October 9, 2022

Righteous Deception?

By: Bart Peacher; Scripture references taken from the NKJV

‘Deception’ by Webster: the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid

What if you found yourself in a place where you were sent by God to spread the gospel of Jesus (Yeshua) the Christ but had to temporarily hide your true identity in order to be most effective? Would this be considered ‘deceptive’ in an evil sense of the word? Or, could it be seen as a righteous act ultimately fulling God’s Will?

Someone once said something like “if God initiates it, it is always righteous but, if you initiate it, it may be sin”. I believe this was said in the context of ancient biblical history such as when God told Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites including all people and animals (1 Samuel 15:2-3, 7-11).

Since God initiated this, it must be righteous but, if Saul had started it without God, it could only be seen as mass murder. In fact, Saul failed to perform utter destruction thus God rejected him as king (1 Samuel 15: 23).

Now, what has Saul’s story had to do with deception? Nothing directly but only to note that, in various instances, God’s Will was and is in direct contrast to man’s perception of how to complete a task.

Scripture contains references to where God’s Will was completed from initially seeming ‘deceptive’ means. Let’s look at some examples:

– Abram in Egypt deceived Pharaoh by claiming that Sarai, his wife, was his sister (Gen 12:12-13, 18-20). His name was later changed to Abraham and he became the father of our faith.

– Isaac also claimed that Rebekah, his wife, was his sister (Gen 26: 6-9). The promised seed was thru Isaac who begot Jacob (Israel).

– By deception, Isaac blesses Jacob rather than Esau who was his true firstborn (Gen 27). Of course, the promise of the future nation of Israel came down the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who was renamed Israel).

– Tamar, Juda’s daughter-in-law, disguised herself as a harlot, and Juda, not knowing who she was, had sex with her and her offspring (Gen 38: 15-24). Tamar is later named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Mat 1:1-6).

– Samuel was told by God to go to Jesse (David’s father) the Bethlehemite to pick the new king to replace Saul but he was afraid that Saul would kill him if he did, therefore, God told him to say “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord”. This actually also happened but Samuel’s real task was picking David as king (1 Samuel 16: 1-13). David became king of Israel replacing Saul.

– In order for David to escape his house from Saul’s men sent to kill him, Michal, David’s wife, made an escape route for David thru a window and then made a false image of him in his bed to fool Saul’s men (1 Samuel 19: 11-18). David became an apple of God’s eye (Ps 17: 8) and was in the genealogy of Jesus Christ who holds the key of David (Rev 3:7) and who is the root and offspring of David (Rev 22:16).

– After Jonathan signaled David to flee from his father Saul (1 Samuel 20: 17-23), David came to a place called Nob and lied to Ahimelech the priest as to why he was there (1 Samuel 21: 1-2).

– While David was fleeing from Saul, he came to the Achish king of Gath. But he became afraid of the king and pretended to go mad with crazy behavior so that the king would let him go (1 Samuel 21: 12-15, 22: 1). Again, we know David’s history and what he meant to God.

– Remember the story of Bathsheba, how David deceived her husband Uriah sending him to the front line of war to have him killed so that David could have her (2 Samuel 11: 14-17). We all know that David paid a price in that their first child would die but later Solomon was born from that relationship.

-David used his friend, Hushai, and two priests, Zadok and Abiathar, to deceive and spy on Absalom (11 Samuel 15: 32-37).

It should be noted that all of these ‘deceptions’ resulted in the Will of God being fulfilled. Should these examples be called ‘righteous deceptions?

– Recall that Paul the Apostle stated that he became all things to all men and that he should save some of them (1 Cor 9:19-23): For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

Was Paul deceiving all of these folks in certain ways? I’ll let the reader decide the answer to the two questions in the 1st paragraph of this article.

A word of caution:

Wasn’t the food that Adam ate, but was forbidden by God to eat, from the ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’? And are we not born in sin because of it. Critical judgment is fruit from this tree which is why we are told not to do it. But now, thanks to Jesus Christ, we can judge from the Spirit, free from sin, and feasting on Him Who is the ‘Tree of Life’! What a great mystery!

Rom 3:4  let God be true but every man a liar (*this may have more to do with the state of unregenerated man than with what comes out of his mouth?)

Rom 3:7-8  For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?

Don’t let a religious mindset put you in a box, dictating to you how God can and cannot use you; follow Him! Staying focused on Him relieves us of worrying about good and evil.

Matt 10:16 Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves”.