In the late 1980s in the sci-fi world of the Transformers, the Decepticons are taking over Cybertron, but the Autobots are a resistance group trying to preserve a decent society. An Autobot named B-127 (Bumblebee) is sent to scout out Earth to hopefully establish a haven for the Autobots in an attempt to regroup and eventually save Cybertron. A couple Decepticons find out that Bumblebee is on Earth and go there to root him out in hopes of finding the other Autobots and ridding the universe of them. Through deception, the Decepticons gain access to the USA’s communications system and transform it to create the inception of the internet as they search for Bumblebee. During their deception, U.S. Agent Burns questions the general in charge of the communications system saying, “They literally call themselves Decepticons. That doesn’t set off any red flags?”
People deceive for various reasons: to advance in position, power, or possessions; to protect themselves; and to destroy opposition. Of course, there may be other reasons, but these will do for now. I realize that deception has been used against evil men such as Corrie ten Boom and her family deceiving Nazi soldiers and sympathizers as the ten Boom family hid Jews in their home during WWII. They felt it better to preserve lives than to be honest and forthcoming in their situation. That’s a study for another day.
As you read Joshua this week, you’ll encounter a shrewd band of travelers who deceived Joshua and the leaders of Israel. The Gibeonites posed as faraway voyagers who were in awe of the Israelites’ God and wanted to make a treaty with Israel after hearing of the military victories which their God had won for them. However, these people lived right down the road. They were neighbors, and they feared that Israel would decimate them as they did the armies in the wilderness and Jericho and Ai. Through deception, they brokered a treaty with Israel.
Do you know why Israel fell for this deception? They depended on their own reasoning and didn’t seek the Lord. “The men of Israel looked them over and accepted the evidence. But they didn’t ask God about it” (Joshua 9 in The Message Bible). What about you? Have you ever been snookered by some slick words because you didn’t seek God and godly counsel? As you read the account in Joshua, you may think, “Joshua, dude, look at all these red flags. They literally call themselves Decepticons. Don’t do it!” But he already did it, and we fall prey as well when our own ingenuity and reasoning, when our business sense and worldly-mindedness rule our minds and not the word of God and the Spirit, when we don’t seek Him in all things. Follow the proverb that says: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3 in The Message Bible).
This week you’ll read…
Deuteronomy 8-14: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases Him, and love Him and serve Him with all your heart and soul. And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good” (Deuteronomy 10 in The New Living Translation).
Joshua 8-14: Bad news, Joshua. “Three days after making the treaty, they learned that these people actually lived nearby!” (Joshua 9 in The New Living Translation).
Ezra 4-7: Not only does the enemy waylay us with deception, but he also uses straight-up, in-your-face opposition. In your reading, you’ll see God’s work get sidelined with politics and legal affairs. Sounds like today.
Romans 8-14: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12 in The Christian Standard Bible).