Scams and Deceptions…

There is a new phone scam making the rounds. And to be sure, until last evening I didn’t know anything about it. But I had to learn quickly and get up to speed because I almost got caught in it. However, before moving forward, perhaps it would be best to rewind a little and bring you up to speed.

Last evening, right after dinner, the phone rang and a sheriff’s deputy from Marion County was on the line, notifying me that I had failed to report to the court for jury duty. He went on to tell me that a summons had been delivered to our home in late August – on the 24th to be specific. And that I was in violation for not reporting to court earlier this week. He went on to indicate our address, apparently knew that I had filled out a jury questionnaire earlier this year, and seemed to have information that I assumed only an officer of the law would have access to.

I was concerned, never having had anything like this happen before, but I will tell you that it sounded mighty official. The officer gave me options for reporting to the sheriff’s office to sign an affidavit indicating that I never received the summons or they could send an officer to the house, bringing the paperwork with him. There was a list of things, including several forms of ID, that they requested from me before they let me know that there would be a payment due based on a document issued by the court.

Now mind you, this probably seems to you that I was gullible, and perhaps I was. But when he started talking about payments without any citation or written documentation of any kind, I sensed something wrong. I asked Janet to call our son who has several friends in the police department and asked the officer to hold while I got a quick lesson in the legal protocol behind a “failure to appear” notice.

I was advised to tell the officer that I would decline his offer to settle this matter last evening and he then threatened to “bring me in…” I stood my ground and finally interrupted the officer, telling him I would wait for a bench warrant for my arrest. Apparently, some time while he was on hold as I was determining my next move, he finally hung up. I immediately called the sheriff’s department and they suggested that I had been scammed.

I was called back by the department and they confirmed that this new scam was making the rounds in central Indiana. For several minutes, being new to all this, I was almost convinced that I had inadvertently broken the law and was relieved that it had all been an attempt to collect money in some kind of scheme. And that was no small amount of change – the scammers wanted $998. No way…

I was relieved but, of course, you know that this reminded me of a biblical parallel. I couldn’t help but recall how the things that Satan says are slightly off, but close to, what God says. If we don’t listen carefully, Satan can deceive us – even the most knowledgable among us, because he twists the things of the Lord and tries to make us believe falsehoods.

One of the most glaring examples of this is an omission of Satan when dealing with Jesus in the wilderness. Satan “quotes” God the Father when speaking to Jesus in the book of Matthew. Satan tries to deceive Jesus by telling Him, in Matthew 4:6, “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’’ But the problem here is that Satan didn’t correctly quote God. The real Scripture, our verse for the evening, can be found in Psalm 91:11-12, where the psalmist tells us, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

This psalm has been studied for generations and the general consensus of biblical scholars is that it is a prayer of safe passage for weary travelers – not that we should test God and do foolish things to see if He will save us. Also notice that the real passage indicated that God commands His angels will “guard you in all your ways” – and that entire line is absent from what Satan “quotes” to Jesus. I think it is pretty important that God’s angels will protect us in ALL our ways – don’t you? In fact, that gives me some comfort…

My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to stick close to Him and know the truth – to not be deceived by Satan. To do that, we have to be on our toes and listen carefully so we don’t get it wrong. My prayer is that we will make sure that we all stay close to the Father and His Son, asking for their protection from Satan. After all, Satan is a master of deceit – much better than any human deceiver and as I can attest, some of them are pretty convincing! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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