God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19
Did you hear the good news?
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, recently told a group of students in Tehran that their chant "Death to America!" is really not a threat to the lives of any Americans. On the contrary, it is aimed at the U.S. foreign policy.
As the supreme leader said, "The American nation is just like the rest of the nations. It ... means death to U.S. policies and its arrogance."
I was comforted by that bit of knowledge. No longer did I have to be concerned for the Americans who are imprisoned in that country, having been jailed on bogus charges. No longer did I have to fear the possibility of the Iranian government getting a nuclear bomb. Now I understood when those giant Iranian mobs are chanting "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" it's sort of like a person in our country saying, 'We need a change in Washington."
When I was explaining my relief to a group of people, one of them said, "Pastor, did you ever hear the word 'al-taqiyya'?" I hadn't. So I looked it up.
In a nutshell, al-taqiyya means it is acceptable for a Muslim to lie when it is in the best interest of his religion for him to do so. Indeed, their god will not judge them harshly, or at all, when a Muslim lies in a cause which is going to benefit the faith. Indeed, a lie in the defense of Islam is approved of and even recommended in their "holy" books.
So, when the Ayatollah makes his statement about what the chant "Death to America!" means, he may be telling the truth and he may be lying through his teeth. Without looking into his heart, I have no way of knowing.
What a difference there is between the two faiths.
We have the Savior who said, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6b). Along with that, the Lord has given us the rest of His Holy Word, which is also true.
Most importantly for this devotion are the words of Peter who wrote, "Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:12). In short, we are to tell the truth to each other and to those who are not part of the family of faith.
Christianity knows and professes that our faith, which is founded on the truth given by the Triune God, should not be tarnished nor blasphemed by its followers. On the contrary, in the Old Testament book of Zechariah, the Lord instructs: "These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace" (Zechariah 8:16).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that I can believe You in all things. Most of all I appreciate the truth of forgiveness and salvation that is mine through the Savior's sufferings. In His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries