Escaping The Devil’s Deception

“Not only does he choose when he will tempt, satan also chooses the best methods for displaying his temptations. One strategy is to hang out false colors. He comes up to the Christian disguised as a friend, so that the gates are open to him before his true identity is discovered. Paul says we should not be shocked to find false teachers masquerading as apostles of Christ, ‘…satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). Of all his plots, this is perhaps the most dangerous to the saints; when he appears in the mantle of a prophet and silver-plates his corroded tongue with fair-sounding language. In this manner he corrupts some in their judgment by interpreting gospel truth in such a way that God appears to condone questionable behavior. These Christians get caught up in the world’s morality under the guise of Christian liberty. … How we need to study the Scriptures, our hearts, and satan’s wiles, that we may not bid this enemy welcome and all the while think it is Christ who is our guest!” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor (emphasis mine) 

Are You A Thief?

Don't Be A ThiefThere are different kinds of thieves. There’s the one that acknowledges, “I’m a thief. I take things that don’t belong to me. I use cunning and skill, and force if I need to.” Then there’s the one who steals quietly without ever realizing he’s stealing.

In the Ten Commandments when God says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15), guess what type of thief He’s talking about? It’s not the brazen, bold thief, but the one who may not even realize he’s stealing.

The Hebrew word for steal means move by stealth, take something secretly, or deceive someone. How can we steal?

All of these are subtle, stealthy, secretive ways of robbing someone of time, ideas, value, interest, credit, or even actual possessions!

So here are 4 ways to avoid becoming an thief:

  1. Learn to be content with what you have—Philippians 4:12-13.
  2. Don’t let worry rule your life—Matthew 6:25-34.
  3. Work hard for your employer or employees—Ephesians 6:5-9.
  4. If you have stolen, make full restitution as quickly as possible—Luke 19:8.

Every one of the Ten Commandments are broken in our hearts long before they are worked out in our bodies. So listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you to make sure you are not a sneaky thief!

If you are in the Cedar Springs area, I’d love for you to join me next Sunday as we continue this series called The Love In The Law.

One Of The Most Unusual Stories

There is one of the most unusual stories inserted in Genesis 38. I say “inserted” because it almost seems out of place. In chapter 37, Joseph’s brothers have just sold him into slavery and convinced their Dad that a wild animal killed him. In chapter 39, we pick up Joseph’s story again as he arrives in Egypt.

Genesis 38 has a story that doesn’t fit in Joseph’s story. It’s sort of a giant parenthesis. Not only that, it’s a story of mistake after error after mess up after bad judgment after more mistakes.

Judah, an older brother of Joseph, came up with the idea of selling him instead of killing him. Perhaps being around his co-conspirators was too difficult for him, so Judah left town.

  • Mistake #1: not dealing with his guilt and sin, but running away from it.

Judah married a Canaanite woman.

  • Mistake #2: inter-marrying with a non-God-fearing culture.

Judah gave his son Er in marriage to Tamar.

  • Mistake #3: allowing his son to inter-marry with the Canaanites too.

Er sinned. The Bible doesn’t say what it was, but it was so offensive that God put him to death.

  • Mistake #4: sin against God.

Onan (Judah’s second son) sinned. He had a familial responsibility to his brother and sister-in-law’s family line, but he snubbed them both.

  • Mistake #5: more sin against God.
  • Mistake #6: disregard for family.

Judah promised Shelah (his third son) to Tamar. But he procrastinated in following through on that because he thought Tamar was a black widow.

  • Mistake #7: deception.

Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and waited along the road for Judah.

  • Mistake #8: more deception.

Judah slept with his daughter-in-law Tamar (yuck!), thinking she was a prostitute.

  • Mistake #9: fornication.
  • Mistake #10: incest.

Tamar became pregnant, and Judah wanted to have her publically punished for her infidelity.

  • Mistake #11: hypocrisy.

That’s a whole lot of sin and error and lapses in judgment and mistakes for just one family. What a mess this family had become! So, why in the world is this story inserted here? Because Tamar had twins: Perez and Zerah. In listing the royal, kingly genealogy of Jesus, Matthew writes

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar.

Perez is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. God took all of those mistakes and made something great come from it!

It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made. It doesn’t matter how many times you think you’ve blown it. It doesn’t matter how many lapses in judgment you’ve had. God still has a plan for you. He wants to do something great through you. Will you let Him?

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