A Strong Delusion
By Jeremy Hodges
With our limited perspective and limited wisdom, it is sometimes difficult to understand God's methods for bringing about His will. This is one of the places that requires faith, because it is not a situation we can see and readily understand the purpose of. We must have faith that God's work is for the good, even when we cannot see His purposes. . We must have faith that His methods will bring about the best result.
We read about God's character of goodness, righteousness and honesty, and so we sometimes believe that the only people who should have success are the good and honest. However, there are times when we see the situation unfolding before us that seems to favor the brutal, dishonest, or wicked. In those times we must also have faith that God can use the schemes and actions of evil to bring about good.
When Pharaoh was being told the truth by Moses concerning the real God's intentions, he scoffed and refused. Moses was prepared to demonstrate miraculous powers to convince him. Imagine Moses' surprise when Pharaoh magicians replicated those early miracles. (Exodus 7:11-13, 22:8;8:7)
In each case, it seemed like a loss, because, "Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as YHWH had said."
However, this allowed the plagues to become stronger and more effective, and even the magicians themselves had to proclaim, "this is the finger of God." (Exodus 8:18-19) Ahithophel conspired against David by siding with Absalom, even though he had previously been a trusted advisor, and almost never wrong. (II Samuel 15:31;16:23) David had a spy in Absalom's ranks, however, who was tasked with giving advice that was beneficial to David, albeit lying advice. (II Samuel 15:32-37)
When Ahithophel gave Absalom sound advice that would have effectively given Absalom the throne, David's spy Hushai the Archite gave bad advice that would help David. Then Absalom, and all the men of Israel said, "The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel, so that YHWH might bring calamity on Absalom." (II Samuel 17:14) God allowed a lie to succeed, so that He might save David and harm his usurper son.
Those who set themselves up as God's enemies will often fall for the lies told by those who tell them what they want to hear. When Paul talked about tumultuous events of the first century with the saints of Thessalonica, he said it had a purpose. There was going to be a lying figure who would deceive "those who perish." (II Thessalonians 2:10) This might make little sense, until we realize who is being fooled and why. God would allow a lie to succeed "because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness." (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)
God allows delusion and falsehood to succeed so that those who refuse the truth will be invited to their own destruction. We all have the choice to follow the good, or take pleasure in wickedness. Which will we choose?