Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him.”
“When the storms of life are raging,
tempests wild on sea and land,
I will seek a place of refuge,
In the shadow of God’s Hand.
Thou He may permit affliction,
‘twill but make me long for home,
For His comfort never leaves me,
He keeps watch upon His own.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And one woman said, ‘O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. And the third day after I was delivered, this woman also was delivered. And we were together; no stranger was with us, just we two in the house. And this woman’s child died in the night because she lay on it. And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me while your handmaid slept and laid him in her bosom and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I arose to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I had considered him in the morning, behold, it, was not the son I had borne.’ But the other woman said, ‘No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son!’ And this one said, ‘No! But the dead son is your son, and the living is my son.’ Thus they spoke before the king.”
1 Kings 3: 17-22
“She Said – She Said”
“The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.”
Has there been a time in my life when I spoke against another person, knowing what I said was a falsehood?
What does it mean to me to “bear false witness”?
“You cannot weave truth on a loom of lies.”
The story was the headline in the morning edition of the “Jerusalem Journal”: Prostitutes Fight Over Baby – King Solomon to Hear The Case!
We can only imagine the gossip around Jerusalem as word got out about two harlots who both claimed they were the mother of one precious baby. Since this case really came down to a “she said – she said” analysis, someone had to step forward and become the decision-maker.
This is one of the times when the Biblical record goes into great detail, as the accusations were tossed before King Solomon like a frisbee in a park. The bottom line is that both women claimed they were the mother of the one surviving baby. Obviously, both women could not be the child’s mother. This meant that one person wasn’t telling the truth, plain and simple.
This brings us to the crux of this story, and in fact, to the central core of what you and I face on a daily basis in our lives, and it is this question: “What is truth?”
In the Old Testament book of Psalms, the word “truth” is used forty times. And in the New Testament book of John, penned by the beloved disciple of Jesus, the word “truth” is used twenty-seven times and many of the times when it is used we find it is the words of Jesus, Himself.
I’d like to give you several examples as how the Psalmist David and the disciple John, used the word, “truth”:
1. Psalm 15: 1-3 -- “Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He (she) that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his (her) heart. He (she) that backbiteth not with his (her) tongue, nor doeth evil to his (her) neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his (her) neighbor.”
2. Psalm 33: 4 -- “For the word of the Lord is right; and all His works are done in truth.”
3. Psalm 51: 6 -- “Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”
4. Psalm 119: 142 -- “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth.”
5. Psalm 146: 5, 6 -- “Happy is (she) that hath the God of Jacob for (her) help, whose hope is in the Lord (her) God: which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever.”
Before we check on what the disciple John wrote about the word “truth,” I want to point out that in the Psalms, after David’s affair with Bathsheba, when he penned his song of contrition, Psalm 51, he wrote that God desires for His children to have truth infused in their lives not as some external characteristic which we parade around with, pinned on our outside, rather, God wants us to have the quality of truth enfolded in the inward core of our being. God wants truth to be the essence of who we are and how we act.
But there’s more David says about truth. He comments on truth and how it relates to what we say – how we use our tongues. Then he points out that we only have to look to God’s Word and His law to find truth in all its purity and wholeness.
And finally, in Psalm 146: 5, 6, there’s a reference to the blessedness and happiness of those who have the “God of Jacob” for their help. I find this a very comforting thought, for as I was reading several days ago, Jacob’s name meant “usurper.” Jacob was a cheat and liar. And yet, as David writes in Psalm 146, our God, who keeps truth from everlasting unto everlasting, is the God of Jacob who offers forgiveness when we aren’t truthful to the core. This was something
David understood all too well. While our God is a God of truth, He is also a Father who forgives, and it was God’s forgiving heart that drew back the wayward Jacob and David into their Father’s path of truth.
As we find, subsequently, in the New Testament, John was also given a glimpse of the Way and the Truth and the Life, as he walked daily with Jesus. Here are some of the revelations of “truth” given to John by Jesus:
1. John 3: 21 -- “But he (she) that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his (her) deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (Words spoken by Jesus).
2. John 8: 32 -- “But ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Words spoken by Jesus).
3. John 3: 13 -- “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth” (Words spoken by Jesus).
4. John 18: 37 – “Pilate therefore said unto Him, ‘Art Thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
As we read the Old Testament stories of Jacob and David, whose lives remind us of the personal struggles we all face, as we try to live with “truth” as the core of our being, we also find that with thankful hearts, we can rejoice that our Father, whose “truth” is everlasting, not only wraps His forgiving arms around us when we fail, but as we read in the book of John, God sent His only begotten Son, who revealed “truth” in living form and with His Spirit, who we are promised, leads and guides us into all truth.
And why, we might ask, is the study of truth so critically vital in our lives? Well, in a most practical manner, the story in 1 Kings 3, of the two harlots, is just one example of how every person’s life, whether in the courts of Solomon or in the halls of Congress or in some personal business negotiation, is affected by our own personal view and our belief that “truth” matters. And not just as some hypothetical idea, but as the Bible states: “In the inward most place” of your heart and mine.
In our study text today, we read about two women. With two conflicting stories. And there was only one truth. How would you have found out what the truth was? Or as the “no-spine” Pilate inquired of Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18: 38).
How thankful I am Jesus gave us the only answer we need: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6). And when we follow Jesus, we can trust that He will lead us into all truth.
“The truth is the kindest thing we can give folks in the end.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my firm, impenetrable Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19: 14
“Almighty God, who sent the Spirit of truth to us to guide us into all truth: so rule our lives by Your power that we may be truthful in thought and word and deed. May no fear or hope ever make us false in act or speech; cast out from us whatsoever loves or makes a lie, and bring us all into the perfect freedom of Your truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Brooke Foss Westcott
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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