Deception (Part 18) - Godly Deception


XIV. Godly deception 1. There are circumstances in life where deception is acceptable. A. War i. Deception is often used in times of war. ii. Israel used deception when they fought with Ai. a. Israel had gone up against Ai previously and were defeated and had to flee (Jos 7:3-5). b. After they took care of the sinner in their midst that caused them to lose the previous battle, the Lord told them to go up against Ai again, but this time to set an ambush behind the city (Jos 8:1-2). c. Ambush n. - 1. strictly. A military disposition consisting of troops concealed in a wood or other place, in order to surprise and fall unexpectedly upon an enemy. d. They were then to approach the city again and flee when the men of Ai came out against them as before (Jos 8:3-8). e. Joshua did so and acted as if they were beaten and fled, drawing the men out of the city after them (Jos 8:14-17). f. When the men of Ai were out of the city, the Israelites in the ambush entered the city and set it on fire and Israel destroyed the men of Ai (Jos 8:18-22). iii. The Chinese general Sun Tzu taught that war is based on deception. a. "All warfare is based on deception." (Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Signature Press Editions: 2007 (written in the 6th century BC), p. 44) b. "Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near." (Ibid) c. "Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him." (Ibid) d. "If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant." (Ibid) e. "Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected." (Ibid, p. 45) f. "These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand." (Ibid, p. 45) B. Sports i. Deception is frequently used in sports. ii. In football, the quarterback will pretend to hand off the ball to another player to take the attention off of himself while his passes it to someone else. iii. In baseball, a pitcher will throw a curve ball to make it look like it is heading a different direction than it ends up going. iv. A pitcher will also make it appear that he is going to throw a pitch but instead throws out the opponent who is leading off at first base. v. In basket ball, a player will act as if he is passing the ball, only to quickly make another play. vi. These are all perfectly acceptable acts of deception. C. Card playing i. In poker, a player will feign a look of disappointment on his face when he actually has a winning hand. ii. This is also perfectly acceptable (assuming that the game is being played for fun and is not high-stakes gambling). D. Playing dumb i. It is not wrong to "play dumb" and act as if you don't know something or the answer to a question. ii. Our Lord Jesus Christ did this on more than one occasion (Luk 24:17-19; Joh 4:16-18; Joh 6:5-6). 2. There are times when it is the godly thing to do to deceive someone. A. At times when innocent human life is at stake, it is permissible to deceive a would-be murderer. B. God's law is setup in a hierarchy, and when two laws or principles come into conflict, we much choose the higher law (Mat 12:1-8; Joh 7:22-23). C. Saving innocent life trumps the commandment to not lie which the following examples make clear. i. Michal deceived her own father Saul. a. Saul was planning to murder David (1Sa 19:11). b. Michal let David down through a window (1Sa 19:12) and then made a image that looked like David lying in his bed and lied saying he was sick (1Sa 19:13-16). c. Michal deceived Saul with this lie and cunning trickery to make him think that David was sick (1Sa 19:17a). d. Then after her deception was found out, she again lied to Saul to deceive him and hide from him the true reason why she sent David away and lied in the first place (1Sa 19:17b). e. Michal nor David were ever condemned by God for this deception. ii. Rahab deceived the men that came looking for the Israelite spies (Jos 2:1-7). a. Rahab lied to the authorities to protect innocent life. b. She was one of the heroes of faith (Heb 11:31). c. Her actions proved that she was justified, not condemned by God (Jam 2:25). iii. The Hebrew midwives deceived the Egyptians that commanded them to kill the Hebrew baby boys (Exo 1:15-19). a. The midwives told a lie to the king of Egypt in order to deceive him. b. God blessed the midwives and the Hebrew people because of the midwives' righteous lie (Exo 