"Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' And the LORD said to him, 'How?' And he said, 'I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.'"
(1 Kings 22:21, 22--NASB)
"Deceiving spirit," is also translated by some as, "lying spirit." Deception, however, is much more dangerous than a lie. The word deceive has its root in the word "ensnare." It means, "to take in, as if in a snare." Its purpose is to trap and take into captivity. An out right lie is obvious to most. It is that ensnaring deception which is to be feared. If you read all of 1 Kings 22, it becomes apparent that Jehoshaphat recognized false prophecy. But do not be fooled; so did Ahab. The difference is that Jehoshapat was among those whom Jesus described as, "the pure in heart." He embraced truth, hungered for truth, open only to truth. Ahab, on the other hand, was his own man, had his own agenda in life, self-serving. It is the classic formula for embracing the lie. Keil says that the "evil spirit" who received the assignment to deceive Ahab was, "the evil spirit in the service of falsehood." It is everywhere. This evil spirit duped the majority of the American electorate in 1992, 1996, and 2008, just to name a few corporate examples. And the Church?---- history is full of chilling examples.
A person who succumbs to a "deceiving spirit" is not innocent. There was a book which came out after the Jonestown incident which described the dead as, "our brothers and sisters." They were not mine. They chose self-serving lies over, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Peter describes such people as, "For this they are willingly ignorant of." The word for, "ignorant," means, "to choose, inclined to, prefer, they are so disposed." There is always a self-serving "spirit" in a person who believes a lie. They embrace the lie because, as Eve, they desire to be, "as God."
Jehoshaphat and Ahab are "types" and examples of the human race; some have pure hearts, some have impure hearts. Do not be as those who love to say, "Oh, well, I don't worry about such things. God knows my heart." The assumption is always that we know our hearts, and are assured that our heats are pure. I never make that assumption. The reality that Jesus knows my heart puts the fear of God in me. I can tell you one thing for sure. I pray this Word of God for all of us, "I will give them hearts to know Me." Personally, I pray Psalm 51 quite often.
Father, in Jesus' Name, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me." Amen.
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When 18 year old Peter Torjesen "heard the call to evangelize China, he not only emptied his wallet into the collection plate, but included a small note with the words, 'and my life.'"
"Looking Unto Jesus"