I Was Just Thinking About - - -
Are you a person who subscribes to the idea that the end justifies the means? Perhaps you may be attracted to the words of a legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, who allowed: “Winning isn’t everything – it is the only thing!” Do you believe that machinations are totally acceptable in the culture of today? Machinations means: “crafty schemes; plots; intrigues.” Two of the synonyms are: “stratagem and device.” When this is the approach, its similar to observing a chess-master who gives no indication of his strategy or moves. His idea is to bait you into playing “his game” and falling prey to his skillful board moves.
The Idiom Free Dictionary states the following regarding the end justifying the means: “You can use bad or immoral methods as long as you accomplish something good by using them.” There are two illustrations used to express that concept (not everyone agrees with it): (1) Lucy got money for the orphanage by embezzling it from the firm where she worked. The end justifies the means, she told herself.” The additional illustration seems more applicable at this time of political saturation in the United States. (2) “The politician clearly believed that the end justifies the means since he used all kinds of nefarious means to get elected.”
Deuteronomy 18:14-22 addresses the potential of machination in terms of prophetic utterance. It is set in the context of a pagan culture and society. God’s people will encounter a culture where machinations are common-place: “The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination.” By contrast, there is a clear and precise instruction: “But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.” The people of God are not to dabble in the theories and intrigues of an unbelieving cultural worldview. Instead, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” What will distinguish the true from the false? How will a person be enabled to drawn the distinction? The Lord states: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” There will also be accountability of both that which is spoken and that which is heard and implemented: “I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.” The consequence for the one imitating a true prophet will be: “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
The Lord anticipates their question: “You may say to yourselves, How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” The Lord’s answer is: “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.” In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:15-16), Jesus warns: “Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” II Peter 2:1-3, summarizes and concludes: “Now there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies that even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow in their depravity, and because of them the way of the truth will be defamed. In their greed, these false teachers will exploit you with tales they have concocted. The longstanding verdict against them remains in force, and their destruction does not sleep.” We must be guarded and discerning so that the cleverly devised fables of men do not become attractive to us. Embrace and identify the Truth always! Consider these things with me.