The Dangers of Deception – Proverbs 26:18-19

Satan Is The Father Of All Liars And Deceivers

18 Like a maniac shooting
flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”

Just Joking

Have you ever been angered at what someone did, and their response was, “I was only joking!”  The good news is that this isn’t a new phenomenon – this has been going on for millennia!  The phrase “I was only joking!” is born out of the inspiration of the one who instigated the situation in the first place.  It is born out of desperation to justify the actions in the mind of the person responsible, as well as an attempt to pacify the anger in the intended recipient of the actions.  It is little consolation for the pain, heartache, and anger that result from the damaging situation that has just occurred.

Dangerous Deception

No one likes to be deceived.  There is an inherent desire in each human being to know the truth, and be told the truth.  Even when society and culture places snares all around us with the false promise of “happiness”, the moment that people take the bait and compromise themselves, the very people who placed the snares are the very first to point the finger and impugn their victim’s character, applying labels to destroy their reputations.  The motivations for doing this are many, too many to discuss here.  Some of the more obvious and insidious motivations are that people are looking for salacious headlines, they are trying to destroy a political opponent, or possibly even are out for revenge in vengeance.

Deception is very dangerous.  When discovered, it breaks the bonds of trust that we share with each other.  It makes it harder to develop trust with others in the future.  It sets up a stage where the economic potential of people can be adversely affected.  Deception undermines the unwritten rules of societal interaction.  And the very act of deception is born from a self-serving desire to manipulate the circumstances of others in order to gain a more favorable advantage in those circumstances.

While there are some people who actually receive great pleasure from the ability to deceive and rejoice in the consequences that others find themselves when they believe the lie, most people in their core feel shame once they have deceived another.  The writer of this Proverb likens the person deceiving as a maniac who randomly shoots flaming arrows of death.  That is a powerful word picture!  Only a maniac would shoot arrows, let alone flaming arrows of death, randomly into a crowd.  Deception affects more than just the person or persons who are the intended target; it affects the lives of everyone around them, and potentially, the lives of people who the targets will interact with in the future.  Deception does not only change the circumstances of the victims, but also of the perpetrator.

Satanic Source

Do not be deceived: it is Satan who is the father of all who lie and deceive:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Deception is the application of the art of historical revisionism, i.e., lying.  There are many forms of deception:

  • The exclusion of facts necessary to make a good judgment concerning a situation and that falsely and adversely affect the true nature of the situation
  • The alteration of existing facts to fit a particular narrative so that it favors a particular person, entity, or cause
  • The fabrication of information that does not have any basis in fact whatsoever
  • The promotion of an alternative “truth” to salve our own conscience – the art justifying our actions

There are many more ways to deceive.  The Bible says that we are so evil, we invent new ways to sin.  And when the scholarly and lawyer-like ones among us look at a list, sometimes our very first inclination is to look for loopholes in the wording to see if there is a way we can get away with it and still adhere to the letter of law while murdering the spirit of the law.  And in even that, the Bible proves true when it states:

10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Eventual End

The eventual end of deception is that we obscure the truth, and in doing so, reap the rewards of what we have sown.  Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  He is the embodiment of truth, and in truth, there is no deception.  Truth sheds light on all that is evil, wrong, wicked, and deceptive.  The continued practice of deception will eventually cause us to have a seared conscience – a state where we are no longer able to recognize that some action we are taking is evil.  Those who lie and deceive do not have the truth in them, and they will eventually face judgment before the white throne seat of God.

But thanks be to God in Jesus Christ!  For He has overcome, and in His very public death, burial, and resurrection, through a perfect life, died for our sins so that we could be reconciled to the Father.  If you are caught in deception or deceptive practices, turn to God, confess your sin, and seek the help of The Lord God Almighty who does not desire that anyone perish, for Jesus has been sent to pay our penalty for sin.  Turn to the One who can save you, forgive you, redeem you, and change you through His great and mighty Spirit.

While there is breath, there is hope.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I engaging in deceit in any of my dealings with others, or even myself?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are holy, and no sin will be permitted in Your presence.  Even now, we cannot look upon Your face, for we would surely perish if we did.  Thank You for Your love, grace, and mercy that You pour out into my life each and every day.  I know that I don’t deserve it, but I am grateful for it.  Show me, Father, where there is deception in my life.  Forgive me for my sin, and help me to do what is right in Your eyes.  Restore my conscience to a sensitive level, that I would know immediately when I am in danger of sinning against You.  Give me joy instead of sorrow, and help me to live in truth rather than the bondage of lies.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Combat Training with God – 1 Timothy 4:1-5

Not Everyone Who Claims To Be Of God Truly Is

1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Deceived by Demons

It would appear that many today have abandoned their faith to listen to the teaching of demons.  They seek to enslave the people of God by placing restrictions upon them that are not required of God, and thus leading them into bondage.  This does not bode well for the people of God, who are looking for good shepherds who will protect, feed, and care for the flock.  Great care and discernment must be used to recognize the dangers of allowing leaven to be introduced to the bread.  We must remember that a little leaven will affect the whole lump of dough, causing every part of it to be infected and affected.

