Clay Center, Kansas – Are there occasions when we believe deceitful practices are ethical because we feel the ends justify it? Imagine having a great sense of personal conviction over something. There is a goal to be achieved, but there is an obstacle. It is something you cannot personally control, so you engage in careful thought about how to proceed. Things come to mind that involve trickery and evasive actions. After carefully weighing the options, you feel that because it is of utmost importance, the means of deception is fully justified.
Have you ever heard of the Gibeonites? They were an ancient people that lived at the same time as the Jews when they entered in to take possession of their promised land. It is a story of deception.
The Gibeonites heard about the exploits of the Jews, how their army was defeating one nation after another, conquering land after land by the power of the Lord God. In an attempt to save themselves, they engaged in a detailed scheme to deceive the Jewish leaders. The Gibeonites only lived a three-day journey from the Jews, but they portrayed themselves as living in a distant land. Their goal was to convince the Jews they lived far away, were no threat to them, then make a formal agreement where they would become the Jews servants, thereby protecting themselves from a military attack. Instead of achieving this through being truthful and coming to the Jews in surrender, they engaged in an elaborate scheme of deception.
God hates deception. It is a form of lying that produces division and distrust, while taking advantage of others for selfish gain. Deception relies upon self, rather than God. Instead of trusting and waiting upon Him, a deceiving person takes matters into their own hands without regard to God or others. It is evil and subject to the unbridled wrath of heaven wherever it may be found. God will show no partiality to deceivers. When the Gibeonites underhandedness came to light, Joshua questioned them, “Why did you deceive us?” (Joshua 9:22), then declared divine punishment, “Now therefore you are cursed . . .” (vs. 23)
Initially their deceptive plan worked because good men were deceived. The Jewish leaders questioned them carefully, yet neglected one important thing. They never prayed to the Lord their God who knows and reveals all truth. Instead, they foolishly relied on their own wisdom and gave way to the schemes of the Devil without even realizing it until later.
When a cunning deceiver confesses their lawlessness to God there is mercy. Additionally, when one who is deceived confesses their fault in believing a lie, there is mercy. God can redeem and restore what deception sought to destroy. Read the rest of the story about the Jews and Gibeonites from the Bible in Joshua 9-10.
We live in a world where trickery and deceit are found in the home, at the workplace, in the church, in government. Everywhere people are deceiving and being deceived. But praise God! Even though the deceitfulness of evil is a menace, Christ is King! Because He died and rose again, He is the victor! He will bring condemnation upon the deceptive but grace and mercy will abound for those who confess and repent of their evil. They will receive His promises of forgiveness, life and peace.
A prayer for you - “Lord God, examine our hearts and reveal if there be any deceitfulness. Have we engaged in any trickery to achieve a selfish end? God of all truth, also search us and reveal if we have been deceived by a cunning and crafty soul, that we might confess our neglect of seeking your counsel. Give us wisdom and discernment to live holy and godly lives in times like these. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Hope for Today is a nationally syndicated column. Please share your comment or question with Clint at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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