The AMI QT Devotionals from December 25-31 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Esther.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Circle of Lies”
Genesis 31:17-21 (ESV)
So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18 He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20 And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee. 21 He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.
In Quantico, a TV show that I recently started watching, the setting of the story is at The Farm—a covert training facility for the CIA, where the CIA operative recruits are trained to deceive others and develop alternative personalities for their missions. It’s insane to think that there are people who can be so skilled at deception, to the point where you could not tell their true story from their cover story. Though you and I may not be professional liars, it’s probably fair to say that we’ve told our share of white lies.
As we continue on in this story, Jacob is currently fleeing from Laban; he deceives Laban by not telling him that he intended to flee. However, after a few days, Laban is told that Jacob had fled, so he takes his people and chases after him for seven days and finally catches up to Jacob. Laban is furious at Jacob, and in their confrontation, he mentions that he is most angry that Jacob had stolen his household gods. Jacob denies it, but little does he know that Rachel had stolen the household gods as they were leaving. Let’s call it as it is—this is a messed up family! There is so much deceit involved. If you recall, in Genesis 29, Jacob serves seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage, but finds out that Laban has deceived him by giving him Leah instead. Thus, he works another seven years for Rachel. Laban deceives Jacob, Jacob deceives Laban, Rachel deceives both Jacob and Laban—the cycle of deception never seems to end.
This passage is a reflection of the ugliness of human sin that breeds distrust and deception. We have seen the destructive nature of deceitfulness and can even share firsthand of experiences in our own relationships with those around us. In fact, it seems as if many of us are unable to share vulnerably and openly with others in the family of God, because of the distrust and deception we might have experienced within our own churches. It might even seem hopeless, as this is human nature, but nevertheless, we have hope in the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
In light of this Christmas season, we look to Jesus—who “committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). This Jesus was the perfect man who died on our behalf, so that we would have His Spirit of Truth dwell within us, compelling us to live a life of truth rather than deceit.
Prayer: Father God, I ask that Your Holy Spirit would purify my lips, that I may be a voice of truth rather than a voice of deceit. Help me to be one who speaks the truth in love, modeling after Your Son Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 9
Lunch Break Study
Read John 16:13-15 (ESV): When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Question to Consider
- Read John 16:1-15: what is the context and setting of this passage?
- Why is the Holy Spirit described as the “Spirit of truth”?
- What truth is the Spirit trying to remind you as we reach the end of 2017?
- Jesus is nearing the end of his earthly ministry and is preparing His disciples for what is to come. He is telling them of this Spirit whom they would receive in place of Him—a Helper who would be the exact same help that Jesus was to them.
- I think there lies a deep meaning in the fact that the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of truth, whereas Satan is referred to as the Father of lies. The Holy Spirit leads us in truth and speaks truth to those that will hear, whereas Satan’s aim is to lie and deceive.
- Personal response
What are ways that you have hurt others or been hurt by others through deception? If anyone or any situation comes to mind, ask God to give you the courage and strength to reconcile with others. Allow the Spirit of Truth to speak freely into the situation.