‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.’ Matthew 7:15 NKJV
In 1 Kings 3:5, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’ Solomon asked for wisdom so that he could discern between good and evil while he reigned as king. Many who are in a position of power risk being corrupted or falling from grace. While Solomon tried to avoid this during his 40-year reign, he eventually fell from grace and disobeyed God’s commands, as did his father, King David, a man after God’s own heart.
We should all seek wisdom and discernment in every area of our lives. God has given us the Bible as a guidebook. The more we study it, the less likely we will be to be fooled by false prophets, teachers, or leaders who come in sheep’s clothing but are ravenous wolves. Wisdom and discernment are gifts that can be received by simply asking God for them through prayer and reading his word.
‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.’ James 1:5 NKJV
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Things are not always as they seem
When Jesus began his ministry at the age of 30, people in the community knew him as a carpenter. The Pharisees and Sadducees were the Jewish religious leaders who were keepers of the Mosaic Law and were held in high esteem by the Jewish community.
Imagine the upheaval Jesus caused when he exposed their corruption and told them that they were doing the deeds of their father, the devil, not the deeds of God.
Jesus offered freedom from the distorted law that served the Jewish leaders but oppressed the Jews under their power. Most importantly, Jesus was offering freedom from the oppression of sin.
Once Jesus exposed the corruption of the Jewish leaders, there was a division among the Jews, forcing people to choose whom to follow. The Pharisees were on a mission to bring Jesus down by putting a strong enough case against him to convince the Romans to crucify him.
They would ask Jesus loaded questions to trap him and expose him as a false teacher, or get him arrested by the Roman authorities. Jesus gave wise and truthful answers that exposed their hypocrisy and malice.
Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees
Imagine, during the time of Jesus’ ministry, being in the position of having to choose who to follow. Jesus, the carpenter, whom the Pharisees believed was a false teacher, or the respected religious leaders, whom Jesus called a brood of vipers whose father was the devil?
Jesus was a threat to the Jewish religious leaders. They were trying to protect everything they had striven to achieve to put themselves in a position of power and good standing with the Roman authorities. Then along comes Jesus, who did not turn a blind eye to their sin and corruption but called it out vehemently, as described in Matthew 23:1-36. The Jewish community, who trusted the religious leaders, had no idea what was hidden beneath the surface until Jesus exposed it.
It is not wise to blindly trust, especially those in secular positions of power.
‘“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. … “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.’ Matthew 23:25, 28 NKJV
We will face many tough decisions in our lives. Practising discernment and wisdom by seeking God’s guidance will serve us well. We need to take care that our interpretation of approaching decisions in a Christ-like manner does not lead us to be submissive and agreeable under the pressure of controversy. It is not wise to blindly trust, especially those in secular positions of power. Jesus was not afraid to stand up against evildoers and call them out for what they were, as Matthew 23:1-36 illustrates.
‘Test all things; hold fast what is good.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NKJV
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