2 Samuel 1:1-16 (Part 2) – Mentiroso, Mentiroso! Pantelones En Fuego!

Posted: May 2, 2018 in Book of 2 Samuel, Uncategorized
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2 Samuel 1:1-16 (Part 2 of 3)
David Learns of Saul’s Death

“Mentiroso! Mentiroso, pantelones en fuego!” For English speaking folk, that would be “Liar, liar! Pants on fire!” That childhood chiding is more than just a cute little rhyme. There is great truth in the statement. If your pants are on fire, there is a great likelihood that you are going to be in pain as a result. There is great truth in the fact that telling a lie will bring pain or at least a frantic emergency in your life. It always seems that a lie always comes back to haunt you. They say, those great experts that “they” are, maintaining a lie takes great effort whereas telling the truth is simply effortless.

When we tell lies we are constructing an alternate reality to the truth of what happened in the past. The human mind, despite all of its impressive capabilities that are just now are only beginning to be mimicked by artificial intelligence, has limited capability about how much thinking it can handle at any one given time. The mind is impressive, for sure, and it takes pages and pages of programming code for artificial intelligence programs to come even close to the capabilities of the mind. Thus, since there is a load limit to simultaneous thinking, lying requires a cognitive load that is much greater than telling the truth. In lying we must know the truth and then construct an alternate set of circumstances to oppose the series of facts that are the reality of what happened. It’s difficult for a child to maintain a lie for any length of time and it does not get easier as we grow older.

We all remember telling lies to our parents as children to keep from getting in trouble. We begin learning how to lie at an early age. It is amazing how quickly that lying becomes part of our nature of self-preservation or to get what we want. If we ever wonder if we, as human beings, are sinful just by our very nature, just look at how soon our kids will tell a lie to prevent negative outcomes with their parents. I dare say by age two a child learns to lie. Sure, at that age, it is minimal in nature like lying about who knocked over the plant in the foyer of your house or how juice got spilled on the carpet or how something got broken. But lying is not something that we teach our kids, it’s just innately part of our sinful nature. I am sure I told lies to prevent punishment when I was a kid. I know my own children did. I know my granddaughter who is now 21 months old either will tell a lie very soon or already has. The only difference between small children and adults is how accomplished we become at doing it. With small children, you can tell almost immediately when they are telling a lie. They won’t look at you in the eye. They will move around as they are talking. When children are small, their innate understanding of right from wrong that God programs into us shows through when they are lying and trying to cover up the truth of an incident or a set of circumstances. Further, because of the fact that lying requires you to understand both the truth and the lie at the same time, children fail miserably in their attempts at lying because of the cognitive load that is required by lying.

The sad thing though for us all is that we get better and better at it as we grow older. We can tell some elaborately constructed lies as we grow into adulthood. Murders have gone unsolved for decades because of the elaborate lies constructed by adults. Marital affairs have gone on for months and even years because of the ability to tell elaborate and seemingly plausible lies. People have gone to prison for decades unjustly because of the lies of others. Wars have started because of lies. We have gotten so good at in the modern world that we have given it a new name, “spin”. Spin is when you develop an elaborate explanation for events that take the truth of a situation and twist our negative or immoral actions into positive ones with technicalities, twisting of the truth, and outright lies.

Just think of the “spin” that was required of the Clinton administration to explain away his moral failures while in office. Just think about that movie, “Primary Colors”, with John Travolta and Emma Thompson and Kathy Bates. It was a fictional account of a Southern governor running for President but everybody knew it was an inside look at the Clinton machine on the road to the White House. It was sadly hilarious about how the candidate’s handlers would construct alternate truth so easily to explain away things that the candidate did presently and in his past. They would lie and twist the truth to their candidate’s advantage or to minimize the damage to him. They did it with impunity. They did it with ease. They would have skull sessions on how to craft their version of the truth. They would spend great deals of time, money, and effort to bury the truth, minimize it, and turn the situation to the candidate’s advantage.

