Is truth in short supply?
It’s not just toilet rolls that seemed to be in short supply during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, truth seems to running out as well. News of riots in European countries does shake me slightly and I find myself asking where do I fit in to the new world that is emerging? Yet to be in the Lord in these days is the only immovable and safe place to dwell .
There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed there is no one besides you. Nor is there any rock like our God . 1 Samuel 2 v 2
I must confess that in a desire to know what’s going on I keep turning to the ‘latest’ section of the papers online, watching the news emerge… it is always a let down. It was at one of these low point that one of my kids sung an Ephesian 6 song. It was the reminder of the “eeevil day!” as my boys like to call it in v13 that got me turning there. To find a great encouragement and challenge.
Therefore take up the full armour of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day and that having done everything to stand firm . Stand firm therefore having girded your loins with truth….. Ephesians 6 v 13
Or, as the NIV puts it quite nicely, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.
I had forgotten that truth came first in the armour of God
. If I had been writing the list I may have put the salvation helmet, or the righteous breastplate in the top spot. But truth?
The truth is , we have a truth problem and its been highlighted during the last 2 years . The government (Dominic Cummings), the BBC (David Bashir) and the NHS (Amanda Pritchard) have all been found to be fibbing. But maybe we shouldn’t complain. After all, Social media has been feeding us fake news and spun stories not mention okaying fake body image, and we have happily eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yet now when it really matters it may be that lies are the only thing on the menu and we are getting annoyed. Is it stretching the point too much that our highest earners are actors, paid to fib – professionally. No problem as we all love a good film – but when they start becoming politicians we should probably “watch” more carefully.
So the top of the list for standing firm in the evil day is the belt of truth. The first thing on the packing list. But why? Whether you have a hunger for the truth will effect your attitude to the rest, do you believe the truth about your need for a righteousness covering? Or the gospel shoes? Or the salvation hat? Unless you have got your truth attitude towards God and his word sorted out, everything else would be unstable. Do we have a desire for the truth?
“Simon, Simon behold Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. When once you have turned again strengthen your brothers." But he said to him “Lord with you I am ready to go both the prison of the death!” Luke 22v 31-33
The truth was that Peter was not “ready” to go to prison and to death. The Lord desires truth in the innermost being (psalm 51v 6) and Jesus would give Satan the permission to do it . Truth cannot be skin deep or just words that we wear like clothes . Remembering that on the belt of truth hangs the sword of the spirit . You can’t tuck the sword down your jumper, the truth has to be visible in and on the Christian. Saying one thing and doing another turns people right off. Yet living with the word of God on view in the work place puts us in the battle, as many have experienced. A reminder that Ephesians 6 is no fashion show but rather a right equipping of Gods people in a battle to stand on the eeeeevil day!
You can’t tuck the sword down your jumper.
In our bakery business we are very familiar with the “proving process” and during my early mornings of kneading I have often wondered why the process got its name. There is no way of knowing whether the bakers assistant has remembered to yeast (or leaven) the huge lump of dough. His word may not be good enough - hence the proving process. We use a machine to prove our bread, the conditions of moist and warm are just right to “prove” that the ingredients in the inner most parts exist . The desert for the Israelites was a proving machine, the conditions were perfect for testing the inner man.
Moses said to the people “do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test (prove) you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you so that you may not sin. Exodus 20v20
It may be that the coronavirus pandemic has been a proving process for the church. Have we worshipped God in truth. “I will serve no foreign God”, “We love you Lord” “Great is your faithfulness” are words we have enjoyed singing. But in the proving process have our innermost beings stood up to the truth test?. I know mine haven’t.
But in his time of proving Jesus encouraged Peter. “ I have prayed for you. Truth has to be in the innermost being to be of any worth, right? Words are just empty without! It’s interesting to follow the belt through the bible. With the first mention of “gird” right back in Genesis.
Then the eyes are both them opened and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Genesis 3v7
Youngs Literal Translation used ‘girdles’ instead of ‘loin coverings’, I’m sure they made more than just belts. It does shine a useful light on our current Truth situation. Fashioning our own truth is a fruitless task. Many might agree that we live in a ‘Post Truth’ society less concerned about the facts of history, more about how we feel like responding to it now. This is shown most starkly in the controversy over gender and race. Regardless of the truth it’s what I feel that matters .
… Because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them and deluding influence so that they will believe what is false in order that they all maybe judge who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2 v11
It’s God who sends the delusion in 2 Thessalonians 2! Sent to a people who just don’t love the truth. Whose paths have deviated, swayed by every wind of doctrine and ‘God cancelling science’ from the true path. And it’s this ‘truth-void’ that opens the box for the man of lawlessness and the coming of the Lord.
