6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The word 'deceive' in its various forms occurs 87 times in the NIV. Deception is a dangerous thing; both in being deceived as well as being the one doing the deceiving. So let's find out how can we avoid the trappings of falling into either side of it.


A man was standing on the street corner looking pitiful in his dark glasses and shabby clothes, holding a tin cup. A kindly man passed by and dropped a quarter in the cup. As he walked away and turned the corner he instinctively turned to look at the blind beggar and noticed his dark glasses were resting on his forehead as he peered into the cup to see what his spoils were.

"Hey, you're not blind," shouted the disgruntled giver. "I know," the imposter responded, "I'm just filling in." "Filling in? Well, where is the real blind man?" "Oh, he's at the movies."

The word 'deceive' in its various forms occurs 87 times in the NIV. Deception is a dangerous thing; both in being deceived as well as being the one doing the deceiving. So let's find out how can we avoid the trappings of falling into either side of it.

1) Deception originated with Satan.

[set up] Gen. 3:13, "Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Satan wasted no time in going after God's creation. The dictionary definition of deceive is: "To cause someone to believe an untruth". Satan lied to Eve in discrediting what God said, "for when you eat of it you will surely die" to which Satan told Eve that wasn't going to happen and that the reason God lied to them was because he didn't want them to become like him. Lying and deceiving go hand in hand. Eve fell for it and Adam soon followed suit. And it has been Satan's MO from hence forth.

Paul cited what happened to Eve in expressing his concern for the Corinthian church. 2nd Cor. 11:3, "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ."

That's what Satan's goal is. He wanted Adam and Eve to be led astray from their pure and sincere devotion to God and he wants to do the same thing to us. Satan is crafty and cunning. He is the master manipulator and the father of lies. Regardless who is saying them, all deceptions come from Satan. We need to pray that God would equip us to see when he's trying to deceive us. Satan will twist the word to try to deceive us into believing something that God didn't intend.

He tried to do it with Jesus in Matthew 4:5-7, "Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

The problem was, Satan quoted Psalm 91:11-12 correctly. But he wasn't giving it its proper meaning. That's why Jesus fired back with scripture of his own. That's what we need to do. Satan knows how to misuse scripture in an attempt to get us to believe it and act upon it. But scripture always supports scripture so when someone is presenting a verse that is being taken out of context or used incorrectly we can expose that by highlighting a different scripture that counters it. That means we need to know our bible. We need to have our ammunition.

2) Being deceived hurts.

It hurts when it's a friend. Jer. 9:4-5, “Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning."

This passage isn't meant to be taken as a standard for all time. This was specific to Jeremiah's people at this particular time. It does, however, present an unfortunate truth: that a friend can be brought to the point to be deceptive and a brother-literal and spiritual-can be brought to betray you.

So we do need to beware; not in the sense of automatically being suspicious of everyone we're close to but to understand that as much as we would like to think the ones closest to us would never do such a thing; it can happen. And if you've ever been betrayed or deceived or lied to by a close friend you know the pain. It hurts more that it would if it were merely an acquaintance or stranger.

David experienced this. Psalm 55:12-14, "If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God."

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