Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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Listen while you read: "Sweet Hour Of Prayer"1 (Lyrics)

One rainy night in our university days, my then-fiancé and his friend were accompanying me home from the library, where the three of us had been studying. I was walking quickly on the sidewalk with my umbrella, and the two of them were on Terry's motorcycle, riding slowly beside me. His friend eventually realized that it wasn't polite to be riding while I walked, so he jumped off. However, I didn't want to get on the motorcycle because of the rain. Perhaps, the friend didn't feel comfortable sharing my umbrella, but he ended up walking behind me.

Just then, a man in a car stopped and asked concernedly, "Are you all right, young lady?" Assuring him that I was, we continued on our way. I had to chuckle when I realized what a threatening picture that we presented: A girl walking quickly on a dark night, a guy wearing a helmet, leather jacket, and rain pants carrying a leather briefcase following her, and another guy riding a motorcycle slowly beside them. To all appearances, it looked sinister, even though bad things didn't usually happen in quiet neighbourhoods more than fifty years ago.

An Old Testament story describes a situation with the similarity of appearances being deceiving.

The kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom formed an alliance, planning to attack neighbouring Moab when it rebelled against Israel. But there was no water as they travelled through the wilderness, neither for them, nor for their animals. They consulted the prophet of the day, Elisha, who turned to the Lord and prophesied a filling of the valley with water, even though they saw no wind or rain. The next morning, water miraculously flowed towards them, and soon there was water everywhere.

2 Kings 3:21-23 – Meanwhile, when the people of Moab heard about the three armies marching against them, they mobilized every man who was old enough to strap on a sword, and they stationed themselves along their border. But when they got up the next morning, the sun was shining across the water, making it appear red to the Moabites — like blood. "It's blood!" the Moabites exclaimed. "The three armies must have attacked and killed each other! Let's go, men of Moab, and collect the plunder!" (NLT)

When they arrived at the camp, the Israelites attacked them and ran them off, and Israel won the battle. The Moabites had been soundly deceived by appearances.

Just as the man in the passing car got the wrong impression, and the Moabites jumped to the wrong conclusion, we can just as easily be deceived in this day and age when so much information assails our eyes and ears.

Matthew 24:24 – For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones. (NLT)

To guard against deception, we need to study the Bible carefully to discover whether or not certain proclamations that so called "prophets" make line up with what the Bible says. Knowing the Bible is what protects us against the errors and distortions of false teaching. Let us be on the alert to guard against being easily deceived.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that we have a sure safeguard against deception that attacks our faith. Your Word is truth, and reveals the truth to us as we read and study it. Help us to be careful not to be deceived. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Alice Burnett <>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the wise words, Alice.

    This is a good one. Thank you, Alice.

    Indeed we do Alice, although hard work! Blessings.

    Great post and reminder, thanks, and blessings Alice!

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you, Alice. If only all would heed your advice:
    Knowing the Bible is what protects us against the errors and distortions of false teaching. Let us be on the alert to guard against being easily deceived.

    Many thanks Alice for another of your special devotionals. Yes, in today’s world we do have to be cautious about trusting in things we hear, but one thing we can always be certain about today and every day, is God’s word.
    Blessings as you continue in your writings for morning devotionals.

    Hello Alice,
    Thank you for writing today’s devotional. Things certainly have changed, haven’t they? Your story reminded me that when I was at the university, we could not wear pants on campus. Therefore, many of us wore raincoats to the library or wherever.
    Hope you and Terry are doing well.

    Bad news is not what we need in these difficult days. We need the Good News of Jesus message of love – love God and our neighbor – a positive message of HOPE.

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