READ: Psalm 120, Haggai 1, Matthew 2, 1 Thessalonians 5


The psalmist is not very impressed with the sons of Kedar: “Woe to me, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar” (Psalm 120:5). The psalmist has asked the Lord to deliver his soul from lying lips and deceitful tongues (v. 2), and it is in this context he bemoans living among the proto-Arabs. Kedar is evidently the father of the Arab peoples, and Kedar’s sons don’t appear to have a very strong track record of telling the truth or living in the light. It is unfair and bigoted to label a certain people as more prone to lying than others, for we all have the tendency to deceive, as the Psalmist himself asks the Lord to “remove from me the way of lying” (119:29). At the same time, in Arab culture, honor is supreme and if a lie preserves honor, then it is used.

What Lies Within. Deep within every human and emanating out, hovering near our surface, is deception. We cannot delude ourselves that we are immune to lying or that we are intrinsically truthful. I am bent to deception. I may not present myself (in word or deed) as blatantly different to what is true about me, but I continually (as much by what is unsaid as what is said, undone as what is done) present myself as better or worse than I am. Misdirection is untruth and followers of Jesus are incredibly skilled at insinuating we are better than others or that others are worse than ourselves. Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they are “sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night or the darkness” (1 Thess. 5:5). God’s intention is that we are sanctified completely and preserved blamelessly (v. 23), and He promises that He who called us to absolute truth and light is faithful and will also do it (v. 24). We must be ruthless about what is false within us, we must be relentless that what lies within is exposed and straightened. What lies within must be truth. 

What Lies Without. Deception is the order of the day in our world and is no respecter of cultures. There are as many lies in secular humanist societies as there are in Islamic, Hindu, Animist, or Buddhist ones. Because we live in a world that is increasingly less truthful, it is of urgent importance that we live and walk in truth. Truth is essential in ministry, vitally so in Muslim lands and other contexts that do not allow overt evangelism. We cannot combat the great lies about Jesus if our methodology or identity is deceptive. We cannot pretend to be something we are not or pretend to not be who we are. Disciples of Jesus are gospel proclaimers. We cannot allow the lies we are surrounded by to woo us into deceptive behavior, methods, or speech. Sons and daughters of light are addicted to truth. Truth will ultimately cost us greatly but also reward us deeply. Only truthful sons and daughters can truly represent the Father.

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