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed the son of destruction who opposes and exalt himself above every so-called guard or objects of worship so that he takes his seat in the temple of God displaying himself as being God…….this is the one who is coming in accordance with the activity of Satan with more power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness from those for those who perish because I did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2v3-10
Remembering that Satan is the father of Lies, falsehood and lies are the perfect conditions for his entrance on the scene . His revealing (v8) is the Greek word ‘apokalypto’- The coronavirus was an interesting world apocalypse. Suddenly out of nowhere the world was shut down, within days!
In a hunt for bible belts i considered Goliath , along with Eph 6 the only other armour description in the bible. I wonder if Goliath would have been a bit of a “where did he come from!“, and is worth a look as we try and understand the situation we are heading for .
Then a Champion came out from the armies of the Philistine’s name Goliath from Gath. Who’s height was six cubits in a span, he had a bronze helmet on his head and he was covered with scale armour which weighed 5000 shekels of bronze. He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders and the shaft of his spear was like a weavers beam and The head of his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron. His shield carrier also went before him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them "Why do you come out to draw out of battle array? I’m I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul?“ 1 Samuel 17v1
Is it noticeable that in all the description of the armour of Goliath of Gath he wore no belt? No truth? Who was this man? Six cubits and a span? Six, the number of man plus a grasping hand – even Jesus said that equality with God was not something to be grasped . To look at , he was dressed in bronze, an alloy of the spiritual fused with the man. Dressed in the newest scale-armour-shiny tech. All the teenagers wanted it- newest stuff. On his legs his shin pads made him un-trip-up-able. And he mocked the people of God for daring to resist him.
Is this our man of lawlessness, that has no love of the truth. Verse five gives us a challenge.
“which weighed 5000 shekels of bronze.” Who weighed Goliath, who measured him? Whose job was this? Someone within the people of God! We must weigh and measure those that stand before us in these days.
Be encouraged, Goliath is only really known for one thing – defeated and dead! As God raised up a good shepherd, David (who’s name is love) to stand against him, sent by him father with a concern for his brothers on the front line, fearful and wearied by the resistance. Brothers who wasted no time mocking David for his small flock, and personal weakness but then watched as he stood before Goliath armed with little more than truth, a stick and some stones .
What we know about the truth of our God Jehovah in these days does matter .
….. my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies because I rejoice in Your salvation there is no one holy like the Lord. Indeed there is no one beside You, nor is there any rock like our God. Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth for the Lord is the God of knowledge and with him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are shattered but the feeble gird on strength. 2 Samuel 2 v 1-4
As David stood before Goliath having proved his God to be bigger (in his small flock job) and ‘more than’. That there is a God in Israel (Israel means God prevails) and the battle would not be won with man’s strength and efforts. David believed the truths of God and his actions showed it. Standing only with a stick (the Holy Spirit) and his ability to get his prayers on target he was victorious and the mocker of Gods people was no more.
Our world's love of the false and its rejection of Gods word are found predicted in God’s word as is the apocalypse of the man of lawlessness. But what of Gods people? With increased pressure, and a setting apart we will need to lean on the lord and Him word, knowing Him and His truth. and the Holy Spirit's power to keep us.
Those that remain for the Lord in the days of 2 Thessalonians 2 are featured in the David and Goliath story. What about those 5 little stones? Shaped by the over-the-head-too-much-for-me waters but ready to be used for God's purpose. And shaped by our circumstances in which we choose to remain. Jesus refers to this overwhelming situation as baptism in Luke 12v 50. One stone was used powerfully for he bringing down of the God defying giant. But the others, what about them …? Anyone looking closely at the events of that day may have noticed what Samuel saw (I am assuming he wrote the book)
What did Samuel see through his bag spotting binoculars?
He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in his shepherds bag which he had, even in his pouch. 1 Samuel 17 v40
I love these little bits of verse that make you want to understand what they actually saw. Samuel through his binoculars really couldn’t decide what sort of bag David was carrying . This observation is not mentioned in some versions but the KJV calls it a ‘scrip'. What if a scrip wasn’t the usual bag for a shepherd to be carrying and worth a mention. It’s a bag for gathering (gleanings). As the man of lawlessness mocks and challenges Gods fearful people. The good shepherd steps forward in victory gathering those who have remained and been shaped in the brook on the battle field. But why four stones?
But in those days, after the tribulation, the sun will be darkened … then they will see the Son of Man coming with great power and glory. And then He will send forth His angel, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest ends of the earth. To the farthest end of the heaven. Mark 13 v 24 – 27.
What advice would the word of God give us to “endure” (Matt 24v13) in a time of increased lawlessness and a baptism of difficultly. Be lovers of the truth, Gods word. From creation to revelation. It’s the belt of truth that is needed to hold everything together. that you may be able to stand in the EEEEVIL Day, the well thought through schemes of the devil, and world forces of this darkness. A love of the truth is the beginning of the armour for whatever battles may be ahead.