Deception; September 30, 2019

Psalm 138:6 Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.

It just struck me, reading the Japanese for this verse, that the second half could be expressed, “He sees through the proud from a mile away.” Previously I had only thought of this verse in terms of pride blocking intimacy with God, which is certainly true enough, but the Japanese uses an expression that specifically means “to see through,” as in the opposite of being deceived. Human efforts to deceive God are quite laughable! We see people all the time who seem to live on deceit of one sort or another, and it’s really quite remarkable. I am sure they were never raised to have a genuine fear of God. Psalm 139, right after this and also a Psalm of David, is a beautiful exposition of the omniscience of God. David learned the hard way, with his adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband killed to try to cover it up, that trying to hide stuff never works out in the long run. As he says here, we need to remember that God is incredibly gracious toward those who are humble before Him, but human pride is completely counterproductive. We are constantly presented with a spectacle of public figures of all sorts, entertainers and politicians and the like, and the vast majority are trying to deceive in some way. Actors are successful to the degree that they generate an illusion, but all too often they end up believing the illusion they generate! That leads to the tragic private lives of so many, and sadly of those who take them as role models. Politicians deal in power, and too many forget that real power resides only with God. We often see total fiction paraded as fact for the sake of some political advantage. It is really quite disgusting. We need to fix our hearts on God in genuine humility, knowing as David did that God responds to that, and be open and transparent in all our dealings.

I was blessed to be raised by a man who took absolute honesty as one of the foundations of his life. I have found that principle leads to a much easier life than I see so many trying to live. Actually, I have a problem with being too open, and I have hurt people by sharing things they didn’t want exposed. I’ve had to learn that being totally honest doesn’t necessarily mean saying all you know! It is perhaps ironic that I was a Drama major in college, because actors live by creating illusions. That’s how I know that it is all too easy to believe the illusion you are generating! I have “played the part” of “a good Christian” more than I like to remember! However, God always saw through me and loved me anyway, and He brought me back to Himself. Being honest myself, I tend to assume that others are honest as well, which can be risky. Particularly in Japan, society has codified a divide between “public face” and “true intention,” and it can get very messy at times. I need to remember that God always sees through everything and everyone, and keep my focus on Him.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me never forget to speak the truth in love, and never project legalism, judgmentalism, or a holier-than-thou attitude. May I be an accurate reflection of Your character, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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