“In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue” Ps 120:1-2.
The fifteen psalms of “degrees” or songs of ascent were inspired and composed to be sung as Israel ascended the temple mount. These fifteen songs (Psalm 120-134) were prayers and praises offered to God as the faithful pilgrims traveled the last steps to the place of worship. It was the message of these prayers and praises that prepared Israel to enter into the presence of God in worship.
And so the major themes of these fifteen psalms are also important to Christian pilgrims as we prepare to enter the presence of God. Not only as we prepare for worship, but also as we prepare for the ultimate time of worship for the Church, the rapture.
Our first prayer as we climb the hill and prepare to enter God’s presence in worship should be a prayer for deliverance from deceit.
Truth is the Currency of Worship
Little of lasting value will happen in worship unless a level of honesty and openness is achieved. In fact, truth is the currency or the level of exchange on which everything meaningful takes place in worship.
- “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
God is a Spirit and to commune with the Spirit requires moving beyond the superficial and into the spiritual. Worship is conducted on a level much deeper than mere ritual or rote procedure. Worship is where our spirit communes with The Spirit.
On this level it goes without saying that truth is the only medium of exchange. If you are to worship God you must go beyond the surface and into the spiritual and you must commune with Him through Truth. It is only on the spiritual level and through honesty, openness, and sincerity that we are able to “worship” or commune with God. God actively seeks for men to worship Him in this way.
- “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (John 4:23).
Only as we approach God on this level (spirit) and through this medium (truth) can He impart wisdom to us.
- “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Ps 51:6
If we are not honest and open to God on this spiritual level, God cannot impart truth to us, as He would like. He desires us to possess truth in our inward parts that His wisdom might flow to us on the same level.
But this is a problem for man due to our fallen state. The Fall has corrupted man to the point that our “inward parts” have been bent and misshapen by the curse of sin. It is the grace of God that allows us to even catch a glimpse of how mangled and twisted we are in our inner person. It is also the grace of God that prompts us to seek deliverance from deception.
The Distress of Deception
“In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” Ps 120:1-2
This ancient hymn of ascending begins with a distressed cry for deliverance. What is the first cry from the mouth of the pilgrim on his way to the place of worship and communion with God? It is a distressed prayer for deliverance from deception.
Certainly there is a danger, even among the redeemed, that deception can begin to creep in again. Unfortunately, many who know God have never really come clean and allowed God to reveal a true look at their inward parts, the hidden aspects of their psyche. While the psalmist does not address this aspect of deception, it is for you and I to discover in that shut in place as we commune with God. One of the most startling and yet enlightening things the Holy Ghost imparts truth regarding is truth regarding ourselves.
As we prepare to enter a time of communion with God we must recognize the corrupting influence of deception and pray for deliverance. The accepted practice of deception by those who do not know the Lord can become a way of life for the redeemed. We need to be delivered from the lying lips and deceitful tongues of others, but we must also recognize how easy it is to fall into the same sin.
The Judgment of Deception
“What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.” Ps 120:3-4
Dishonesty is on the short list of things that God will judge. Telling a lie is the essence of bearing a false witness and that is breaking the ninth commandment. Sin was introduced into the world in the form of a lie.
- “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:4-5
Consider the seven abominations of Proverbs 6.
- “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Prov 6:16-19
Notice how deception and distortion is woven all through these things God hates.
- Proud Look - self-deception
- Lying tongue - deception of others
- Hands that shed innocent blood - perversion of justice
- Heart that devises wicked imaginations - distortion of righteousness
- Feet swift to mischief - deception of right living
- Sowing discord among brethren - deceptive corruption of fellowship
What will God do to a deceitful tongue?
- “What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.” Ps 120:3-4
The mighty will rebuke the false tongue and eventually, God will judge the false tongue with coals of the juniper tree. All deception and those who embrace it will be banished from the New Jerusalem.
- “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:14-15
The Influence of Deception
“Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.” Ps 120:5-7
Here is the cause for this cry of distress and prayer for deliverance. It is the corrupting influence of the culture of deception. Mesech and Kedar were tribes bordering Judea and perpetually at war with God’s people. This is the world we live in. We are constantly involved in spiritual warfare. Verse five is similar to the epiphany of Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 6.
- “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…” Isa 6:5
The psalmist says that he is for peace, yet he has long lived among those who are adversarial against him. This is the state of the righteous living in a wicked world. We are as those Hebrews that dwelt around Mesech and among the tents of Kedar. While in our hearts we want to live a peaceful life and serve God, so much in this world is designed to work against us. The forces of darkness are arrayed against those who embrace righteousness and truth. When you speak, you betray the country of your origin, because you speak words of truth.
The first thing that will prepare us for communion with God is a reaffirmation of our commitment to truth. We should ask the Lord to deliver us from deceit and the spirit of deception. It is this spirit that controls the world we live in.
It is important that we seek truth as we prepare to enter the presence of God because truth is the medium of exchange in the spirit realm. We must prepare our own spirit to receive truth as we prepare to worship God.
© 2008 Nevin Bass. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced for the purpose of resale without written permission.