Living With the Truth (1), By Femi Aribisala
When Isaiah met the Truth, he knew he was in big trouble.
God told Moses that the children of Israel should bring Him an offering. He asked for gold, silver, and bronze. Blue, purple and scarlet thread. Fine linen and goat’s hair. Ram’s skins, badger skins, and acacia wood. Oil, spices, and sweet incense.
He left the bombshell for the last. He said: “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8).
This means trouble. “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: ‘Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?’ He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil.” (Isaiah 33:14-15).
Who is the person going to live among the Israelites? The Truth is going to live among them.
Who Is the Truth?
Jesus told Pilate that He came from heaven to testify to the Truth. Pilate asked him whimsically: “What is Truth?” He did not even wait for an answer but simply walked away.
What indeed is Truth? The truth in the bible is not abstract but real and tangible. The truth is a person with a personality. The truth in the bible is Jesus Christ. Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).
In effect, when Pilate asked: “What is Truth?” the Truth was staring at him in the face. He did not know the Truth and could not be bothered with the Truth. It is near impossible to know the truth if you have been living with lies and liars. When this happens, you can no longer differentiate the Truth from falsehood.
Nevertheless, the Truth wants to live in the midst of His people. That means living in the midst of lies and liars. How can that possibly work? Something has to give. For the Truth to live with liars, the hail will have to sweep away the refuge of lies. (Isaiah 28:17).
I can imagine the people saying to Moses: “Please look for a way to tell him not to come. Or you can tell Him He cannot come now. Tell Him to come next year.”
“Tell Him He can come after we have finished paying our debts.” “What debts?” “We are debtors to the flesh. We owe our flesh some worldly achievements: we cannot accomplish them with the Truth. We owe our flesh a certain reputation: we cannot accomplish this with the Truth. We owe our flesh a certain status in life: we cannot accomplish this with the Truth.”
“How long will it take for you to pay back all your debts so the Truth can come to stay with you?” “Not long! Give or take 5 years at the most.” “No,” says the Holy Spirit, “it will take you a lifetime.”
Way of Escape
When David met the Truth, he started looking for a way of escape. Since he could find no earthly counselor, he ended up asking the Truth Himself. He said:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7-10).
When Isaiah met the Truth, he knew he was in big trouble. He cried out: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5).
When Peter met the Truth, he wanted to run away. He said: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8).
Knowing the Truth is different from knowing the scriptures. The Pharisees knew the scriptures but did not know the Truth. The scriptures are just a road map directing us to the Truth. Therefore, the Truth says to the Pharisees: “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” (John 5:39-40).
It is a waste of time to stop at the road map. It is a waste of time to stop at the road sign. The Truth is the destination. Therefore, we need to proceed to the destination. We need to know Jesus, the Truth.
The Pharisees knew the scriptures but did not know the Truth. They knew the scriptures but walked in lies. Therefore, when the Truth came in person, they could not stand Him. They ended up by deciding to silence Him.
But you cannot kill the Truth. You can do nothing against the Truth but for the Truth. (2 Corinthians 13:8).
Fighting the Truth
The Truth is: “despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:3).
Herodias had John the Baptist killed for telling the truth about her adultery with her husband’s brother. But killing John the Baptist did not remove the truth of Her adultery. The only thing that could do that was repentance. Repentance means agreeing with the Truth and deciding to walk in truth.
However, most people cannot even live with themselves, how much more with the Truth. They don’t like themselves. They hate who they are. So, they walk in lies and not in the Truth. They prefer to be told lies and not the Truth.
Some are so disgusted with who they are, they go into depression. Some take refuge in alcohol and drugs. Some even end up committing suicide.
But why do we hate the Truth. We hate the Truth because the Truth is bitter. We hate the Truth because the Truth exposes us. We hate the Truth because the Truth reveals our awful secrets. We hate the Truth because we believe in self-deception. We hate the Truth because we don’t like ourselves. We hate the Truth because we are not who we want to be. We hate the Truth because we are not who we claim to be.
Jerry Brown-Johnson brought a man to our fellowship at Healing Wings. He was very excited about the fellowship initially. But suddenly, he stopped coming. Jerry said he felt coming to church makes him a hypocrite. There were too many things wrong with his life. He felt he should not come to church when he has not yet dealt with them.
But the problem of this man was not his hypocrisy. His problem was not even his sins, whatever they might have been. His problem was that he did not know the Truth. The truth saves us without condemning us. He declares: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13).