Why Be Deceived or Deceive Others
Introduction Since Adam and Eve lived, Satan has been beguiling mankind to sin and he uses deceitful men to deceive others. (John 8:44; Rev. 12:9; 2 Cor. 11:3, 13-14) The Bible reveals the truth about the devil’s schemes so that we can resist and flee from him (2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11; Js. 4:7). We will examine why some of the patriarchs were deceived or deceived others and make application to our lives (Ro. 15:4).
Deceived (Fear Punishment or Death) Adam and Eve knew that the punishment was death for eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:3). After they sinned they were afraid, so they tried to run away from God, and blamed others for their failure (Gen. 3:10-13). How many times have we been deceived or deceived others and tried to hide ourselves from the punishment of others (parents, teacher, spouse, boss, police, etc.)?
Deceived (Fear Punishment or Death) Even though God promised Abraham that through his seed all of the families would be blessed, he told his wife to say that she was his sister because he feared that Pharaoh would kill him (Gen. 12:10-13). Abraham repeated this deception to Abimelech and tried to justify it to him (Gen. 20:10-13). His son Isaac repeated this same deception about Rebekah to Abimelech later (Gen. 26:7-11). How many times have we deceived others when we thought we were going to die?
Deceived (for Personal Profit) When Isaac is very old and blind, Jacob deceives his father into getting the blessing by pretending to be his brother Esau. (Gen. 27:12-29) Even though the prophecy was going to be fulfilled through Jacob, he deceived so that he would benefit immediately instead of patiently waiting for God to fulfill it in His time (Gen. 26:23). Esau desires to kill him and he has to flee to his uncle Laban’s house in Paddan-aram.
Deceived (for Personal Profit) Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Leah after he already profited from 7 years of his labor for his daughter Rachel and takes advantage of him for 7 more years to marry her a week later (Gen. 29:18-20; 28-30). Laban knows that he is wealthy because the Lord has blessed him because of Jacob. (Gen. 30:27) How many have deceived others in order to profit from them (salesmen, politicians, preachers, identity thieves, etc.)?
Deceived (Cover Up for Sin) Jacob is deceived later on by his own sons who slaughtered a goat, put its blood on Joseph’s coat, and got him to believe that he was killed by a wild beast (Gen. 37:31-35). The brothers hated Joseph because of his dreams and they wanted to cover up their sin that they had sold him into slavery. (Gen. 37:8, 27-28) About 22 years later they still remembered that they were guilty of sinning against Joseph. (Gen. 42:21-22; 44:16)
Application for Us Deception not only hurts ourselves, but others, and only gets worse (2 Tim. 3:13). We need to realize that our sin will find us out and we can’t cover it up (Num. 32:23). If you have deceived others (not telling the truth about where you’re at, where you’re going or what you’re doing) to avoid punishment, God knows (Pr. 15:3-4; Heb. 4:13; Mt. 12:37). If you cheat to get ahead in school, at work or are taking advantage of others, you will reap what you have sown (Gal. 6:7-8).
Do I deceive others because I fear punishment or death from man? “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). Do I deceive others because I am covering up for my sin? “The sins of some men are quite evident going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after” (1 Tim. 5:24). Am I receiving a financial benefit from deceiving others? “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26)