Bible in a Year – Day 114: Liar, Liar
Jehu’s deception of the followers of Baal is an interesting read. In fact, the entire episode of Jehu’s rise to power reads more like a modern novel or movie script than an ancient religious text. But this one meeting of all of the followers of Baal is unique. Here, an appointed servant of God is intentionally deceiving (and then murdering) an entire group of people.
Ethical and moral questions abound. Was it right for Jehu to lie and murder these people? Was this truly God’s will? If so, are there applications for us? I mean, hopefully you’re not planning to go out and kill anyone (I’m definitely not condoning that!) but are there situations in which it is OK to lie in order to advance God’s cause?
The neat and tidy answer – the one with the cute little bow on top – would be, “No, there is no need to lie. You must always be truthful and trust that God will make a way.” Well, George Washington, that logic works if you chopped down a cherry tree and are facing parental discipline, but what about when the stakes are a little higher?
What if you’re smuggling Bibles into a country where they are illegal? If somebody asks you if you are bringing anything illegal into the country, what do you say? How about if you are leading a house church in a country where church gatherings have been banned. If your neighbor (or the authorities) ask you who has been visiting your house, do you spill the beans?
For those who are living in these realities every day, the story of Jehu can actually be a source of comfort. When we read the books of the law in the Old Testament, including the 10 Commandments, the number one law that should govern our actions is to honor and serve God. Deception and even outright lying has been a tool used by God’s followers (and sanctioned by him) since the beginning of time.
Even God’s grand plan to save humanity in the form of Jesus relied on deception in order to work. A form of God who looked like a mere human was placed on this earth and only a few were let in on the rouse. Even the great deceiver himself, Satan, was fooled into believing that he had won when Jesus was crucified. It was all a big con.
And so, though most of us will rarely, if ever, have a justifiable reason to lie, there are certainly those times when it is appropriate – when in direct obedience to God’s wishes. So, the next time you tell you’re kids “It’s never OK to lie,” just remember that at a security checkpoint half way around the world, there might be a “Bible mule” who disagrees with that moral lesson.
- TED Talk Tuesday: A Kenyan Boy Who Battles Lions
- TED Talk Tuesday: The Future of Lying
- TED Talk Tuesday: Shut Up and Listen!
- Bible in a Year – Day 289: Gadarenes Part 2
- Bible in a Year – Day 245: Putting Words in God’s Mouth
- Bible in a Year – Day 226: A Long Post About Murder
- Bible in a Year – Day 174: A Change of Tone
- Bible in a Year – Day 118: What if We’re Wrong?
- Bible in a Year – Day 109: Unbearable Right-ness of Being
- Bible in a Year – Day 98: Like Father, Like Son