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“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.”—Proverbs 12:20 (NKJV)
One of the most memorable stories in the Old Testament about the devious nature of the human heart is found in the Book of Genesis. In chapter 27, we read about how Jacob tricked his father, Isaac, into giving him his brother Esau’s blessing.
As the story goes, Isaac was nearing the end of his life and wanted to bestow his blessing on his oldest son, Esau, as was the custom of the day. He instructs him to go hunting and prepare him a last meal of his favorite food before he dies. Overhearing the conversation, Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, tells their younger son, Jacob, to pose as his older brother and serve his blind father a meal she would prepare from their flock so this “momma’s boy” could steal their father’s prized blessing.
Jacob agrees to his mother’s devious plan, putting on his brother’s clothes to mask his scent and placing goat hair on his arms as a disguise to hide his youthful appearance. Although Isaac becomes suspicious and asks him his true identity, Jacob perpetuates the lie and ends up securing the blessing.
What is the end result of Jacob’s deception? At his mother’s advice, he flees his home to another country while Esau’s anger subsides—a family feud that took more than 20 years to settle.
In light of today’s verse, how do we interpret this story? It’s safe to say that those who lie and practice deception will reap what they sow: discord and turmoil. If you’ve ever spent time around people who have a hard time telling the truth, you can attest to the fact that drama and problems seem to follow them wherever they go.
On the other hand, those who promote peace will find the blessing of joy. In Hebrew, the word shalom (or peace) doesn’t just mean the absence of conflict; it also implies completeness, soundness, welfare, contentment, friendship, and much more. Given its rich interpretation, it’s no wonder that Jesus declared in Matthew 5:9 (NIV), “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Although it may be difficult and even painful to tell the truth at times, the rewards of living with a clear conscience and being at peace with yourself and others is worth more than the temporary gain of practicing deceit.
DIG: Be completely honest with yourself: Do you have a hard time telling the truth? If so, consider the consequences that have resulted from your deceit. Was it worth the trouble it caused you?
DISCOVER: Read 1 John 1:5–10. What does this challenging passage tell you about the importance of being truthful? What does it say about God’s desire to cleanse us from our sin? What is required of us?
DISPLAY: Make a commitment to speak the truth and ask God to empower you by His Spirit to do so. As you begin to reap the benefits of a life of peace and joy, give Him glory for His forgiveness and faithfulness.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.