From the penthouse to the White House, from schoolhouse to warehouse, from market to church house and possibly even your house, men and women cannot be trusted in the words they speak. Promises are reneged upon. The day of falsehood has ripened. The time of lies has come to the full. Deceit of the heart and deception of the tongue have overtaken the land. Gossip rules where the word of God is averted. The "tongue of the crafty" (Job 15:5) now deceives the whole world. Politicians speak the language of public opinion polls while the president finally confesses to what we already knew, and preachers deny the consequences, with their gospel of expediency. Yet, for a remnant, the message remains, "let God be true, but every man a liar."
by Jerry Gentry
"But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation" (Jer. 10:10).
"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged" (Rom. 3:4).
Let God be true," the scripture says, "but every man a liar." These are sobering words, humbling thoughts. It is a great riddle, a perplexing enigma. Yes, the Bible calls "every man a liar." Can you today come to grips with that charge? Yes, you read it in your Bible. It is true not just for your neighbor, not just for others far away. It is true right at home today, in your house, and in my house. "Let God be true, but every man a liar." Uncomfortable words, yes these are. But no truer words were ever spoken from the mouth of God.
Do you understand it? It makes no difference. It is still the truth. Do you like it? It makes no difference. It is still the truth. Do you know how? It makes no difference: "let God be true, but every man a liar."
Who me? Yes, you! And me? Yes, me. Yes, truck drivers and presidents; farmers and politicians; PhD's, illiterate peasants, housewives and even ministers and Bible teachers also are liars, and sometimes the worst of all. The words of the Bible state: "Let God be true, but every man a liar." Can we say "amen!" to this great Bible truth, even if it makes us squirm in our seats and feel uncomfortable, even if we don't like the feel of those words?
"Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts" (Isa. 28:9). The message of "let God be true, but every man a liar" is strong meat to most milk fed Christians.
"To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it" (Jer. 6:10).
The Bible counsels: "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man" (Ps. 118:8). Are you a man, born of Adam, male or female? Do you have confidence in your own heart and mind? Yes? Then, think again.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). A deceived person is the greatest liar of all, for he has come to believe a lie in place of the truth, a worse condition than one who speaks a lie while knowing better. The willful liar has the benefit of conviction of his own conscience. But the deceived person thinks his condition to be without need of repentance.
"Let God be true, but every man a liar."
Argue with that truth at your own risk. Attempt to prove it wrong, and it will catch you short in the words of your own deceitful heart. Justify yourself as a person of impeccable honesty, whose tongue is without any guile, and this profound Bible truth will eventually shame you, bring you low and grind you in the mortar of its guilty sentence with the pestle of unfailing truth. When the spirit of denial grips your being and avoidance of confrontation with this truth rules your heart, remember, "let God be true, but every man a liar." When the promises you have made become unbearable burdens that must be broken, remember, "let God be true, but every man a liar." When you think you are right, and others wrong, remember the Bible warning: "let God be true, but every man a liar." When you declare your own will above the will of God, remember, "let God be true, but every man a liar." When you excuse your failures and substitute your own acts of expediency in place of keeping your word, remember, "let God be true, but every man a liar."
What brave soul will at first glance admit, yes, I too am "a liar." Why is this truth of the Bible so little known and confessed today? Why would people defend themselves against the very word of God? Why do opinions about the Bible run rampant in our postChristian society, while the words of the Good Book are mostly forgotten or denied? Will the pulpits proclaim the preeminence of God's word: "let God be true, but every man a liar?" Will preachers and laity practice this admonition?
The Bible says: "Satan. . . deceiveth the whole world" (Rev. 12:9). Are you part of "the whole world?" It is easy enough to see the deception of Satan operating in the world at large. But can we bring this truth home? Can we admit that we too are deceived, at least to the degree that we have not yet embraced, confessed and internalized the truth of Almighty God? If not, the truth we crush to earth with our words of denial will rise again and grind us into powder. You, brother and sister, were not born into this world with truth written in your heart. You were born in the deception of sin. Only to the degree that you reject the lie of Satan's deception and embrace the truth of God's word can you claim inheritance as a child of God.
