Speaking of the devil, Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44. Today the father of lies has great influence in our society. Everywhere you look there are lies, thinly disguised. For the unwary, they are almost unnoticeable and can creep into their everyday thinking, coloring how they act.
One of the biggest lies that people believe is that they are more important than others. Along with this one is what the world considers an appropriate response to or solution for a given situation.
The advertising industry seems to employ the tools of the devil more than any other that I know of. Today I saw a commercial that depicted a school principal who discovered that someone had parked in his parking spot. He was so angry that he yelled violently over the school loudspeaker for all the teachers and students to hear that he was going to get whoever it was who had taken his spot. Then the announcer says, “Don’t have a meltdown, have a Meltdown of cheesy chips.” I was an advertisement for a microwave nacho cheese and chip product.
The first thing that struck me about this commercial was how the principal exalted himself above everyone else. He thought he was so important that he had a right to yell at the whole school over the loudspeaker because of a parking spot. The second thing was the suggestion that the solution to his anger and self-importance issues was melted cheese on chips.
How easily we can be deceived by the lies that permeate our society today. Paul wrote of his concern that the deception of Satan would permeate even the Church:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.
We must be ever vigilant and wary of the lies of the evil one as they are sometimes quite subtle. A little exaltation of our works here, a little suggestion that Jesus isn’t necessarily the only way to God there. Soon we are worshipping a God other than the one we were first devoted to. Often that God is self.
Even Solomon, in all his wisdom, turned to the worship of other gods in his old age.
As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.
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The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. 1 Kings 11:4-6, 9-10.
Because Solomon worshipped other gods, the Kingdom of Israel was taken from his son Rehoboam and he was left with only one of the tribes of Israel to rule over. His wisdom alone was not enough to protect Solomon from being deceived by his many foreign wives.
The fact that Solomon, in all his wisdom, could be deceived teaches me that I need more than just the wisdom that I have already asked for and been granted by God. I need to remain in His Word and diligently test every thing I hear against the plumb-line of His truth. Reviewing Solomon’s worship habits I learned something else.
Three times a year Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar he had built for the LORD, burning incense before the LORD along with them, and so fulfilled the temple obligations. 1 Kings 9:25.
My worship needs to be more consistent and more often than Solomon’s. And I need to do more than “fulfill my obligations.” My faith in Christ is not an obligation, it is a privilege and a gift. I must guard that gift with the greatest diligence I can muster, and call upon God to help me at every turn. The evil one would love to deceive me and pull me away from my God, to exalt and rely on my self. But by His grace I will stand firm.