Thursday, August 25, 2016

Liars and Listeners

Today's Reading: 
Micah 1:1-4:13 
Mark 7:1-23 
Proverbs 26:3-12 
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:
Micah 2:11 and 3:5 
2:11 If a liar and deceiver comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' he would be just the prophet for this people! 3:5 This is what the LORD says: "As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him. 

Insight:
Anytime someone is being paid to teach or preach or prophesy, the listener should beware. This is true in all spheres of life, including religion, politics, business, media, and academics. When a person's livelihood is likely to be impacted adversely by what she/he says, it stands to reason that there will be a strong temptation to adjust the message for self-serving purposes. When truth-telling results in hardship or loss for the teller, strong character, courage, and integrity are necessary.

The "prophets" Judah would listen to were the ones who said exactly what they wanted to hear. If you're willing to pay, there is always someone willing to say what you want to hear. Micah declared God's condemnation of both the false prophets corrupted by money, and those who were paying them off.

Response and Action:
I need to be careful about who I listen to and who I believe. When a preacher or politician or celebrity make truth claims, I need to consider how personal gain figures into their motives for their message. I must be a person of integrity and be a truth teller. I must not allow my personal interests or opportunities for gain allow me to compromise my motives or my message.

O God, help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help me to love truth and walk in truth. Give me the courage and integrity to speak the truth. Give me the heart and spiritual maturity to speak the truth in love. Give me the honesty to consider my motives for who I listen to, and who I believe. Give me the wisdom and discernment to recognize self-serving lies when I hear them. I ask all this in the name of Christ Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Titus 2:7b-8 
7b In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Resources:
Who You Are When No One's Looking
by Bill Hybels

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