The High Cost of Being Deceived
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Eph 5:5-7)
Does it surprise you that in the very beginning the greatest danger to our well-being with God was deception? And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1Tim 2:14). Is there anything as damaging or deadly as being deceived?
Somewhere in a public place I once picked up a worn magazine and my eyes fell upon the story of an American B-24 heavy bomber, Lady Be Good, that made a bombing run in North Africa against the German armies in WW2. It was a brand-new plane and was on its first mission. The plane had to drop behind the squadron in returning to base. The crew was uneasy about the skills of the navigator. He was keeping the pilot abreast of his calculations as they flew toward a radio beam that was supposed to lead them home.
But something was not right. The flight crew was looking at their watches and making their own calculations. They had been flying too long. They were still on course but found no markers for navigation. As they ran out of gas, the pilot set the plane down on the smooth desert in the dark and rolled to a stop. The plane was reported missing and dubbed “the ghost plane.”
In 1958, a low-flying plane piloted by a fighter pilot of WW2 by chance flew over the bomber and reported it. He could see that it was Lady Be Good and right away it got his attention. A few yards away an “SOS” message was clearly laid out with strips of parachutes on the undisturbed desert floor. A ground crew was dispatched to check out the plane.
It has been many years since I read the article, but I believe the pilot and perhaps the navigator were found alive and living with a tribe of nomad people who lived in a sunken oasis not far away. They had married into the tribe. They had no idea how to get home and no search planes showed up. They knew they were too far into the desert to make it out alive on foot. The other crew members, distrustful, set out on foot and apparently perished in the desert.
The plane had flown over the radio tower and the navigator assumed they had not yet reached the tower. The plane was to navigate from that radio tower to find their landing strip. They had deceived themselves and it cost the lives of most of the 9-11 crew members on board. Self-deception can be deadly. I would define self-deception as: “imposing an untruth upon oneself.” In the Bible, being deceived and pride most often go together. A proud man cannot see what he needs to see and he is subject to being deceived.
People in the Bible were often deceived and followed someone into sinning against God. Kings led their people into great sin and brought upon themselves foreign armies to sack their land and destroy their labors. Kings who allowed themselves to be deceived left thousands of the strongest men to be buried and their families reduced to poverty.
The Bible warns repeatedly against being deceived. Before going to the mountain to die, Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy as his last instructions to the nation of Israel. In warning the people, one of the first things out of his mouth was about being deceived.
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you. (Deu 11:16-17)
Nothing had changed since the Garden of Eden when Eve was deceived and bought into the lies of the devil. Moses got to the point: the pride of their heart would embolden them to act independent of God. Beware: it is the deceived heart that gives a proud heart the go-ahead with all manner of sin.
Paul warned: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Gal 6:7) Whatever the sin, there is the blinding deception that distorts reality. The deception lies in the belief that I can sin without any consequences…my sin won’t cost me anything.
Perhaps there is no greater area for this than the several forms of sexual sins that prevail in our society. Not only AIDS but several severe sexually transmitted diseases pounce on hundreds if not thousands of people every day in America. We have been in a sex-disease crisis for years now. AIDS is no joke and hard to bear. The other, age-old sex-related diseases that rot the flesh are a force to be reckoned with.
It's bad enough to be deceived by a merchant or employer or family member. But, deceiving ourselves may be worse. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? (Oba 1:3) I must include the comments by McGee about these people who lived in the city of Petra, the Edomites.
"The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee." What was it for which God hated Edom? It was pride. I am confident that, the minute I say this, the wind is taken out of the sails of many of my readers. They are going to say, "Is that all? Pride is bad, but it's not that bad, is it?"
“Would I surprise you if I told you that in the sight of God, pride is a much worse sin than getting drunk? Now the Bible does have a great deal to say about the sin of drunkenness. God condemns drunkenness. It contributed to the downfall of Israel, Babylon, the kingdom of Alexander the Great, and Rome.
“Pride is the sin of sins. It is one of the worst sins of all. It is something that Scripture condemns above everything. This is not all that God has to say about pride. God says that He resists the proud, but He is always on the side of the humble. "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (Pro_8:13). John tells us, "… the pride of life, is not of the Father …" (1Jn_2:16). Where does the pride of life come from? If there is anything that comes from the Devil, that is it.
“Pride, after all, was the sin of Satan. He said, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…. I will be like the most High" (see Isa_14:13-14). What is pride? Pride of heart is the attitude of a life that declares its ability to live without God.” (J. Vernon McGee)
The cost of being deceived by our pride is always great. It destroyed Babylon and its sister cities because it had resulted in the great sin of homosexuality until there was no remedy but to destroy them. If one truly wants to know the mind of God about this, simply read Genesis 19 and Romans chapter 1 and you will have the mind of God concerning it.
But, many people do not want to know the mind of God because they are lifted up in pride against Him and have decided to take the place of God. A proud person cannot be saved. The pride has to go! We are saved by the grace of God but the grace of God comes only to an humbled heart. …God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (Jas 4:6) The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psa 34:18) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 17, 2017 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. 2Kings 18-19 P.M. John 6:22-44
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Memory Verse This Month:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
Song for Today:
At Calvary(3:31) (Gaither Group)
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