Living In Tangled Webs
“Do not deceive one another…I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:11-12
For all futbol fans (soccer for the “unenlightened) the World Cup is the pinnacle of excitement! Like the Olympics it only comes around once every four years and involves the entire world. Many wives and other non-interested household members have wondered lately if a hoard of bees or wasps have invaded their home. Their ears and sanity have been assailed by the incessantly buzzing South African vuvuzelas (horns passed out by the tens of thousands to African fans attending the games). It certainly drives ME crazy until I tune them out by focusing on the intensity of each game itself. For all other non-fans with fans in your family, ear plugs seem like a wise purchase right now. Not everyone is fascinated with the sport, like one of my son-in-laws who thinks it is like watching paint dry. But such cannot be said for most of the world. I remember traveling in Europe with my family during the World Cup in 1990. The scene in every town was the same, with televisions set up literally everywhere, even in the streets, and crowds watching before every set. The whole town appeared to shut down when the games were being played. The excitement of the Cup captured their attention for the entire month it took to crown the champion nation. Say what you will about baseball, football, or any other sport, futbol is THE universal sport of the entire world. And even the pariah nations of the world are not turned away if their national team is good enough to get into the World Cup.
Hence this year North Korea qualified and, though a repressive nation with the very worst of human rights records was not turned away. However, this past week we witnessed the “normal product of a culture that lives by the rule of deceit, rather than the rule of law and the morality of truth. North Korea was caught trying to bring an extra striker to the World Cup tournament by attempting to disguise him as their Cup regulation required third keeper (goalie). It was also reported that the PRK paid Chinese people who were planning to attend the tournament to act as fans for North Korea, as though they like every other nation would have those who are free and who can afford to follow their national team to the competition in South Africa. Apparently, if such fans, actual North Koreans were allowed to come, the authorities who run the country by force fear their potential defection, or fear they would see how the rest of the world lives in contrast to their own repressive and deceitful culture. Their very name is a deceit, the height of hubris, “The Peoples’ Republic of Korea (PRK). “Peoples’, my foot! More accurately: Dictators Republic of Korea (DRK). Many more examples of their deceitfulness can be found, but the point remains, a culture of deceit reproduces deceit as a way of life and as the “normal way to make your way in the world. As successful as it may appear, God says plainly “Deceitfulness is entirely in vain and those who practice it always have a specific end—ruin and destruction!
We know deceit when we see it, and we don’t like it. Our blood boils. We do not want to see anyone win or live deceitfully. Yet the Bible describes all of us as having hearts attracted to practicing deceit. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9) When a whole culture is founded on the practice of deceit, it attempts to drag everyone in that culture into its clutches. The last days before our Lord’s return are described in Daniel as a day when the anti-Christ “will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will cause deceit to prosper and he will consider himself superior. (Daniel 8:25) The practice of the North Koreans is useful in getting your attention immediately in two critical areas: that you not be deceived yourself by Satan, anti-Christ, or any others; and, two, that you are consistently reviewing your own life to rid yourself of every form and kind of deceit. As the Apostle Peter exhorts you, “Rid yourself of all malice and all deceit! The famous dictum tells us, “Oh, what tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive. You can count on it. You hate it in others; don’t let deceitfulness be your way of life, but “put on the Lord Jesus Christ: “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. Live like Him………deceit-less!
“Set up thy standard, Lord, that we who claim a heavenly birth, May march with thee to smite the lies, That vex thy groaning earth.
“Then, God of truth for whom we long, Thou who wilt hear our prayer, Do thine own battle in our hearts, And slay the falsehood there.
(2nd and 4th verse of Thomas Hughes’ hymn, “O God of Truth, 1859)
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