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Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Faith Based On Deception--Gen. 37:31-33

"So they took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, 'We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?' And he recognized it and said, 'It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.'" (Gen. 37:31-33 NKJV) 

As much as we might wish it to be otherwise faith is not always based on truth.  As human beings, we can come to believe a thing that is not true.  While this is distressing it is also a fact of life.  Jacob developed a strong faith that his son Joseph had perished based on the deception of his other sons who willfully deceived him.  His faith was not based on truth. 

Faith can be based on incorrect or misleading information, on misunderstanding, even on lies one mistakenly accepts, and yet it is so strong that one is firmly convinced that the error he believes is the absolute truth beyond doubt.  Faith can also be based on the evil of one’s own heart – bias or prejudice, for example, against a person or group.  Man can come to believe a lot of things for one reason or another that are not the truth.  There is such a thing as faith based on truth but also such a thing as faith based on that which is not true. 

Because of the evidence presented to him (misinformation), Jacob was certain his son Joseph was dead, killed as he said by "a wild beast". (Gen 37:33 NAS)  He was fed disinformation and with good reason, based on the information he was presented with, believed that which was false. 

Why would he disbelieve?  Did he not get his information from people he had complete trust in?  Every Christian ought to immediately perk his ears up when he thinks back on this account and take heed and learn from it.  We can be misled by the very people we have the utmost trust in.  In Jacob's case, it was deliberate but certainly one can also be misled by those who themselves sincerely believe error and propagate it. 

Another tragic example of faith based on a lie is that of the man of God who was lied to by a prophet of God and lost his life because he believed the lie (see 1 Kings 13).  If you cannot trust a prophet of God who can you trust?  So, again, the admonition is Christians beware.  The only thing you can trust is the word of God, not man.  

In the case of the first sin ever committed the Bible teaches that Eve was indeed deceived, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (Paul in 2 Cor. 11:3 NKJV)  So, a person can be honestly deceived.  One must understand that to believe error, as did Eve, is an exceedingly dangerous thing.  Eve learned the hard way.  There was no going back and doing it over again, no second chance, nor was there a second chance with the man of God in 1 Kings 13. 

This deception that leads to belief in error can be delivered by way of those who seem to be "ministers of righteousness." (2 Cor. 11:15 NKJV)  Paul says, "For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." (2 Cor. 11:14-15 NKJV) 

Satan quoted scripture to Jesus while tempting him after his baptism.  False teachers can quote scripture.  We today are gullible.  We believe about anything that is called Christian, whether in doctrine or works, is God approved.  We just accept it and go on and assume it is fine with God and in accord with New Testament teaching.  We need to keep alert. 

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1 NKJV)

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