Summary: A look at some of the ways we try to deceive others, ourselves and God.
Last week I mentioned how violated we felt when we had something stolen, when someone took what belonged to us. I think that if we were honest today we’d all agree that there is a very similar feeling of violation that comes when we feel that we have been deceived. Most relationships can take almost anything except deceit.
Next time you’re at a party and want to stimulate conversation ask people what they are looking for in a relationship, and see how many of them talk about honesty.
I’m sure that a good part of the hurt that comes when a spouse betrays the other isn’t about the physical side of it, as hurtful as that may be. The most hurtful part are the lies, the deception.
Now if you’ve been with us over the past several weeks then you know that we are coming to the end of a series on the Ten Commandments, a ten part series as strange as that might seem. If you haven’t been with us over the past several weeks, well we are still coming to the end of a series on the Ten Commandments. And today we are looking at number 9, which says in Exodus 20:16 Do not tell lies about others. The original meaning of this commandment was pretty specific. It concerned how we should deal with other people’s names and reputations. You might recall the third commandment dealt with respecting the name of God, this commandment deals with respecting the name of others. And specifically it concerned with not lying about them, in particular not lying about them in legal situations.
A couple of weeks ago I told you how the only way a capital case could be heard in ancient Israel was if there were two eye witnesses to the crime. As a further safe guard listen to Deuteronomy 17:7 Get rid of those who are guilty of such evil. Take them outside your town gates and have everyone stone them to death. But the witnesses must be the first to throw stones. Anyone see the significance here? Do you know why the first people to throw the stones were to be the witnesses that testified against them? What happened was that if the accused was later found innocent then the witnesses were guilty of murder.
The crime of perjury was taken very, very seriously. Again looking at the book of
Deuteronomy 19:17-19 If you are lying and the accused is innocent, then you will be punished without mercy. You will receive the same punishment the accused would have received if found guilty, whether it means losing an eye, a tooth, a hand, a foot, or even your life.
Israel, the crime of telling lies in court must be punished. And when people hear what happens to witnesses that lie, everyone else who testifies in court will tell the truth.
And so in it’s simplest form this commandment dealt with perjury, and protecting peoples reputations. However it has come to mean so much more than that, because the ninth commandment has come to mean “Do not lie.”
To put that into perspective listen to what else the bible says concerning lying:
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six or seven kinds of people the Lord doesn’t like:
Those who are too proud or tell lies or murder, those who make evil plans or are quick to do wrong, those who tell lies in court or stir up trouble in a family.