C’mon, ‘fess up ‘cuz we’ve all done it. Telling that little white lie or withholding just a piece of the story to make ourselves look better. Personally, I also tend toward mild exaggeration, but I suspect all of us at some point in our lives (except One) have had what my brother-in-law calls a “flexible sense of integrity”. Of course, the universality of it doesn’t excuse us, nor does the humor. It may help our cause, however, to recognize where all this untruthfulness boils up from…
Enter good King Hezekiah, good being a nuanced word, because he also had his moments. Nonetheless, he led God’s people with considerable integrity and loyalty, but now the people were in (yet another) real pickle. Jerusalem was being surrounded by the mighty king of Assyria, who had his eyes on putting God’s town on his own map. Interestingly, this enemy was not entirely ignorant of the Jewish condition. We overhear the conversation here:
“ But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the LORD our God!’ But isn’t He the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down His shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem? I’ll tell you what! Strike a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I will give you 2,000 horses if you can find that many men to ride on them! With your tiny army, how can you think of challenging even the weakest contingent of my master’s troops, even with the help of Egypt’s chariots and charioteers? What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the LORD’s direction? The LORD Himself told us, ‘Attack this land and destroy it! ‘ “
Check out some of Satan’s tactics when he speaks to us:
- Misinterpretation of circumstance (Hezekiah was actually obeying God to tear down the forbidden alters.)
- Trying to “strike a bargain” or compromise.
- Bribes, worldly, or even disguised as spiritual (as in, “think of the good we could do!”)
- Ridicule (to pull on our pride)
- Half-truth (yes, God was using this to discipline His own people, but not to this extent).
And here’s the Jewish people’s response:
“But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, ‘Do not answer him.’”
Hezekiah’s reaction is classic—tearing his clothes in grief, he immediately takes all of this to God, Who beautiful sorts it all out, as He is wont to do.
Next time I’m tempted to expand or contract the truth, may I remember where that comes from, since my Lord says that “Satan is a liar, and the father of lies.” And of equal importance is to always strain what I hear through a scriptural sieve.
‘Cuz everything else is just gonna burn.
Isaiah 36: 7-10, 21 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 30958-30978). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.’”