Is it okay to ever tell a lie?Last week, I asked if we should always keep our word no matter what. Then, I introduced the concept of the sanctity of truth and what exactly that means within the scope of our lives. Is it okay to ever tell a lie? (If you missed that post, click here.)

Besides the story of Rahab where she lied to the king of Jericho to protect the spies that Joshua had sent into the city, I mentioned one other Bible story I wanted us to consider.

Let’s turn in the Old Testament to the book of Exodus.

Exodus Chapter 1

The New Living Translation says in verses six through ten:

In time, Joseph and all of his brothers died, ending that entire generation. But their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and grandchildren. In fact, they multiplied so greatly that they became extremely powerful and filled the land. 

Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.

The more they multiplied, the more fearful the Egyptians became which led to greater oppression.I find it interesting that the Pharaoh was afraid of the power of the Israelites, but he didn’t necessarily want them leaving either. At any rate, the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. The more they oppressed Israel, the more the Israelites multiplied. The more they multiplied, the more fearful the Egyptians became which led to greater oppression. This is where the story circles back to our discussion.

An Example of Not Keeping Your Word

Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.

So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. “Why have you done this?” he demanded. “Why have you allowed the boys to live?”

“The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,” the midwives replied. “They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.”

So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

Two women, whose names you probably skipped over and couldn’t recall without looking back at the text, from a pagan nation feared God. In a culture with their king was supposed to be their god, they feared Israel’s God more. They feared Him to the point that they lied to their Pharaoh, their king who should have been their god.

And God blessed them.

More than that, He named them in Scripture. Think of all the other people in the Bible who never got named: Noah’s wife, Job’s wife, the two spies Rahab protected. The Bible is filled with nameless people doing amazing things! But these two little women who many of their day would have likely considered inconsequential . . .

Yeah, we know their names. Shiprah and Puah.

And God was good to them.

We forget that we are first to obey God, then manFINAL THOUGHTS

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. ~Albert Einstein

The bottom line is that keeping our word is a part of being a promise keeper, of telling the truth. But when it comes to this discussion of truth, we often neglect the bigger picture. We forget that we are first to obey God, then man (Acts 5:27-29).

We need to consider our promises carefully—including what we say we will do for other people. We need to slow down, taking the time to ask God what His plans are for us. If we follow Him, even when it means we must tell someone else no, then we won’t have to worry quite so much about keeping our word.


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Deputy Fire Marshal Casandra McCarthy promised to protect the citizens of Silver Heights from fire hazards and natural disasters. But life intervenes and threatens to overwhelm her.

The Embers SeriesThe Embers Series

Inspector Cassandra McCarthy never thought she’d be raising her two daughters alone, but her husband’s unexpected death forced her to find a career. Now working beside a retired Special Operations soldier and veteran fireman, she serves her small North Carolina town, protecting them from hazards they don’t understand. She loves what she does and trusts God to provide—until a hurricane and a series of unexplained fires hits too close to home. What will it cost Cassandra to protect the citizens of Silver Heights?

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