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Cries and Lies

We’ve camped for awhile around the idea that the longest song in the Bible (Psa 119) celebrates the Law (Torah) of God, and that it ends with a cry for help: ‘I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands (Psa119:76).

The previous song (118) also contains a reference to a cry for help: in my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered” (Psa 118:5). So does the song that follows: (120): I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me (Psa 120:1).

What is the songwriter’s distress? In 120 it is anguish caused by lying lips and a deceitful tongue (Psa 120:2).

Are there many things worse than a lie? Being misrepresented by someone who hates, fears, envies, or misunderstands us?

Unnerving lies are a first line strategy of our roaring enemy (1Peter 5:8). Like God he wants us to believe him. Unlike God, he wants us to believe lies about ourselves and others.

But what about the Bible itself? Could it also be a source of the lies from which we need to be rescued? Can’t any part of the Bible be misused in a way that is not true to the whole story of God? What if we  use the Bible in a way that keeps us from calling out on God for our rescue? What if others use the Scriptures with the intent of controlling or exploiting us for their own purposes?

Aren’t these reasons to remember that when the longest song in the Bible celebrates the law of the Lord, the word translated “law” is the Hebrew “torah”. It means teaching, direction, and instruction which includes not only the “commandments” of God but also the story that leads us to the Creator, Shepherd, and Supreme Judge who died in our place: to answer us when we call in anguish—including those times when we are  tormented by a tangled mess of truth and lies.

Is there anything more important than an answer that comes to our cries for help with words that are true to the heart of God… that bathe our souls in the light and love of his presence?

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13 Responses to “Cries and Lies”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Once again I bring a technical answer to this topic; Psalm 120 is a prayer of thanksgiving by a divine rescue and request to be further protected from such matters. The writer of this Psalm lived among the gentiles and heathens and longed for Gods own land where peace is.

    However looking at the multiple layers of Scripture I have used this very Psalm to comfort others as well as my self as a prayer for justice and divine intervention against those who bear false witness against them or me.

    But to Mart’s question as to whether the Bible can be used to support a twisted distorted view of the truth. It is a well documented fact that a half truth is always the best lie (Genesis 3: 4, 5).

    All false doctrine uses scripture to support its false claims in Matthew 22: 29 Jesus speaks directly to the error of not *knowing* Scripture. And Jesus spent most all of His public time trying to correct the blurred vision people have of the Truth of what the Scripture has to say.

    Historically the institution of slavery was accepted because of the writing found in scripture seemed to give foundation for it.

    Wars are fought over the words found in Scripture and for many hatred is given validity by using Scripture to base itself on.

    But the light of Jesus of Nazareth exposes these *half truths* for what they are and with the combined aid of Scripture and the Holy Spirit the Truth is exposed and lies are shown for what they are.

    Our defense against is false doctrine and lies are found in Ephesians 6:11 and detailed in Ephesians 6: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, by these measures we can discern fact from fiction.


  2. Bill says:


    I had a fantastic conversation with you this morning. I could have talked for hours about the topic. Thank you for your time.

    Regarding your recent post here, you wrote, in part:

    “But what about the Bible itself? Could it also be a source of the lies from which we need to be rescued? Can’t any part of the Bible be misused in a way that is not true to the whole story of God? What if we use the Bible in a way that keeps us from calling out on God for our rescue? What if others use the Scriptures with the intent of controlling or exploiting us for their own purposes?

    The answer to the first three questions is Yes. Absolutely. I think there is much in the Bible that can, easily, be misunderstood and therefore be believed as a lie. I think there’s much in the Bible — or, more accurately, in the countless books of systematic theology or scores of denominations based on the Bible that have emerged in the last few hundred years — that we *think* is true, so we believe it. But, as you know, many theologians contradict one another, some vehemently. They can’t all be right. They could, in fact, all be wrong. We just don’t know. Frankly, there’s probably more we don’t know than we do know. So believing any systematic theology or denominational doctrine is a crapshoot.

