Deception is a technique employed by the military on occasion to help win campaigns or to influence the battlefield so that the enemy is confused as to our real intent. In the battle of Normandy in World War II, a large deception campaign was orchestrated which utilized fake machinery, misleading radio traffic and a mock buildup of troops to confuse the Germans as to the real landing sites where the allied forces would land in France. Throughout many wars, psychological operations have played a key role in helping influence the enemy and the population of a country where forces operate. For four years I served in a Psychological Operations Company—part of the Army Reserves that works tactically and operationally.
Jeremiah 9:6—You live in a world of deception. In their deception they refuse to know Me. This is the LORD’s declaration.
Deception is nothing new. The prophet Jeremiah, speaking for the Lord, challenged his own people, the Israelites, with the reality that they were deceiving each other on a regular basis by spreading slander, betrayal, speaking lies and doing wrong. What brought a people whose history was rich with the active hand of a loving Father to a place of sham?
First, they collectively had poor eyesight. When God liberated them from Egypt and took them towards Canaan, they continually looked back with a myopic lust for their former condition. As landowners in the Promised Land, they could not take their eyes off the practices of their enemies—they rejected God’s leadership so as to have their own king (see 1 Samuel 8:4-8). Their eyes constantly focused on their surroundings and not their Leader.
Second, they had hard hearts. Consistently, Israel gave up God’s gold for fools’ gold. He gave them His Word; they preferred the laws of their neighbors. He asked for their loyalty, they chose to lust after manmade idols. He demanded their obedience; they chose to do whatever they pleased. They were ripe for deception because they disdained His truth.
We judge them as a foolish people but in truth are we much different? We say God is our first cause but are our priorities really fashioned after possessions, feeding our amusements or building whatever suits our needs? Do we make worship into a Sunday gathering structured and formatted into a controlled segment while our weeks are mostly devoid of God? Do we claim to be followers of Christ yet are too embarrassed to tell our neighbors and coworkers about Him for fear we might be ridiculed or misunderstood? Do we give the appearance that all is fine when in reality we wonder where God is and if He really loves us? If so, deception has as firm a grip on us as it did them.
Lest we think that we would never compromise our integrity, consider this. We live in an age of deception. Increasingly, our media, our courts and our leaders redefine what we once knew to be true as now untrue. Institutions such as marriage and family are under constant attack by those committed to their undoing. Men revise history to suit present values. Sexual perversion is made out to be a civil right. Adherence to moral principles is labeled fanaticism. Those who speak according to their convictions are called haters. Those who point out misconduct are labeled racist or intolerant. A daily, steady assault persists to label good as evil and evil as good. This is nothing more than a psychological campaign led by Satan himself—that great hater of Truth and master of deception. He started his first lie in the Garden of Eden and he shows no signs of slowing down.
God promised Jeremiah that the Israelites would be soundly tested and punished for giving in to deception. “Should I not punish them for these things? This is the LORD’s declaration. Should I not take My revenge against a nation such as this?”(Jer. 9:9). He will do the same soon to our nation. He will not idly condone illicit behavior and corrupted truth. If we are to be God’s people, we must repent of all that violates His law and pursue His clearly communicated truth. To do anything less is to live a lie and that is not worth the consequences.
Our critical faculties are given us for the purpose of self-examination, and the way to examine ourselves under the control of the Spirit of God is to ask ourselves—“Am I less sensitive than I used to be to the indications of God’s will, less sensitive regarding purity, uprightness, goodness, honesty and truth?”—Oswald Chambers in Our Brilliant Heritage
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)