Thursday, July 19, 2012

Avoiding Deception

I remember in high school that, unlike many, I was very concerned about my school work.  Because I cared so much, I never missed an assignment and I always handed things in on time (if not early).  I remember wanting to go to a friend's camp for the weekend pretty badly but I had a fairly large project due on Monday...my solution was to take my homework with me (I mean, who wouldn't?).  Needless to say, my friends talked me out of it, they convinced me to not care.  I think I managed to finish the project on Sunday afternoon...but it wasn't as "perfect" as I liked things to be and, in the end, I didn't receive the grade that I had hoped for.

Deuteronomy 11:16 - Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them."

Instead of saying "beware" some translations say "take heed" (KJV, ASV) or "be careful" (NIV, NLT) and rightfully so.  The Hebrew word here is shamar which is defined as "to keep, guard, observe, take heed" (Strong's H8104).  In our language this word is screaming: Be careful! Otherwise your heart will be deceived!  

"Deceived" is defined as "to be spacious, be open, be wide" (Strong's H6601).  Wait, what?  That doesn't even make sense.  But Gesenius's Lexicon goes onto explain it this way: "to be open, figuratively, to be open and [youthful] in mind...hence to let oneself be persuaded."  I think back to that weekend in high school - my youthful mind was very easily persuaded.  And it is so easy for us now to revert back to that youthful mind, to let down our guard and turn away from what we know is right.

Matthew Henry bluntly puts it this way: "All that forsake God to set their affection upon, or pay their devotion to, any creature, will find themselves wretchedly deceived by their own destruction...A little care would have prevented their being imposed upon by the great deceiver."  Did you catch that?  All it would take to avoid deception of the heart or a persuasive youthful mind is a little care!  If we simply care than our hearts will not so easily be deceived.

Today I challenge you to care.  Care for your heart, give it what it needs to thrive.  Set aside at least a half an hour today to read your Bible and pray.  All it takes is a little care to avoid the great deceiver!

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