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God sanctioned lies?

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 11:20 AM

The Lord takes lying seriously.


Lev 6:1-6 “...if he has found something lost and lies about it...he must return what he stole or extorted, ...He must make full compensation, add twenty percent to it, and hand it over to the owner on the same day he brings his Compensation-Offering. He must present to God as his Compensation-Offering a ram without any defect from the flock, assessed at the value of a Compensation-Offering. 7 "Thus the priest will make atonement for him before God and he's forgiven of any of the things that one does that bring guilt (MESS)."


Restoration. Justice. Maybe often it's not too late to make things right. In the biblical text the liar must get right both with God and man, by bringing to the man what he lied about or stole. Plus twenty percent more than he took. And then the ram is to make things right with God.


Prov 6:19 “Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies...(ibid.)


Rev21:27 “...all habitual liars forfeit eternal salvation (New Bible Dictionary).”


Lying as a habit carries serious consequences and is hated by God. The larger picture is that without Christ, we forfeit eternal salvation in any case. Regardless of what a "good person" we are. Excuse the detour. What I'm trying to make a case for is that God has strong feelings about lying.


Yet here it seems God doesn't just sanction a lie. He tells Samuel how to lie:


1 Sam 16:1-3 "God addressed Samuel: "So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I've rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going...2-3 "I can't do that," said Samuel. "Saul will hear about it and kill me." God said, "Take a heifer with you and announce, 'I've come to lead you in worship of God, with this heifer as a sacrifice.' ...I'll let you know what to do next. I'll point out the one you are to anoint (MESS) ."

 

The New Bible Dictionary says this passage “...does not justify the expedient lie. God merely suggested an ostensible reason for Samuel's visit to Bethlehem, and the prophet was under no obligation to divulge his real purpose (NBD).” Sounds like a lie to me, maybe a white lie, but a lie all the same.

 

Another puzzling verse that I can't find right now shows Jesus telling some people that he is not going to a certain festival, but then he does so privately. A lie? Of course Jesus never lied! We say. The verse is difficult no matter how we see it. I really wish I could find it, because with the last verse I quoted, it puts the question I wanted to ask.


If you know which verse I'm talking about, maybe you can put it in the comments.


My point is that God has strong feelings about lying. We could stop there, but I think it is necessary to look deeper.





 

Categories: bible

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