[Papercut Press] 2004-07-05 - Lying Revisted

The Summer Question Series 2004 #5, Part 2

John 8:44, "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies."

Today I hope to tie up some loose ends left over from the Tuesday 6-29-04 devotional on lying. I got quite a few excellent responses, and I thought I would touch on some of the things asked, said, or observed in them. I will hit today on Abraham, Rahab, and the Hebrew midwives. In the Tuesday devotional, I really had two points in mind that I was using the topic to put forward. The first was that God is not the author of sin, and the second was that God will never put us in a situation where we have no other choice but to sin. I was thankful for the responses sent, because it tells me that you are considering things and taking them to the Bible instead of simply accepting them wholesale. Such behavior gives me encouragement for the church. It is, after all, how the Reformation began. We could use another Reformation today, and seeking the Scriptures is a great way to start.

Several of you wrote and noted the close relation that Abraham and Sarah had, not as husband and wife, but the closeness of their family relations by birth. It is interesting that I got three different responses to this. I got responses saying she was a cousin, half-sister, and full sister to Abraham. Putting that aside, I guess what I notice when I look at the passages is that the attempt was to deceive. The goal of Abraham in asking Sarah to say she was his sister was to deceive, regardless of their familial relation by birth. I think, that regardless of whether it was technically a lie or not, God knows the heart, and while we don't know Abraham's heart, it seems from the passage that Abraham was attempting to deceive in order to protect his own neck.

I had thought of Rahab and the spies, but that was not a part of the question. I don't think there is any doubt that she lied concerning hiding the spies. She said plainly that she did not know where they had gone, when they were hiding in the stacks of flax on her own roof. However, no where does the Bible record that she had to lie to save the spies. She could have said they were on the roof, and God would have worked out His purpose another way. The perplexing question is how we should view Rahab at this time. She was not an Israelite, and should we apply standards meant for Israel to her? I will let you answer that one for yourselves.

Concerning the midwives, I had not thought of them, but again they were not apart of the question. It seems to me that they were disobedient to the wishes of Pharaoh, but may or not have lied about it. They did let the newborn boys live, contrary to the order of Pharaoh, but their excuse was that the Hebrew women were more vigorous than Egyptian woman and would give birth before they could get there. Now we don't know the reason why they could not get there on time, but it could have been on purpose. They might have been cooking dinner, playing video games, or changing the oil on their donkey. Maybe there was a midwives' union and they instituted a work slowdown. We don't know, but it seems they were honest in saying that the woman gave birth before they got there, for whatever reason, and thus could not carry out the desires of Pharaoh.

However you view these things they are not matters of necessity in our faith and so it is really a matter of how you interpret and view Scripture. There are some nonnegotiables in the Christian faith that one must hold to be a Christian, but our particular views on this topic or these passages are not part of the essentials. In nonessentials we are to always be gracious to one another, and one of the real blessings in your responses to this devotional was how gracious your notes were. Thank you.

Again, I would stress that all the passages touched on in both these devotionals lend me to be more confirmed that God is not the author of sin and that He never places us in a position where our only option is to sin. The alternatives to sin might be distasteful or even painful to us, but sometimes in faithfulness to the Lord we have to make those difficult decisions.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com