    Therefore, it’s very easy to succumb to a lie, seemingly straight from the Bible.

    Regarding your last two questions, they seem more rhetorical than not. So maybe you don’t really want us to hazard a guess.

    But I’ll take a stab at it.

    The last question is easiest to answer. Misuses of the Bible’s content are legion. In fact, I just typed “twisting the Bible to control others” into Google and came up with “About 20,300,000 results.” Abuses by the church are so common that people have become jaded, hard-hearted, when they hear of another one. It’s extremely easy to fool people using the Bible, especially if one claims a special relationship with God as the source of authority.

    Regarding your second to the last question, I don’t know the answer. What if? questions are often difficult to answer. And that one is a beauty. However, if God knows us, even to the very number of hairs on our head, then he knows our hearts, and the situations in which we find ourselves. He knows what we need, at any moment of the day. So what will happen if we, in effect, misunderstand the Bible and so cannot properly/accurately/wisely call on God for our rescue?


    If our rescue depends on our “using” the Bible correctly, then we’re all screwed.

    I’m not sure any of us “use” the Bible correctly. I think we use it as a scientist would use a textbook or a research paper. Or as a vivisectionist would use tissue.

    But do we ever really “use” the Bible correctly?

    What if (there’s one of those questions again) we haven’t seen the forest for the trees? What if the Bible can be reduced to a single word, a single “plumb line” of thought from start to finish…and we haven’t seen it because we’ve been too busy analyzing specific words (even in their original languages!) or theological concepts?

    The older I get, the more of the world I see, the more I contemplate the human condition, the more I wonder if we’ve made things too complicated, too systematized, too rigid, too judgmental, too structured.

    I wonder if we’ve been too sure of ourselves, too quick to believe we have the Bible, and God, figured out.

    I wonder if we’ve spent way too much time analyzing the Bible than we have serving fellow human beings with compassion and love.

    I often wonder (especially lately) if the Bible’s message was simpler than we’ve thought all this time? What if the Bible were not the message itself, but the thing that points to the message? By that, I mean what if it’s an *example* or a *demonstration* of the message we’re supposed to glean?

    As my Zen friends would say, “Don’t know.”

    There’s much I don’t know. And even more I’ll never know.

    What I do know for a certainty, however, is that your blog posts in Been Thinking About are some of the best I’ve ever read. Your compassionate, servant’s heart shines through clearly. That, combined with a mind for sifting, discerning, and observing, make your writings powerful to me.

    Thank you for taking time to post these.


  3. fadingman says:

    God’s word is called a sword, and it can be a weapon for evil in the hands of the evil, untrained or immature. This was true in Bible times as well.

    While the scriptures weren’t written in Job’s day, they had some knowledge of the character of God: He is righteous, He is good, etc. Job’s three friends used this knowledge in a wrong way to attack Job. As a result, even though they spoke technically correct things about God, they didn’t speak ‘right’ about God (Job 42:7). As a result, what they said were lies.

    Evil comes out of using God’s word towards others out of fleshly attitudes (pride, selfishness, etc) and not out of love. Evil also comes out of reading the letter of the law apart from the spirit or intent of the Author.

    Deception comes about when we use God’s word for our own benefit against others. i.e. justify ourselves, make ourselves look good, put down anothers, etc.

    The scibes and Pharisees wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery (John 8:5). Technically they were correct, but they were trying to support the lie that they were unlike her, that they were not worthy of death.

    The right use of God’s word comes from understanding the mind and heart of the Author of the Bible, not just the technical meanings of words His said.

  4. poohpity says:

    Bill, I agree so wholeheartedly with what you said about Mart and his writings.

    The first year of reading God’s Word I was so excited to see that God used people who messed up and most importantly those who admitted when they did. I found that true through the whole bible. I found that true in my life only when we see the nature of our wrongs can we humble ourselves before a mighty God. I also went through a period of looking at other peoples wrongs and found that my own were enough to keep me busy but it was in fact easier to look at others.

