They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Who knows, it may even be worth more than a thousand. Joshua, the charismatic leader of God’s people, centuries ago, certainly believed that. When he did battle with five kings and the kings holed up in a cave, Joshua had them brought out one by one and had them kneel, putting his foot on their necks, and then killed them, as a picture of what God was going to do to the enemies of Israel. There is one thing for sure: there was no compromise in the way that Joshua dealt with the situation. Those five never bothered Israel again.

There are five enemies of families today, and it is not possible to deal with them as summarily as did Joshua these five. The five enemies come crawling out of the caves of our old natures and periodically do battle with us, but it is possible to make the decision to be done with them once and for all. Put your foot on their necks and cut their heads off. These five enemies are dishonesty, deception, disbelief, discourtesy, and discouragement.

When dishonesty is tolerated, like a demonic spirit that wants company, another enemy comes to take up residence the enemy of deceit. It is almost inevitable that dishonesty will lead to deception. Actually deceit is a form of dishonesty. If I lead you to believe something but do not actually tell you a lie, I have still deceived you; and if I consciously know that I have led you to believe something which I know is not true, and have not corrected the wrong impression, I am just as responsible as if I purposely lied to you.

Years ago a sea captain had an argument with his first mate. Because the owner of the vessel was rather fond of the first mate, the captain knew that he could not get the man fired unless he could demonstrate that there had been disloyalty or else a breach of regulations to the point of gross inefficiency. The captain thought a lot about it and finally struck upon a plan. Knowing that the owner of the ship would carefully read the log of the voyage, he would periodically write, “The first mate is not drunk today.” Then a few days later he would write, “This morning the first mate is sober.” He never actually said that the first mate was drunk, but, of course, that was the implication. When the owner read the log, he came to the conclusion that the first mate must have been drunk most of the time and, therefore, should be discharged, but before he did so, he determined to have a talk with the man. It was then that he learned of the dispute between the two men. It almost worked.

Deception is a deadly master! Like a man who toys with serpents, wrapping them around his neck, it can turn and bite, sending its venomous poison into your system and taking your own life. The man or woman the teen ager– who lives by deception will ultimately be deceived himself. As Jesus said, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

If you are playing cat and mouse games with your wife or husband, with your parents or even with yourself, settle it in your thinking once and for all. “God has His payday, someday….” Take that enemy of deception out of the cave of your thinking, and cut his head off once and for all. There is no room in your life for deception if you want to please God. For the person who lives by deception will ultimately fall prey to the deception of another.

Resource Reading: Joshua 10:16-28

Text: “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26:52

GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – January 24, 2017