Lying Out of Fear

Joshua called together the Gibeonites and said, ‘Why did you lie to us? Why did you say that you live in a distant land when you live right here among us? May you be cursed! From now on you will always be servants who cut wood and carry water for the house of my God.’ They replied, ‘We did it because we—your servants—were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded his servant Moses to give you this entire land and to destroy all the people living in it. So we feared greatly for our lives because of you. That is why we have done this. Now we are at your mercy—do to us whatever you think is right.’”—Joshua 9:22–25 (NLT)

Do you like being lied to? Of course not. No one likes being lied to. The other day I was watching Star Wards Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi and couldn’t help but feel super angry for Luke when he talks to Obi-Wan for the first time since learning that Darth Vader was actually his father. He says, “What I told you was true, from a certain point of view.” To this, Luke incredulously responds, “A certain point of view?” Yeah, I’d be pretty peeved by that bush league answer, too. And here’s the thing . . . I wholeheartedly believe that the real reason Obi-Wan lied about who Vader was because he was afraid that Luke wouldn’t do what needed to be done if he knew the truth. Lying is always wrong but often people think lying out of fear makes it a little better. Fact: it doesn’t. Lying out of fear rarely yields the results we want it to.

In today’s verse, we find the Gibeonites have been caught in their lie. And when Joshua confronts them about their lie, what was their answer? “We did it because we—your servants—were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded his servant Moses to give you this entire land and to destroy all the people living in it. So we feared greatly for our lives because of you. That is why we have done this.” Again . . . lying out of fear rarely yields the results we want it to. And in this case, their fear caused them to deceive the Israelites, effectively indenturing themselves as servants to the Israelites. 

Whether it’s broken trust, serious ramifications at home or work, or simply the mental toll of having to remember who you lied to about what, there is always a cost to lying. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any differently. It’s funny how often people consider the commandments from God to be restrictive and believe that they keep people from having fun and living to the fullest. It’s just the opposite! God’s commandments are ALWAYS for our good and the good of those around us. And He commands us not to lie, just as He commands us not to covet, steal, or kill, in order that we may be able to enjoy life, live freely, and experience the fullness of what He created us to be! 

So, friends, I encourage you to think twice before lying. Like the Gibeonites, you may be putting yourself in a bad situation. 

DIG: Why did the Gibeonites lie? What are some reasons you’ve lied in the past?

DISCOVER: What does the Bible say about lying? How have you seen lies impact your life? 

DO: Consider lies that you’ve told and reach out and confess to people who you’ve lied to.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.