Liar, liar, pants on fire (#2)

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Did you know that middle school kids lie?  Now I realize that may be an astounding revelation to some, so don’t choke on your Coke.  One of the wonderful teachers I’ve worked with for years cracks me up; she encourages the kids to “come up with something better than THAT” when they feed her an obvious falsification about why they don’t have their homework.  (She’s been around a while…)

Of course, kids aren’t the only ones skilled in what my brother-in-law refers to as “a flexible sense of integrity.”  For example—

The story of Hezekiah is fascinating.  Here the king of the formidable Assyrian nation comes knocking on Judah’s door demanding submission, or else.  Reading the accusations, there are several things the Assyrian head of state gets wrong:

  1. He says that the God of the Hebrews Himself told him to attack and subdue Judah, (2 Kings 18:25). Okay, that’s been done before so the idea isn’t completely foreign; however…,
  2. In the paragraph preceding that part of his tirade, he asserts that Yahweh is pretty ticked off with Hezekiah for destroying all the other alters of worship expect the one in Jerusalem, (2 Kings 18:22).   Guess the king of Assyria hadn’t done his background homework, because those other alters were one of the very things that made God quite upset with His people, and tearing them down was a definite plus in the Jews’ ledger sheet.
  3. Then this would-be tourist proceeds to lump Yahweh into the list of “all the other gods” who were unable to stand before the mighty Assyrian nation, (2 Kings 18:33-35). That was certainly an epic fail.  Not only was this a colossal insult, but also an incongruity in his argument—why would God tell the Assyrians to destroy His people if He couldn’t Himself stand up to the instrument of His own choosing?

There’s more to be gleaned from this account of Hezekiah’s dealings with Assyria, but here’s one of the points worth mentioning:

lies
Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/tsandwick/realies/

Liars have to keep lying, and generally someone is going to catch their slip, whether it’s a gap in logically reasoning, a contradiction, whatever.  You have to have a certain level of talent to deceive consistently, (granted, there are quite a few talented people around today.) 

Satan, however, is the best, as he has been at it quite some time now with amazing proficiency.

“When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

And his lies are not merely to inconvenience, but like the king of Assyria, Satan has much bolder plans—

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”

Satan’s lies are aimed at the heart, the very place God says we are to guard since “the wellsprings of life” come from that very spiritual place. And what is at the heart of every Christian, but our intimacy with our Father Himself?  Satan will try every which way to convince us that we are rejected by God, not accepted into the family of God, or at the very best, a doormat for the more “important” saints.  Or that God, Himself, is mad at us. 

The list goes on, but eventually his logic does break down, because it’s no match for the Cross. 

Or as Wally Fry puts it so well at Truth in Palmyra:

satan liar

“Don’t let Satan set the ground rules”

John 8:44; John10:10  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Fat Lady Wasn’t Singin’ Yet

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

I remember sitting in a school-age Bible class many (and I mean many) years ago learning about this king named Solomon, about all the neat things he did, about how he loved and followed God like his father King David had done, etc, etc.  Neat story, until the teacher told us about how Solomon turned away from God later in life. ..my reaction was something like “What!? No!!”  I was truly disappointed (being the sucker for happy endings that I was and still am).   To put it bluntly, Old Sol liked the ladies—a lot of them.  And as if that didn’t make things complicated enough (which it always does, let’s get real) he started liking non-Israelites also, adding them to his burgeoning harem.

The text goes like this:

“In Solomon’s old age, they TURNED HIS HEART to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the LORD his God, as his father, David, had been…   In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the LORD’s sight; he REFUSED to follow the LORD completely, as his father, David, had done.  On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites.   Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.  The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, WHO HAD APPEARED TO HIM TWICE.   He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD’s command.”

Solomon’s story might not have been so upsetting to this little school girl sitting in Bible class if he had been able to “guard his heart” by—

  1. …being discriminating in his close relationships. I’m to love all people as Christ does, but that doesn’t mean they all get the same place of influence in my life.
  2. …whole-hearted devotion to Jesus. That relationship comes first, without which all other relationships never reach their full potential at best, and skew me off course at worst.  And, importantly, this devotion is a choice that I make, every day and in every circumstance.
  3. …remembering and respecting his past experiences with God while at the same time pursuing fresh encounters in that relationship. Relying on the past alone is not enough.  Guarding the heart includes keeping current in our face time with the Lord AND (as uncomfortable as it can be at times, admittedly), with His people.

Thanks for readin’! —dawnlizjones

*1 Kings 11:4, 6-9Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt) (Kindle Locations 19279-19288). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.