Thursday, May 14, 2009

Go Ahead...Tell a Lie

Last Sunday we introduced our Chick Flicks of the Bible message series as we took a look at the Old Testament woman, Rahab, a Canaanite who was an idolater and a prostitute in the city of Jericho. Joshua had sent two spies across the Jordan River from where Israel was encamped to infiltrate the city of Jericho to gather intelligence. These two spies found their way to Rahab’s house.

As Joshua chapter two continues, we discover that somehow these spies are detected by the King of Jericho who sends men to Rahab’s house to arrest the spies. Rahab somehow finds out that the spies had been detected and, taking her very life into her hands, she hides the spies on her roof. Roofs of that day would have been flat (see 2 Samuel 11:2; 16:22). Rahab used stalks of a plant called flax in order to conceal the spies. These stalks (whose fibers were used to make linen) were three to four feet long and would have been previously soaked in water and laid on the roof in order to dry

But not only does Rahab hide the spies, she also lies to the King’s men regarding the spies. She admits that the spies had been there but she tells them that the spies had left before nightfall and the closing of the city gates. This implied that the spies had already left the city. Rahab emphatically states that that she didn’t know where they had gone and she encourages the king’s men to pursue the spies east toward the Jordan River. The men believe Rahab and set out on a wild goose chase.

I have read many views that argue that when you examine Rahab’s motives and the situation involved, her words really weren’t a lie. I disagree. Rahab specifically told these men that the two spies had left her house when she herself had hid them on her roof. Folks, listen, Rahab lied. There is no debating that. But was her lie justified? Rahab’s lie is neither condemned or condoned in Scripture. At the time, Rahab is a pagan living in a pagan society and probably viewed her own action as good and moral based on the situation. But one thing is for sure. The Old and New Testaments both teach that lying is a sin (Exodus 20:16; 23:1; Ephesians 4:25). And who is there among us that would say that God could not have protected the spies without Rahab’s lie?

Lying is wrong…period. We have become so good in our culture today of using our motives and/or circumstances to excuse and justify our wrong behavior. But in the end, it is next to impossible to find evidence in Scripture that would say that there are times that sin is not considered sin because of the circumstances or because of our motives.

I’m sure that this immediately brings up all kinds of “what if” scenarios in your mind. What if this or that were to happen? What about those who hid Jews from the Nazis in World War II and lied to protect them? Well, I’m not going to bat around all the “what if” scenarios. We could do that until we all were blue in the face. I am simply going to say this. I can’t think of one real event time in my life where my circumstances or my motives justified my sin. If only we would become as good at obeying as we are at justifying our misbehavior.

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