    Some suggest that Hezekiah wrote Psalms 120 and if you know his story then even after experiencing the deliverance of the Lord, he showed off all that he had as if gloating over it and not giving credit to God and thus sealed His fate. But is that not like all of us when we experience plenty God sort of fades into the background. After a while of being delivered by the Lord I started to get puffed up, when it was God who was my deliver and who changed my life, not me.

    The bible shows us part of God but it also shows us about humanity. Different religions who teach their own truths take parts of the Word of God and twist those truths to elevate man above God but how will one know if they are not familiar or grounded in the Word. How do you even realize that the bible is truth unless you live it and dig for truth as if it were gold? Many come to deceive in all areas of life but if we do not search for what is truth and just accept what they say, then whoa to me. I test what I am told and before I read the bible I did not have anything to compare it to and found that truth is found there by watching, listening and reading. Not just because someone told me so but by experiencing it.

  5. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    I hope all is well with you and that you’re having a good Friday! I’ve been away for awhile but you’ve been in my thoughts and I was eager to have time to chat with you! This is a very thought-provoking blog topic, Mart. Want to speak to your comment, “Are there many things worse than a lie? Being misrepresented by someone who hates, fears, envies, or misunderstands us?”

    I can attest to the fact that there’s nothing worse than that. I’ve experienced being misrepresented by someone, and I was so grateful to God for his guidance, comfort, understanding, love and protection. Your statement, “Is there anything more important than an answer that comes to our cries for help with words that are true to the heart of God… that bathe our souls in the light and love of his presence?” is so true.

    Love to all…

    Rainy weather and sunny weather in Texas today.

  6. SFDBWV says:

    I’ve been thinking about lies this morning. We have filthy lies, dirty liars, little fibs and now the politically correct response of “mis-spoke”.

    Then there is the murderous gossip that takes a lie or fib or half truth and destroys a person’s life.

    Every school has its boys who brag about their sexual exploits whether true or not, and every school has a girl whose reputation is forever tarnished some to a point of becoming the lie because of the object of the lies about them.

    Words have power, once again, Matthew 12: 36, 37 give rise for us to be careful of what we say as God holds us accountable for even the little idle words we carelessly speak. Heaven forbid our words be spoken in use to gain by lies about another and bear false witness against them.

    Then there is another destruction that comes from lies, the death of *trust*; once a person lies to you enough you can no longer trust anything they say. Trust is destroyed as well as that persons *name*.

    But what about the father who tells his daughter she is the prettiest little girl in all the world. To him she might be, but is it a truth or half truth or a lie?

    Or what man is stupid enough to tell his wife she’s fat when ask? Is it wrong then to tell that little white lie?

    In the spirit of humor we even hold a national liars contest to see who can tell the best lie.

    I admit they are funny.

    God said “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Exodus 20: 16) Psalms 120 is about that matter; a person can try and set the record straight, but only God can work behind the scenes to change the hearts of people, to protect the innocent and to act against those who are guilty of bearing false witness against them.

    All of us who are believers come to God to help us with events outside of our control, and even at times things within our control, but especially those things we can not do alone. So we *cry* to God for help….fill in the blank, in the 120th Psalm it is against the lies told about the Psalmist.

    Beautiful weather in the mountains…and that ain’t no lie!


  7. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Mart – this topic is thought-provoking. Good comments posted.

    When the psalmist cries “Save me from lying lips and deceitful tongues” Psalm 120:2, is he asking God to punish those who have “lied” about him or is he asking God to keep him from falling prey to the lies and deception of the enemy?

    In my Bible, the note about Psalm 120 says: The prayer of an individual for deliverance from false accusers. Who is the accuser of the brothers? Rev 12:10

    We are repeatedly warned in the Bible to beware of false prophets and false teachers. We are to be on guard against the lies that would cause us to turn away from God.

    Mart – you asked if the Bible could be a source of lies we need to be rescued from. That made me think about C.S. Lewis talking about evil being good which has been corrupted.

