Friday, June 2nd, 2017
Self-Examination (Part 73)
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Psalm 5:8-10 (NKJV)
Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.
Isaiah 5:13-14 (NASB)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew 23:27-28 (NKJV)
Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips.
Romans 3:13 (NKJV)
As we know, inside each neck is a throat. In Psalms, Isaiah, Matthew and Romans, God says throats can be like tomb entrances. So He posts a warning sign: 'Stay away: Death is here. Enter at your own risk!'
Here's the catch; the entrance to the death trap is decorated in attractive ways: 1. Flattering words from seductive people; 2. A sink hole in the midst of high-living; 3. Religious leaders in fancy clothing; 4. An epidemic of make-believe faith.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: What I like about entertainment (other than big adventure stories) is its candor about corruption and its frankness about fraudulence. Neither fiction films nor TV shows, neither action stars nor partyers, pretend to be something they are not.
They certainly try to entice us, but not by claims of self-righteousness or holders of the absolute truth.*
'You can't judge a book by its cover' is a truism with biblical roots: 'The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart' (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT).
Therefore, beloved performing saints, beware religious hypocrisy. Consider some of its warning signs:
1. Boastful, flashy, big-talking pastors.**
2. Fancy churches hiding corruption.**
3. Wealthy preachers in lavish mansions.**
4. Christians who want to live like the world.**
To Be Continued...
* I exclude news media from this list of openly honest entertainers. Because today, most on-air reporters present their opinions as facts... after they gather partial truths to support their conclusions. I believe this style of reporting is misleading.
** 1. 'They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception' (2 Peter 2:18, NLT).
** 2. 'Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it' (Isaiah 5:13-14, NASB).
** 3. 'I have given you an Example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message' (John 13:15-16, NLT).
** 4. 'For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear' (2 Timothy 4:3).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Self-Examination series.