Has God Permitted a Lying Spirit? 

Recently, I posted an article entitled,  “The Necessity of Prayer,” which was an adaptation of a message I shared at a men’s breakfast. After I finished, a pastor mentioned how the message was both needed and timely. He noted how our nation is in big trouble and proceeded to say something that sent shivers down my spine. He wondered if God has sent a lying spirit to spread its deception across America and if we have crossed a point of no return or recovery.

This might sound strange to some. After all, God is a God of truth and He cannot lie. However, the Bible teaches that among the severest of God’s judgments is the giving people/societies over to their sins. For example, this is what is described in Romans 1. God reveals himself to people who then suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. The judgment, as described throughout the chapter, comes in three stages—each as a result of rejecting God and His ways: 1) the giving people over to their immorality; 2) the giving people over to their perversions; and 3) the giving people over to a debased mind, as they delight and applaud one another in their wickedness. Whether persons want to acknowledge it, America has gone through each of these stages. We live in a society in which evil is not only tolerated but embraced.

As for permitting a lying spirit, this too is an act of judgement, a punishment fitting the crime. Ironically, and tragically, God permits individuals who despise truth to receive lies, which is exactly what they want. We see an example of this in 1 Kings.

Ahab was one of the most evil of the kings of Israel. The reign of him and his wife, Jezebel, was one of bloodshed, occultism, and hatred of God’s people—especially His prophets, because they spoke against his wickedness. During a situation when he was seeking an alliance with Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, to go to war with him against the Syrians. The false prophets were saying what Ahab wanted to hear, that he would have the victory. Jehoshaphat was not impressed, so he inquired if there was an actual prophet of the Lord they could hear from. Notice what Ahab says: “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8). Well, duh! Because you continuously did what was evil, Ahab! Anyway, here is what the Bible says regarding Ahab’s fate:

And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak.” And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’” And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.”

Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of the Lord go from me to speak to you?” And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself.” And the king of Israel said, “Seize Micaiah, and take him back to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this fellow in prison and feed him meager rations of bread and water, until I come in peace.”’” And Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, all you peoples!” ~ 1 Kings 22:13-28

Even though Ahab witnessed the truth of prophets such as Elijah and Micaiah, he had such hatred for God and His messengers he would rather embrace lies than yield to truth, though it would have preserved his life. In no way did God lie or deceive Ahab. As Bible teacher, Warren Weirsbe notes, God actually revealed truth to Ahab concerning what would happen if he rejected Micaiah’s warnings. But so intense was Ahab’s hatred, he would rather die in a lie, which is exactly what happened.

America has forbidden God in its institutions, mocks Him in her entertainment, and applauds all that is contrary to His ways. Politicians who are known to be corrupt and habitual liars are applauded. Persons who try to speak any truth or reasonableness are resisted with vehemence. And ideologies, such as Marxism, are taking root, despite the fact they have never worked and have brought unimaginable cruelty and suffering to tens of millions of people, trampling both freedom and human dignity. 

Our society has become one that, indeed, calls evil good and good evil. Increasingly criminals are being defended while the law-abiding are penalized. And on it goes. “Truth” can be shaped into anything vile or perverse and be accepted, just as long as it jettisons facts, common sense, decency, and integrity.

Not only has God given America over to its immorality, perversions, and debased thinking, it also seems likely He has permitted a lying spirit to tell society what it wants to hear so that it will believe the lie. The danger America is in is incomprehensible. Her only hope is by turning to the Lord. But I’m afraid she is like Ahab, in that she would rather die in a lie, rather than yield to God and live. Oh, the tragedy of it all.