Case Studies - Measuring Truth

There are many examples in the Bible where people sought God to guide them into truth and measured truth correctly, and those who did not and measured incorrectly.

Truth of What Was: Joshua 9

The ninth chapter of Joshua records an incident where Joshua and the leaders of Israel measure the truth incorrectly. The people of Gibeon lived in the land of Canaan. They were afraid that Israel was going to destroy them. In a desperate effort to avoid this they attempted to deceive Israel into measuring the truth incorrectly. The people of Gibeon took old sacks, old mended wine skins, patched sandals, worn-out clothes, dried crumbling bread, and came to the people of Israel. They pointed to the state of their provisions and presented it as evidence they had made a long journey. Like us today, Israel had two means available to them to perceive the truth. They had their perception and understanding and they had the perception of a guide. The perceived the state of the provisions and understood it took time for provisions to be as worn out as the Gibeonite provisions were. This, though, was not sufficient for measuring the truth. So, in addition to their perception they trusted in the word of a guide - the Gibeonites! The Gibeonites declared the state of the provisions was evidence that they had begun their journey a long time before. Israel measure the truth using their perception of the evidence and the testimony of the Gibeonites to guide them. As the scripture notes: they did not seek God’s testimony to determine the truth of what was.

Truth of What Is: Elisha and the Syrian army (2 Kings 6:14-17)

The Syrians sent horses, chariots, and a large army to kill or capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up and went outside he saw that they were surrounded by the Syrian army. From the evidence he perceived it looked like they were trapped. Elisha prayed and asked God to open his servant’s eyes so that he could correctly perceive that “those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” God opened the servant’s eyes and he saw horses and fiery chariots from God covering the mountain.

Truth of What Will Be: Elisha and the Siege of Samaria (2 Kings 6:24-7:16)

The Syrian army had laid siege to Samaria and a famine resulted. Food was so scarce that the prices were very high. When the king of Samaria sent to Elisha, Elisha told the king that by that time the next day six quarts of fine flour would sell for only a shekel and half a bushel of barley for a shekel. The servant of the king looked at the evidence of the situation and mis-measured the truth of what would be. “This couldn’t happen if God made windows in heaven!” God caused the Syrian army to flee and when Israel recovered the provisions the Syrian army had left behind there was so much food that six quarts of fine flour sold for a shekel and half a bushel of barley for a shekel.

Perceiving Truth with No Evidence (Daniel 2:1-47)

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream and demanded the wise men tell him the dream and the meaning of the dream. The wise men had no evidence to use to measure the truth of what the king had dreamed or its meaning. Daniel prayed and God showed him the truth of both the dream and its meaning.