Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Lie is a Lie is a Lie?

This week's Torah portion is Exodus 1:1 - 6:1.

Exodus 20:16 (KJV)
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Proverbs 12:22 (KJV)
22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

Ephesians 4:25 (KJV)
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Based on the many verses in the Bible, it seems pretty obvious that God hates lying. Yet, is there ever a time when lying is OK? In this week's Torah portion we are confronted with this very situation.

Exodus 1:15-21 (KJV)
15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.

Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives, refused to obey Pharaoah's order to kill all the male Hebrew babies. Because they feared (stood in awe of) God, they would not carry out his heinous request. But when asked about why they allowed the male children to live, they fabricated a story and in essence lied to Pharaoh. Perhaps surprisingly, God treated the midwives well and gave them households of their own. Why?

Matthew 23:23 (KJV)
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

In Matthew we find Yeshua chastising the scribes and Pharisees for observing the law regarding the tithing of one's increase.

Leviticus 27:30 (KJV)
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD.

However, His complaint was not that they followed God's command, but rather that they used one law to demonstrate how scrupulously they observed Torah, while yet ignoring the weightier matters of the Torah, specifically judgment, mercy, and faith.

Micah 6:8 (KJV)
8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Yeshua's conclusion was that both needed to be done.

At another time Yeshua also taught that sometimes the weightier matters can actually take precedence over the lighter.

Mark 3:1-5 (KJV) 
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 

The Hebrew midwives understood that saving the lives of the male babies was more important than telling the truth and so chose the correct path to take.

What choices are we required to make? How do we know which is the correct path? As always, our guide is the Bible, the whole Bible! It will not lead us astray.

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:   

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