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WEDNESDAY— Trick or Treat? Jacob the Deceiver
Big Point: Faith means obeying God no matter how we feel, what we think, or what might happen. When we practice falsehood in any form, like Jacob did, we are revealing an ‘unredeemed’ area in our life.
Bob Harris, weatherman for NY TV station WPIX-TV and the nationally syndicated independent Network news, had to weather a public storm of his own making in 1979. Though he had studied math, physics and geology at three colleges, he left school without a degree but with a strong desire to be a media weatherman. He phoned WCBS-TV, introducing himself as a Ph.D. in geophysics from Columbia U. The phony degree got him in the door. After a two-month tryout, he was hired as an off-camera forecaster for WCBS. For the next decade his career flourished. He became widely known as “Dr. Bob.” He was also hired by the New York Times as well as by other businesses as a consulting meteorologist.
Forty years of age and living his childhood dream, he found himself in public disgrace and national humiliation when an anonymous letter prompted WCBS management to investigate his academic credentials. Both the station and the New York Times fire him. His story got attention across the land. He was on the Today Show, the Tomorrow Show, and in People Weekly, among others. He thought he’d lose his home and never work in the media again. Several days later the Long Island Railroad and Bowie Kuhn announced they would not fire him. Then WNEW-TV gave him a job. He admits it was a dreadful mistake on his part and doubtless played a role in his divorce. “I took a shortcut that turned out to be the long way around, and one day the bill came due. I will be sorry as long as I am alive.” (Nancy Shulins, Journal News, Nyack, NY.)
READ…What does the Bible say?
Genesis 31:19-22 (New Living Translation)
19 At the time they left, Laban (Jacob’s father-in-law) was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household gods and took them with her. 20 They (Jacob and Rachel) set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. 21 Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the territory of Gilead. 22 Laban didn’t learn of their flight for three days.
John 8:44 (New Living Translation)
44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
THINK…Find the answers
Read Genesis 31:19-22. It’s almost shocking to read about the amount of deception and trickery in Jacob’s story. If you had to think about the various sayings about wrong-doing (ex. “two wrongs don’t make a right”), which ones come to mind when you think about the different deceptions in Jacob’s story?
LIVE…What will you do now?
Very few people ever set up to intentionally engage in deception—it can happen, but most people really try to do the right thing. However, deception comes in many different forms and has many different consequences.
What is the most deceptive thing that you’ve done?
What lesson did you learn? In the story at the beginning of today’s study, you read about a man who passed himself off with better credentials than he actually had. When we stretch the truth about ourselves (lie) and fail to live authentically, how does that impact our spiritual growth and relationships with others?
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
The Bible tells us that we must worship God (live out our faith) in spirit and in truth. Are you living a life that is based in God’s truth—both about who He is and who you are? Confess to God any areas where you have been deceiving yourself.
DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Judges 12-16
12:6 “Shibboleth…” The method used for discovering an Ephraimite was the way in which they pronounced this word. If they mispronounced it with an “s” rather than an “sh” sound, it gave them away, being a unique indicator of their dialect.
13:3 “the Angel of the Lord…” In this case, it was a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Himself.
13:5 “Nazirite…” The word is from the Hebrew “to separate”. For rigid Nazirite restrictions, such as here in Samson’s case, God gave three restrictions: 1. No wine. 2. No razor cutting the hair. 3. No touching a dead body. Such outward actions indicated an inner dedication to God.
14:1-4 “She’s the right one for me…” The Philistines were not among the seven nations of Canaan which Israel was specifically forbidden to marry. Nonetheless, Samson’s choice was misdirected. Samson sins here, although God is sovereign and was able to turn the situation to please Him. God used this situation to achieve the destruction of these people, not by an army, but by the miraculous power of one man.
15:15 “killed a thousand men…” God gave miraculous power to Samson for destruction, but also to show the fearful Israelites that He was with them, in spite of their lack of trust.
16:4 “loved Delilah…” Samson’s weakness for women of low character and Philistine loyalty reappeared. He erred continually by going to her daily, allowing himself to be trapped by her deceptions.
16:17 “If I am shaven…” Samson’s strength came from his unique relation to God, based on his Nazirite pledge. His long hair was only a sign of it. When Delilah became more important to him than God, his strength was removed.