Just think about how far that lying has advanced with the advent of the internet and 24 hour news cycles. Just think about all the fake news that passes for the truth now in your news feeds on Facebook. Lying to garner support for your position is commonplace now. It has gotten so on the internet that it is truly hard to tell what is the truth and what is not. Just recently a friend of mine back in South Carolina was taken in by a lie on Facebook. Apparently someone with an axe to grind with In-N-Out Burger began circulating a meme that showed the bottom of an In-N-Out burger cup. A photograph shows the phrase “Hail Satan” printed on the bottom of a cup from the In-N-Out Burger chain. It is completely false. In actuality, the bottoms of these cups show biblical scripture references. But this meme got wide circulation and people took it as the truth. I had to correct her, not only because of my love of the burgers at In-N-Out but in defense of the Christian founder of this business. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lies being passed off as the truth in today’s world.

Although lies have reached epic proportion in today’s world, lying is as old as the Bible itself. It began with Adam and Eve in the Garden. With that idea of lying being a part of our sinful nature, let’s read this passage, 2 Samuel 1:1-16 now:

1 After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. 2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect.

3 “Where have you come from?” David asked.

“I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied.

4 “What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.”

The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

5 “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man.

6 The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. 7 When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him.

8 “He responded, ‘Who are you?’

“‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him.

9 “Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’

10 “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.”

11 David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.

13 Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?”

And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.”

14 “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked.

15 Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. 16 “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”

In this first passage, we see that the man identified himself as an Amalekite from Saul’s camp (2 Samuel 1:2). Hey may have an Amalekite under Israelite jurisdiction, but more than likely he was a battlefield scavenger. Obviously, the man was lying both about his identity and about what had happened on the battlefield (when you compare his story to the account in 1 Samuel 31:3-4). Because he had Saul’s crown with him, something the Philistines would not have left behind, we can infer that he found Saul dead on the battlefield before the Philistines arrived (1 Samuel 31:8). A life of deceit leads to disaster. The man lied to gain some personal reward for killing David’s rival, but he misread David’s character. If David had rewarded him for murdering the king, David would have shared his guilt. Instead, David had the messenger killed. Lying can bring disaster upon the liar, even for something he had not done but for which he tried to take the credit.

Lying is a part of our nature from the time that we can string sentences together as a young child as young as probably two years old. That simply points out to me that there is simply no way that we can say that we can be good enough to go to heaven. Just think about the fact that each of us probably tells lies each and every day without even thinking about it – because it is such a part of our sin-filled nature. There was a song from the movie, The Lion King, where Zazu is singing to entertain Scar. He sings the chorus from the Monty Python song, A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts, and it goes like this:

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts
There they are, all standing in a row
Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head

We are that way with lies. Big ones. Small ones. Some as big as your head. Lying is such a part of our nature that we don’t even realize that we are telling them sometimes. What does all this mean? We are sin-filled creatures. When we think that all we have to do is more good than bad to reach heaven then we are sadly mistaken. We don’t even realize that we commit the sin of lying multiple times a day, even if they are simply innocuous or if they are to spare someone’s feelings or whatever. Add that to the sins that we purposely commit periodically through our lives and then lie about them, the preponderance of evidence against us when we stand before God on our own merits is laughable. If we were in court with this mountain of evidence, we cannot claim that we did more good than bad.

When we think about how sinful we really are it screams out our need for Jesus Christ. It is only when we realize how dreadfully sinful that we are and how Satan misleads us into thinking that we are good enough that we see our need for the One who paid it all for our sins. We cannot be good enough no matter how hard we try. We need Jesus to stand and cover us before God. He was the only sinless one and he took the punishment for our sins on the cross. Why is that the case? Because God said that is what He did on the cross. He took on God’s wrath for sin through His sacrificial death on the cross. Though He was sinless and perfect, He took our punishment on the cross. The Father poured out all His wrath against sin on His Son that day on the cross so that we would not have to suffer our just punishment. It is only through believing this fact that we are set free. It is believing that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died this historically verifiable death on the cross for our sins that we are set free from our just punishment before God. It is through believing in Jesus as the sacrificial lamb and that He arose from the dead bodily that we are forgiven for our lies and deceits that offend God. It is the only way. We are liars on our own merits. We are sin-filled creatures deserving hell on our own merits. We tell big ones. Small ones. Some as big as your head throughout our lives. We need Jesus more than we even realize.

Amen and Amen.

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