My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD. Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace….
I started a diet back in November that has seen me lose 30 pounds and keep it off. I’m right at the weight I want to be, and that’s a good thing.
One of the “guilty” foods the diet affords is Peanut M&Ms. I like Peanut M&Ms, especially the new variation, the dark chocolate kind.
But as I bought this guilty pleasure more often, I noticed an odd thing: I was being lied to.
The lie? Well, ask yourself, When is a pound not a pound? Answer: When it’s 12.75 ounces.
Now some people aren’t bothered by this because they don’t consider a substandard packaging size a lie. I do. It’s a form of fraud, especially when it’s done to make the price appear stable. Plenty of people won’t notice the change, and the company avoids the heat by claiming they’ve kept the price down. But they haven’t. The cost per volume/weight has gone up. Often considerably.
Edy’s/Dreyer’s ice cream went from a half gallon (2 quarts) to 1.75 quarts to 1.4 quarts. Same price. Except it’s not.
The government said last quarter’s consumer price index rose only 0.6 percent. Does anyone here, in an age of $4 a gallon gas and 1.4 quart ice cream containers, believe that for one second? Honestly? I suspect that the majority of packaged foods I regularly purchase have seen a downsizing in package size in the last nine months. In other words, food prices have gone way up, no matter what companies claim.
Okay, so the cynical ones among you will ask what we should expect from companies out to make a buck or a government that only seems to exist to placate the masses. Our surprise should not be when companies and government do bad things, but when they actually do good. Point taken.
On the other hand, what do we do about an institution that is always supposed to be good, yet lies to us nonetheless?
One of the issues I have with the American Church in its present state is that it confuses faith with a pollyannna mentality. It is simply wrong to say, “If we just have faith, all our problems will go away.” That’s a lie. Yet how often is that lie foisted off on believers on one level or another by well-meaning Christian leaders?
Here’s a prime example from Scripture of real faith and the action that followed:
Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”
Think about what would have happened if Joseph had instead told Pharaoh, “Don’t worry about your dream. Have faith in God! He will preserve us because He is a good God who only wishes the best for His children. Now let’s all go eat, drink, and be merry!”
Having faith does NOT preclude wisdom and preparation. Yet think about how many churches are ill-equipped to handle any kind of disaster. Think about the churches who routinely preach it will always be sunshine and lollipops. Is that your church?
In the passage that opened this post, God condemned the lying prophets who told the people not to be serious about the times, to go on as if nothing were changing around them, to claim a time of peace when it was anything but.
There is a stark difference between a healthy fear and senseless bravado passed off as faith. When Satan tempted Christ to leap off the top of the temple, the Lord responded to the father of lies with a healthy fear of the Father of Lights. We need that same kind of healthy fear.
Some of you may have heard talk of a looming trucker’s strike the first of June in protest over gas prices. I don’t blame the truckers, I’m angry too that fat cats speculating on oil futures have driven the price through the roof.
Now think about how our entire country depends on trucked-in everything for its operation. Think about what happens when the grocery store runs low of food. Think about what happens when the hospital can’t get its supplies. Think.
Now ask yourself: What is the American Church doing to prepare?
See, it’s a lie to keep on acting as if everything is swell, as if the problems aren’t there, as if the seven years of famine won’t be all that bad. Genuine faith doesn’t sit on its haunches and sing happy songs. No, it gets out there and makes a difference. It prepares. It asks tough questions and comes up with tougher solutions. It asks something of its people.
It bothers me in the extreme that we simply can’t get Christian leaders to act. No matter what kind of fire we light under some of these guys, they’re content to spend all their time persecuting minor heretics and arguing over the finer points of infralapsarianism or some other non-essential when people are losing jobs, houses, and, potentially, food.
The early Church ensured that the proper people, godly people, were selected to wait the tables of the widows and orphans, to make certain they were cared for. How does that contrast with how we Christians prepare to meet challenges facing our communities and the society as a whole? How stupid and irrelevant do we wish to look in the eyes of the world if we are entering a time of tribulation without any preparation (other than to think, Hey man, Jesus is going to rapture me outta here! )? Is that the way the early Church responded to looming threats? (See Acts 11:28-30 for the answer.)
Faith is not a license for foolishness. Faith does not suffer liars lightly. Faith is only faith when it’s mixed with godly action.
What is our godly action right now? And why aren’t we acting on our faith?