    Everything God created was good; including the highest and most beautiful angel. That being was given so much that he wanted to be God. He took God’s words to Adam & Eve and twisted them and they became lies. Lies are simply the truth which has been corrupted and distorted. Yes, I think people do take words from the Bible and use them for their own purposes instead of for the glory of God. Don’t some cults use the Bible or parts thereof?

    When Satan tempted Jesus, he quoted from Scripture. Luke 4:9-11

    And so we cry “save me Lord from lying lips and deceitful tongues.”

  8. poohpity says:

    When a woman asks if she is fat, what she is really asking is do you still love me even though I have gained weight.

    I only know for myself that there are times when I cry out to the Lord and feel like He is not responding but His timing is not our timing nor are His responses just like I would do things but knowing that He is working is where our faith comes in.

    People seem to not really get to know someone before they make a judgment and the evil one would really like us to jump to conclusions because it causes tension and strife. When we realize who we are in Christ and our new identity we are no longer the names that people called us. We have worth, belonging, are accepted and are deeply loved by a Holy God who has called us by name to be His chosen people. Not to act better than but to do the works He has given us to do until He takes us home to be with Him in paradise.

    When we realize all that we are to God it will be the first thing we do to cry out to Him for our needs. Knowing that he alone will supply them according to His riches and glory and that He will make all things beautiful in His time. So whether people tell lies about us or not and satan says God does not hear your cries we know that Our God Reigns and hears our pleas and will grow our faith if we just trust Him.

  9. poohpity says:

    Women usually gain weight when they are unhappy they use food to satisfy a need that is not being met. God meant that a wife have second place in a man’s heart just below God, so there is no need to lie to them they know what they look like they just want to know they are prized by the man they love.

  10. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well with you today and always. Off topic here… As many of you know, I’m in the choir at my church, and I enjoyed choir rehearsal today. The main reason why is that I just enjoy being with them. When I was a little girl, my family and I did *very little* together (I can count the times that we were together, as a family, on one hand). So, now, as an adult, I know I’m still a little desperate for a familial experience. My church family fills that void on some level (I so appreciate having them in my life), but, at times, I still feel lonely too (though I know I’m never alone). Can’t speak for others, but my bouts of lonliness is a reminder of how much I long for the familial experience of heaven. Mart, I meant to say *your question* is so true, and Pooh, I agree with your statement, “there is no need to lie to *women they know what they look like they just want to know they are prized by the man they love.”

    Love to all…

    Sunny and beautiful in Texas today, and, echoing Steve’s words, “that’s no lie!” :-)

  11. Mart De Haan says:

    Thanks so much to all of you who responded to this subject so thoughtfully. Am working on another post now.

  12. foreverblessed says:

    Regina, I hope you had a good day today in church with your “family”.
    The devotion of God calling by twolisteners of today (if you google these words you will find it) speaks of using Jesus name, if we use it in faith and in love, it will banish fear, drive away loneliness.
    You are in my prayer, hold on to Jesus, I pray He will embrace you with His loving arms, and make you feel loved, better then an earthly husband, Isaiah 54:5-6,7

    This is also a lie of Satan, he wants to make us believe we are not good enough to be loved by God. But God’s love is unconditional, He always loves us.
    I agree with you tracey, we fight against evil spiritual powers, even if a human being accuses us, it is the evil power that misleeds him to do so. I have to be disciplined to see my fellow man like that. Love him anyway, and ask God for help, in Jesus’ name, asked in faith, and in love, He will come to help. But many times I forget to ask, and I think to dark about others, that’s why I say, I have to discipline myself to think about Jesus and how He looks at it/others.

  13. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Thank you for your prayers, foreverblessed, and I did have an awesome time fellowshipping with my church family today! I realize, now, that God knew that I was going to spend a lot of time alone, even as a child, and I believe it’s part of His plan and purpose for my life. Thinking about other believers who live quiet, ordinary lives all over the world, and I think I can speak for all in saying that we’re willing to dedicate our lives to God (after all He paid for them by dying on a cross) no matter the situation or circumstance.

    Love to all…

    Partly cloudy in Texas today.

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