1:20-21). D. Jehu deceived the followers of Baal with subtlety so that he could destroy them (2Ki 10:19). i. Jehu accomplished the deception by pretending to be something he was not (2Ki 10:18). ii. He put on a show to hide his true motives (2Ki 10:20). iii. He slyly made sure that none of the LORD's people were in the house of Baal (2Ki 10:23). iv. When he had them right where he wanted them, he killed them all (2Ki 10:24-28). E. Gideon i. The Midianites were oppressing the children of Israel and destroying their livelihood (Jdg 6:2-6). ii. Gideon deceived the Midianites by threshing wheat by the winepress to hide it from them to provide for his family (Jdg 6:11). iii. The Lord was with Gideon, not against him, in his civil disobedience (Jdg 6:12). F. Obadiah hid 100 prophets in a cave and fed them with bread and water to keep them from being killed by the wicked queen Jezebel (1Ki 18:3-4). G. Samuel was told by God himself to take a heifer with him to use as a cover story (1Sa 16:2). i. The real reason that Samuel was sent by God was to anoint David as king (1Sa 16:1). ii. To keep Saul from knowing his true purpose and killing him, the Lord told Samuel to take heifer with him and say that he was come to sacrifice to the LORD. iii. This way Samuel was technically not lying, although he was deceiving Saul as to his true intent. iv. God himself sanctioned this. H. David i. David had Jonathan lie to Saul about his whereabouts because Saul was trying to kill him (1Sa 20:5-6, 28). ii. He was never condemned by God for this deceptive behavior. iii. David lied to Ahimelech the priest when he was running for his life from Saul (1Sa 21:1-2). iv. He was never condemned by God for this deceptive behavior. v. David was afraid of Achish the king of Gath and he used deception to make him think he was a mad man so that he would let him go (1Sa 21:13-15). vi. He was never condemned by God for this deceptive behavior. vii. David devised a plan to deceive Absalom in order to get information about his plans in order to defeat him (2Sa 15:32-36). viii. He was never condemned by God for this deceptive behavior. ix. A woman hid Jonathan and Ahimaaz in a well and lied to Absalom's servants who came looking for them (2Sa 17:17-21). x. She was never condemned by God for this deceptive behavior. I. Elisha deceived the blinded Syrian army and led them to Samaria instead of the city he told them he would take them to (2Ki 6:19). J . Jeremiah followed the advice of king Zedekiah and told a made-up story to the princes so they would not know the truth of what Jeremiah told the king (Jer 38:24-27). K. God blessed Jeremiah's lie and saved his life. L. Paul i. Paul deceived the authorities who were trying to kill him by being let down over the wall in a basket (Act 9:23-25; 2Co 11:32-33). ii. Paul was never condemned by God for deceiving the authorities to escape their persecution. iii. At first glance it appears that Paul said that he was crafty and caught the Corinthians with guile in 2Co 12:16. a. A closer look will reveal that he was not admitting to them that he used craftiness and guile to deceive them. b. The context of the passage is that Paul did not take financial support of them (which he was entitled to) like he did with other churches (2Co 12:13-15). c. Paul did not use guile or craftiness in his ministry (1Th 2:3, 5; 2Co 4:2; 2Co 7:2; Rom 13:13; Heb 13:18). d. Paul often anticipated his enemies' objections and answered them preemptively (Rom 3:5, 8; Rom 6:1; Rom 9:14, 19; Rom 11:19). e. It appears that Paul was doing the same thing in 2Co 12:16. (i) He was speaking as one of his enemies would speak and suggesting that though he did not take money from the Corinthian church directly, he did so craftily with guile by getting it indirectly through others. (ii) He then goes on to refute this claim by showing that he did not make a gain of them by any of those whom he sent to them (2Co 12:17-19). (iii) Paul was very careful to have other men go with him for accountability when he took an offering from the Corinthian church to the church in Judea that was in need so that there could be no question as to whether he was being honest with it (1Co 16:3; 2Co 8:18-21). f. Paul did not use deceit and guile to trick the Corinthians out of their money. g. 2Co 12:16 should never be used to justify using ungodly deception to get what we want.