Devotional: March 27, 2020
'Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end.”’
Matthew 24: 4-6 (The Message)
Sometimes we are leaders, and when we are, we should pray for clear guidance from God. Yet we are most often followers. Unfortunately, we can end up following the wrong people, to our own detriment. God gives us a discerning spirit, and a brain, and he expects us to use these tools. You know the old expression: “If seems too good to be true, it probably is”. It can also work with negative things we hear. If some things just don’t add up, trust yourself to speak up, and to question. Is it not wiser to question and discern? Rather than getting caught up in a moment, which can end with dire consequences?
Jesus encouraged people to follow him, both physically when He was on earth, and then through the Holy Spirit, after He went to be with his Father. He also spent a fair amount of time trying to warn His followers against following the wrong people. In Matthew, He tries to make sure His disciples do not get caught up by “doomsday deceivers.” He cautions against getting riled up by, and stressed about, rumors. Most of all, He cautions against panic.
On the news, Dr. Birx wasted no time quashing a rumor that people are saying ventilators are in such short supply that doctors and hospitals are considering making DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders routine. That some would believe this rumor to be true was heartbreaking to me. Dr. Birx could not state strongly enough that we are nowhere near such a time as to even entertain such talk. She dismissed the DNR report as a horrible unfounded rumor. Yet some had heard these rumors, and not used discernment, and had then passed on these rumors, stirring fear among those who heard these false statements.
One of the Christian songs popular when I was in college asked the simple question, “Who do you listen to?” That is a relevant question for all of us, especially when people are stressed. Unfortunately, some people tend to listen to rumors in times of stress. Their ears are tuned for the worst news, and the most alarmist voices. Then, they repeat what they hear from those voices, thereby becoming rumormongers. The Bible speaks often, and consistently, against spreading rumors.
Isn’t it so much wiser to remember what we are called to do, and to be? Namely, God wants us to be people of integrity, honesty, and truth.
Psalm 15 summarizes it well:
God, who gets invited
to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?
tell the truth.
“Don’t hurt your friend,
don’t blame your neighbor;
despise the despicable.
“Keep your word even when it costs you,
make an honest living,
never take a bribe.
“You’ll never get
if you live like this.”
Prayer for the Day
God of all truth,
In a time of heightened emotions, and conflicting opinions, give us discerning ears. Help us to find Your truth among all that we hear. Let us be people of integrity, honesty, and impeccable character. May we reflect your calm disposition, even when some around us may be panicking. Grant us Your peace, so that we might both feel it, and share it. We pray this prayer in the name of the one who calms every storm of life, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.