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The Lie of Molded Bread

God warned the Israelites not to make peace with the nations of Canaan. The men of Gibeon, however, devised a plan to fool Joshua and the other leaders of Israel. They sent messengers who dressed in old clothes and worn out shoes and took molded bread with them. When they met Joshua, he asked them who they were and where they were from. They claimed to have come from far away because they had heard of all the great things God had done for Israel. As proof of this story they showed Joshua their weathered garments and spoiled food. At this point Joshua and the rulers of Israel made a big mistake: “they did not ask counsel of the Lord” (Josh. 9:14). Three days later they found out that they had been deceived, but it was too late to change the peace agreement they had sworn to keep.

How easily and how often this can happen to God’s people today! People are not always what they appear to be, and what they say is not always what they do or who they are.

Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). False teachers can look and sound convincing. They have a good voice and speak well. Their words are kind and full of hope. Love and compassion seem to surround them. But don’t be fooled. The Bible tells us to listen to what a man says, not just how he sounds or looks. There are many who use “smooth words and flattering speech” to “deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:18). We must always weigh what a man teaches in relation to what the Bible says. In spite of how pleasant or likable a person is, if he teaches “contrary to the doctrine” we must avoid him (Rom. 16:17).

Selfish politicians point to tattered clothes and molded bread to distract and deceive people. Pretending to care about others, they point to alleged problems in society and lecture us to make peace. Gays and lesbians have been bullied and we are supposed to overlook their sin and not say anything to make them feel guilty. Women who have an abortion are the victims of unwanted pregnancies and politicians tell us we should support their decision out of respect and compassion. People will die from COVID if we have church services so we should cancel worship to save lives. The Gibeonites were not the only ones who played on the sympathy of others while they hid a political agenda.

Perhaps no group plays the molded bread game better than Muslims when they enter a society they intend to convert to Islam. At first the act and the appearance are always the same: humble, peaceful, compliant. But after a while, after they have sufficient numbers, they show their true intentions. That agenda is not to blend in with another culture. It is to conquer it and replace the law system of that country with sharia. Though they have been using this trick for almost 1,400 years, it is strange that they keep playing this game and nations keep falling for it.

God wants us to be discerning, not naive. Today especially we need to “test all things” (I Thess. 5:21). We cannot afford to let others do our thinking for us.


West End Church of Christ Bulletin for October 17, 2021


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