The Inception of Deception

evolution-of-lying

This morning we begin a dark week of reflecting upon how early in The Great Story what was made so very good became so very bad. Genesis 3 begins with a single step that leads into what many, including Eugene Peterson in his Bible translation, The Message, have come to call the “downward spiral.” That one first step was deceit. Deceit from the lips of the serpent led to doubting the truth God had spoken which led to fear which played on pride and led to disobedience.

For those who are reading through the whole Bible in a year, today’s reading comes from Genesis 28-30. Esau’s hatred burned against his brother Jacob whose name mean’s “usurper,” one who wrongfully takes the place of another . . . deceiver. That’s exactly what Jacob did as their father Isaac was nearing his death and ready to give each son the blessing rightfully due him. Jacob had already taken his brother’s birthright by taking advantage of Esau in a vulnerable moment. Jacob journeys to a place called Paddan Aram and soon falls in love with Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban. Laban deceives him into marrying his other daughter, Leah (who, it seems, didn’t have as much of a chance at marriage and a future). Laban get’s a two-for-one deal as Jacob marries both daughters. The deceiver has now been deceived! Deception, it is clear, came from the mouth of the serpent, entered into the human soul, and has resided there corrupting the image of God ever since.

What’s amazing is that through all of this God never ceases to be at work. In these same chapters, God comes to Jacob in a dream at Bethel and renews the very words of the covenant He established with Abraham (Genesis 12). And from Jacob’s marriage to both of Laban’s daughters, Rachel and Leah, come the 12 sons whose names would be remembered in history as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. So, we can not read the bad with total discouragement. What incredible hope and promise that even through the infection of deceit and disobedience God continues to prepare and administer the Antidote.

How directly this relates to the reading for today in Matthew 10 where we find Jesus preparing His disciples to be sent out on His behalf:

So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. -Matthew 10:26-27

Just imagine what a group of people could do if we were totally committed to the truth even when surrounded by lies. We could change the world.

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4 Comments

  1. As I read and think about all the various stories depicted in the Old Testament it first strikes me as simply amazing. Its amazing to think of some of the stuff that goes on within the families. If you think about it from “todays” standards some of it seems so bizarre that this would never be okay in the eyes of God. It was not obvious to me at first but as I was trying to allow the Old Testament to marinate and soak in I kept asking what am I missing. I keep telling my wife I can almost imagine the different stories that we read and then it dawned on me. I remember listening to some podcasts by the brilliant Timothy Keller, and starting thinking about the introduction of sin early on in Genesis 3 and the beautiful covenant God makes with us. The Old Testament paints pictures for us and the New Testament gives us principals and propositions and defines sin while the Old Testament depicts sin. We don’t read about the commands until very much later on in the bible but yet right out of the gate we see the first command God gives to his human creation. He simply told them not to eat the fruit. I think its easy to rationalize maybe God new something was wrong with the fruit, but as we see in the New Testament we are told to obey the commands of our God. That’s all God wanted: for Adam & Eve to obey his commands simply because he told him to do so.
    My short-term memory is probably failing me or I’m stretching to make the connection, but it seems that he reveals this with Abraham when he says “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” We see Abraham be so faithful to God because it is simply what God says to do and that is reward enough and he that he is commanded him too. As I’ve started to see the depiction of sin I also noticed the results of the sin in the depictions. As God tells Eve that man will rule over her and she will desire him, it is now easy to make the connection that one of Jacobs wife has made an idol out of Jacob–she longs for his love and things that by having children and offering her servants he will love her the way she needs to be loved. Then that makes me think of what is written about idolatry in the New Testament. For me the pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together. While I’m struggling to find the pieces to fit together easily I continue to pray that God will reveal himself to me daily through his word.

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