Undeceiving Ourselves

Michael Beck

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God would comfort and heal us but not without “getting to the bottom” of what ails us.

What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?
Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. (Lamentations 2:13,14)

In the state they were in, God declared that the breach of His people was incurable. Whatever remedies they tried, didn’t work.

For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.
There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not … (Jeremiah 30:12-14)

Incurability is connected to self-deception.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9,10)

desperately wicked > Hebrew – anash > KJV – incurable 5, desperate 1, desperately wicked 1, woeful 1, sick; 9

The heart [is] deceitful above all things, And it [is] incurable—who knows it? (Jeremiah 17:9 Literal Standard Version)

God attributed the continual backsliding of His people to their hanging on to deceit.

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. (Jeremiah 8:5)

Cleansing cannot happen when strongholds, imaginations, and high things have taken up residence in our heart.

O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? (Jer. 4:14)

To whatever degree we live in self-deception, we don’t know God.
The lies we believe prevent us from knowing the truth that would make us free.

Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:6)

When our heart is deceived we are blind to the obvious. We are “wise in our own conceits.”
There is no path toward healing until we are undeceived.

He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (Isaiah 44:20)

Jeremiah claimed God had deceived him and the people by giving them hope that they could be saved from captivity.

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul. (Jeremiah 4:10)

God reminded Jeremiah that their salvation was dependent on their repentance.

Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart. (Jeremiah 4:18)

In looking at what would come upon them, Jeremiah shared the people’s terror.

My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)

Jeremiah bemoaned the fact that his people were not positioned to receive the healing that was available to them.

For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.
Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? (Jer. 8:21,22)

The people chose not to repent, but were traumatized by the prospect of captivity.
The false prophets were readily received by a unrepentant people because they told them what they wanted to hear: God would deliver them from the Babylonians that surrounded them and they would remain in their land.

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.
Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.
And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them. (Jeremiah 14:13-16)

Trauma has the power to shape our beliefs and actions. We protect ourselves from the prospect of pain by holding on to a lie. When true healing is not sought and found through “dealing truly” with God, even supposedly “wise men” seek to blunt the pain of trauma by deceiving themselves.

The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.
For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 8:9-11)

We deceive ourselves when we claim to have no sin, when there is sin in our life. Likewise, we deceive ourselves when we say we are healed when we are sick.
We undeceive ourselves when we stop believing lies, and accept the truth, however hard it is to swallow.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5-9)

Forgiveness of sin follows confession of sin. Healing of the the effects of trauma begins with an admission of our immaturity. God would make us strong where we have been weakest.
He would secure us in a sound heart, mind, and walk, where we have been most vulnerable to temptation.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.