What good movie doesn’t have a plot twist that leads the viewer to a few different conclusions, to hold them in suspense until the end? But once you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens at the end. Still, a good movie is watched many times, for the enjoyment of watching the plot play out. As you watch repeatedly, don’t you notice things you missed before? Doesn’t that add to the enjoyment of watching it again, and make you feel closer to the characters, and even the writer? Same with a good book. Same with THE Good Book!
There’s a saying – “deception is so deceiving!” We don’t always know the orthodox understanding of scripture, and what is “men’s tradition” or straight up heresy. Today, good and evil are sometimes reversed, or evil is celebrated.
Sexual immorality is an area where the world has embraced what God warns against in the gathering of believers. Marrying outside our faith is another area we may decide to ignore God’s best “for love.”
But, what is the scriptural meaning of deception?
NT:4105: planao (plan-ah’-o); from NT:4106; to (properly, cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue): KJV – go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way.
Where did it start? Why? What is the purpose of deception? How do we weed it out of our lives, or avoid it in the first place? Where is the power we need to push it out and keep it out?
In the OT, there are many places where people were deceived. Let’s look at a few, and draw some conclusions.
Gen 3:4-7 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. NKJV
Joshua 9:3-6 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.”
Joshua 9:14-17 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. NKJV
All these leaders had regular, direct access to God, but counted on what others said, or didn’t say, as well as their own “wisdom and understanding” to make decisions. They were aware of a problem at hand, but moved forward into unknown territory without inquiring of God. It wasn’t their full intent to work against God and for themselves, (at least for Eve and Joshua) but they allowed good sounding words to deceive them. Humans in the garden only had to wait a bit before God came for his evening visit. Joshua just had to walk over to the tent of meeting and ask!
In both cases, the deceivers’ purposes were against God’s people, and to their own benefit above God’s plans.
There are examples in the NT of people either purposefully teaching heresy, or teaching out of ignorance, and those who would “ask forgiveness instead of permission.” Paul himself stated that he had sinned against God out of
ignorance. (1Tim 1:13) There is one great example of how Godly people can find help to avoid being taken in, and some really good words of guidance from our Lord and Savior.
Ac 17:10-13 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. NKJV
We all have a weapon of unbelievable power for our own protection, and for the welfare of those we love. It is God’s Word – our bible. To actualize this power in our lives, we have Holy Spirit. When we read, and become aware of a change needed in our lives, Holy Spirit will work with us – to guide and strengthen us for the journey. We are not left without direction, and we are not alone as we come against deception, or face hard choices – we have the body of Christ as a place to run for support, as well.
In Mark chapter 12, after religious leaders tried to trick Jesus or find fault in him several times, with many witnesses standing in the court listening, Jesus ended their intrigues that day. In doing this, He protected and informed the masses of people watching. His response guides us as we walk from being babes-in-the-faith to the end of our lives. Jesus crushed the enemies of God…once again. His years of study and prayer, then walk of wisdom and obedience, could not be broken down.
Mk 12:24-25 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. NLT
We’re not Jesus, it’s true. But we are to emulate Him as loving children, as best we can with the help of Holy Spirit as each occasion arises. When we fall, we are to get back up, not revel in sin or failure.
Where does our help come from? How do we formulate a Godly response to life’s questions and trials? We follow Christ, and do the opposite of the leaders we studied today.
June 10, 2021