Will the wise man be wiser than his God? Will the God fearing man teach God a lesson? While Job sat in the ashes of his own failure and confusion, he learned the lesson: "let God be true, but every man a liar."
In the midst of great spiritual confrontation and personal rejection by those he had trusted most, Job, who was "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1), admitted in the end: "I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. . . I have heard of thee [God] by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:3-6). Job learned to trust no man, not his friends or even the counsel of his own heart. Amidst great tribulation, Job experienced a change of heart when he learned, "let God be true, but every man a liar." Yes, Job's counsellors failed him abundantly, in their best efforts to give help, because they failed to see the panorama of God's working in Job's life. They looked and judged by Job's circumstances, and not by the greater will and working of God.
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a publican. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican" (Luke 18:11).
"I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess" (v. 12).
"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner" (v. 13).
"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (v. 14).
Even though the Pharisee's life was filled with religious good works, his heart was filled with utter deception. He had not learned a Bible truth far greater than all his fasting and tithing and other good works. He failed to recognize, "let God be true, but every man a liar," the very message implicit within the confession of the publican, who admitted this foundational truth on which salvation itself depends. He confessed himself to be a sinner. While the publicans confess sin, the Pharisees will be "measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, [who] are not wise" (2Cor. 10:12).
To all, the Bible says: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (1Tim. 4:1-2). And all this takes place in the name of the LORD, no less.
"And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity" (Jer. 9:5). We immediately think of White House spin doctors and television preachers who perform circus style acts of healing. Yet, can we learn the lesson personally, in the words we speak at home, at work and even at church?
Could it be that most Pharisees think their gossip and lies, by comparison with others, are less noteworthy, therefore of less consequence, than more blatant sins? The Pharisees smile, shake the preacher's hand, and feel immune from any self deception. But to all who genuinely confess the words of the publican, comfort is given from God:
"Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed" (Isa. 66:5). Do you ever feel quite alone? Do your efforts to share the gospel often fall on deaf ears, even among church goers? Have you ever been cast out of a church, because of your stand for some great truth of the Bible? Thank God!
"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matt. 5:12).
To the preachers, God trumpets this warning: "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer. 5:31). Yes, to these prophets of falsehood and preachers of expediency, God says:
"And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day" (Amos 8:10).
"Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel" (Jer. 25:34).
"And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape" (v. 35).
"A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture" (v. 36).
Can you imagine such a time? Can you imagine a Christian world so engulfed in deception and falsehood, that when God would send a true prophet, no one would listen? Today the message of the prophet Moses is mostly nailed to the cross. Elijah's message, "If the LORD be God, follow him!" is seldom heard from the pulpits. Most modern pulpits reject the Bible in favor of a gospel of entertainment, lying wonders and circus style showmanship. Yet a day of change is coming.
Yes, the day will come when modern prophets of falsehood will no longer rise up to give a word from the imaginations and opinions of their own hearts. The day is coming when the truth of God will fill the whole earth.
"The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid" (Zeph. 3:13).
"And it shall come to pass, that when any [false prophet] shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth" (Zech. 13:3).
"Let God be true."
There comes a time when "the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive" (v. 4).
"But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth" (v. 5).
Outward appearances seldom give the perspective of God's word: "For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (1Sam. 16:7).
"Let God be true, but every man a liar."
We are reminded: "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's" (2Cor. 10:7).
Can we admit the deception natural to the human heart? Can we admit a great truth of the Bible? If we can honestly say, "let God be true, but every man a liar," then, we can announce with Elijah: "The LORD, he is God!"
With head down, we can beat upon our breast and say with the publican: "God be merciful to me a sinner."
We can join with brother Job in saying, "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:2, 5-6).
We can say with the apostle Paul, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:8).
Yes, we too can fall to our knees and cry out to the One who understands and cares when all others fail us: "Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged" (Rom. 3:4).
Yes, "Let God be true, but every man a liar."