Lauded by Liars

These individuals who are wreaking havoc among God’s people are those who refuse to love the truth, and so have been given over to a great delusion so that they would believe the lie.  They themselves become very skilled liars, seeking to deceive any that they can.  Lies become their trade, and they perfect their craft using their skills to get dishonest gain.  Scripture says that their consciences are seared as though they have been burned by a red-hot iron.  What could drive a person to such a place?  The only conclusion is that they never did know who God was, and therefore could never really trust Him to be alongside them in their trials and difficulties.

Powerful Prohibitions

Some of the prohibitions listed by Paul are reminiscent of the ones that we have read about in cults.  Several of the more recent cults have forbidden men and women to marry.  Only the leader of the cult can marry women and have relations with them.  These cults have a tendency to fall apart.  Nevertheless the damage is already done.  Additionally, they restrict the types of food that people can eat and beverages people can drink.  Everything that God has created is good for consumption (with some exceptions that could kill or hurt us).

God’s Goodness

When God created the Earth and everything in it, He declared that it was good.  It was the fall of Adam that brought the curse of sin, and the sacrifice of Jesus as a man hung on a tree and declared to be cursed to break the power of the curse of sin.  Now, everything is good again. People can now live their lives with the power of sin broken in ways that will honor and glorify God through submission to the Holy Spirit.

Paul has said that all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.  It is up to the children of Almighty God to have discernment in choosing the things that are profitable rather than the things which are merely lawful.  Either way, all of these things have been declared by God to be good.  We need not worry about what we put into our mouths.  For it is what comes out of our mouths that defiles us.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I being a Berean and vetting what I hear from people against scripture before believing it?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Your Son Jesus Christ was sent to us to free us from the bondage of sin.  Help me to have a wise and discerning spirit so that I will not become entrapped by sin and the teachings of demons into a state of bondage ever again.  Guide me to Your word every time someone tells me something, and especially when it does not sound right.  Give me a heart of wisdom and may I seek You and Your counsel to verify all that I hear before I believe it.  Give the will, the time, and the ability to research these things so that I can be firmly convinced in my heart that what I hear from people who claim to be from You are truly from You and speaking Your truth.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Truth of God – John 14:6

Truth and Lies Cannot Commingle

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Lethal Lies

Jesus declared Himself to be The Truth.  It is not just a state of being; it is a title:

  • the way (Greek hE hodos)
  • the truth (Greek hE alEtheia)
  • the life (Greek hE zOE)

In each of these, the word translated “the” is meant to signify a specific item, rather than a general item (such as, “a [one of many] way[s]”, “a truth”, “a life”. etc.).  This was done by the Apostle John to illustrate a specific truth – that Jesus, being God, embodies these specific characteristics that no other person can claim – they are singularly His.

In contrast to these, Jesus clarified that anyone who does not belong to God the Father belongs to the devil:

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Historical Revisionism (a.k.a., untruthfulness) distorts reality and not only detracts from the image of God (for we bear the image of God, being created in His image), but is now associated with murder!  Jesus links these two together here and makes an implied statement – Truth leads to life, and Lies lead to death (the murder of [The] Truth)!

Walk in the Way

Jesus, providing direction for any who would be His disciples, provided this very specific direction:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

As a three point direction, this is most interesting:

  • deny yourself (Greek aparnEsasthO heauton, an imperative command – Renounce [Die to] Yourself!) – An act of death to self and being made alive in Christ (“I am The Life”)
  • take up your cross (Greek aratO ton stauron autou, an imperative command – Take up the cross of you!) – Bear up under the burdens of sanctification (trials and tribulations – be an image-bearer of The Truth through hardship – “I am The Truth”)
  • follow me (Greek akoloutheitO moi, an imperative command – Follow me!) – akoloutheitO means to walk alongside, shoulder to shoulder, step for step, in harmony with the other person (“I am The Way”)

Failure to Follow

When we akolouthei Christ, we demonstrate to the the world that The Lord Jesus Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life.  The Full Armor of God starts with the Belt of Truth.  In the Roman Soldier’s armor, the belt held everything together.  In the same way, Truth holds everything together.  When we fail to walk in truth, EVERYTHING falls apart…

The Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask the question – Am I walking in The Truth?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have provided us Your Son as our guide and example, for Jesus has said that if we have seen Him, we have seen You.  You are beautiful beyond description, and being in Your presence fills me with awe.  Examine and try me, and see if there is any wrongdoing in me.  Purge me of anything that does not conform to the image of Your Son, that I may walk in Truth and Righteousness.  Help me, Father, to be a better image bearer of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that all the world would see You on display when they look at me.  Help me to discard anything in my life that would even have the appearance of evil, that no one may claim that You are evil.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?