed for the liar that he is.

When bad things happen, we need to understand that the devil is our enemy (1 Peter 5: 8). However, we can take comfort in knowing that our Lord has already defeated the enemy which means that we are no longer subject to the devil. We can overcome all of his machinations through the victory of Jesus. The first step, however, is in not being deceived that there is no devil or that our benevolent Father is the source of the bad things that happen in life. Believe me, when I thought that God was the source of trouble in my life I could not receive relief. It is only in our Father that we can triumph. 1 Corinthians 13: 8 says that love never fails. Well, here is an example of that non-failing force. Love always wins so we take the love of God, which is God’s very substance, and we apply it to the problem and love wins every time.

Your Father loves you more than you can imagine and He would never inflict harm on you. He only wants good for you and since He is love and goodness that is all that He has to give you. Give the devil his proper due and put him back under your feet where he belongs.