He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. (KJV)
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. (ESV)
In the book of Acts, Luke tells us about the Jews in Berea: “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts, 17:11, NIV)
They heard the message, and it was intriguing! Yet, they were careful enough to study what was being sold to them as truth.
Of Cults and Purchases
A big reason Protestant and Evangelical Christians have pushed reading and knowing the Bible so much is because of what may come from an uninformed people.
If someone gives information backed with enough facts and it sounds exciting, people are willing to listen. Especially in a hurting and broken world, news of hope and peace can be easily and eagerly lapped up by the hurting masses.
This is why heresies and cults are able to arise so easily. Even though there is a blatant lie (such as Jesus being the highest of angels, from Jehovah’s Witnesses, or some people can attain godhood, from the Latter-Day Saints [Mormon]), an uneducated mind is willing to accept it. It is only by studying the facts that the truth is revealed.
Having been in sales and retail most of my adult life, I can tell you how true this is on the most basic of levels. A crafty salesman can convince a person that they need a particular item, and many people fall for this. Someone else must clean up the mess when the customer comes back complaining and needing to return the product.
They were sold something they thought they needed, what they were told they needed, and not what was best for them.
Are we seeking truth or simply what we want to hear?
We cannot simply take what is told to us as truth. There are enough people out there who will twist the gospel for their own purposes. (To be fair, some pastors and speakers misquote and take out of context on accident. Then it is important to study to help keep the message pure!)
When these people “states his case” about God, through Scripture God is the One who examines them.
“He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.” (Psalm 11:4)
Lord, help us listen to truth and not be deceived. On a daily basis, may our prayer to You be “Test me, Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 23:2). May we be found honest and find truth through You.