In the book of Numbers, found in the Pentateuch, one of the prophets states, “God is not a man, that he should…” The question is do what? If you had to fill in the rest of the verse, what trait of man would you contrast with God? Kill? Steal? Cheat? Hoard? Sin?
The entire verse reads, “God is not a man, that he should… lie.” In separating men from God, the prophet chooses “lie”. Why?
Turn on the news and in every arena of life you will hear stories of people doing what they can to take advantage of others. Read the newspaper and you will find countless stories of people saying one thing but doing the other. Most every person on earth has experienced the impact of others breaking promises, cheating to get ahead, and in untold ways lying to satisfy their own gain.
It was because of the shameful and selfish things that Moses witnessed others do that we read in Exodus that he named his son “Gershom; for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land (Exodus 2:22). As Ole Anthony relates, a more literal translation of Gershom is, “I have been an alien in a bizarre world.”
Probably many times we have all felt the same way as we have been baffled by the behavior of others. From obtuse politicians to banking scams to abusive religious leaders, watching the way people act and trying to understand their choices is often an effort in futility. How often do we look around and wonder if we are from a different planet than the rest of humanity?
So when the prophet speaks about the divine he shares, “You know what makes God different than people? He doesn’t lie.”
That means that what he says, he will do. What he promises, he will make happen.
He had great expectation, excitement and faith that when he prayed and asked God to work based on the promises of scripture that he could trust the outcome. Having a sense of anticipation about God is essential to faith. It is believing that God is not a man that he should lie, so when he makes a promise people can take that promise at face value. Indeed, they can base their very lives and faith on his words.
What happens when someone really gets ahold of the belief that God doesn’t lie? Why not ask yourself that very thing. In the next article we will meet a woman who has lived that very way. For seven years she didn’t say a word. What she did instead would make history. You can do the very same thing when you trust God with expectation.