We are LED ASTRAY by our LIES: Thus says the Lord: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, lies which their fathers followed." (Amos 2:4)
Amos (name means ‘burden-bearer’) was a sheep breeder-turned-prophet, who prophesied during a period around 760 A.D. He denounced the sins of six heathen nations before he pronounced judgment on Judah (vv. 4–5). While the heathen nations had sinned against their conscience (see Rom. 2:12–16), Judah had blatantly sinned against God’s law and had lied without fear of God. God had judged all the heathen nations based on their treatment of others, especially His people. But God held Judah to a higher standard, and would harshly judge them because they had turned to idols by rejecting God’s laws, and had been speaking lies in the process!
Amos now warns the people of Judah that their lies would always lead them astray, and their deception would always cause them trouble. In fact, they were already in trouble largely because they had followed the lies devised by their fathers (v. 4). The history of Judah reveals that the next generation suffered tragically from patterns of lies and deception when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Is speaking lies such a bad thing? In fact, many people try to justify lying by suggesting that it is normal, and even inevitable, and sooner or later we have to lie. The worst tragedy about this way of living is that we end up telling lies and believing lies about God (Rom. 1:25) and about ourselves (1 John 1:10). However, lying is not an inescapable fact of human nature. God does not lie (Num. 23:19; Titus 1:2), and He tells us not to lie in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:16). Likewise, Paul exhorted believers not to lie to one another (Eph. 4:25; Col. 3:9). So it is possible to speak and live with honesty!
The Bible is clear that lying leads to trouble, and gives many examples to show that “he who speaks lies shall perish” (Prov. 19:9), and that God hates dishonesty (6:16–17). Sin and death were introduced into our world because of a lie by Satan (Gen. 3:1–7; 1 Tim. 2:14). Other examples of lying in the Bible include Cain (Gen. 4:1–16), Jacob (Gen. 27:5–17, 41–46), Joseph’s brothers (Gen. 37:28–35), Potiphar’s wife (39:7–20), King David (2 Sam. 11–12), Peter (Matt. 26:69–74), and Ananias/Sapphira (Acts 5:1–11).
Our Lord Jesus spoke clearly about the nature of lying when he declared that lies are of the devil (John 8:44). We are led astray by our lies! Let us understand that as God’s children we should not speak a single lie in whatever shade of color (white/grey/black). Jesus is the source of all truth (John 14:6). When we speak truth and practice integrity, we confirm to the world that we are the children of God. Let us love others by speaking truth always!