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Daily Devotional • December 14

Pamela Lewis
A Reading from 2 Peter 2:1-10a

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions. They will even deny the Master who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Even so, many will follow their debaucheries, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to destruction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the debauchery of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial and to keep the unrighteous until the day of judgment, when they will be punished 10 — especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust and who despise authority.

Accuracy and credibility are two big concerns for teachers and prophets. In my years as a teacher, it was of utmost importance that what I taught my students was accurate; otherwise, my pedagogical credibility would have been cast into doubt. Similarly, a false prophet whose pronouncements are untrue or misleading is unworthy and undeserving of a people’s trust. 

Jesus had warned his disciples that false prophets and teachers would come (Matt. 24:11; Mark 13:22-23), and in these opening verses, Peter attests to this, adding that they will even deny the sovereign Lord who bought our lives with his own. The corruption will be furthered by those who follow these phonies and corrupt the truth, and the teachers’ greed will exploit the gullible.

This November marked the 44th anniversary of the horrific suicide-massacre of over 900 people in Jonestown, Guyana. Though Jim Jones was by no means the first example of this dangerous type of teacher and prophet, it was under such claims of divinity and messiahship that he became cult leader of the People’s Temple and orchestrated a massive loss of human life. 

God is no respecter of persons, and if he did not spare even angels when they sinned, or people who lived before the Flood, or the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, he would not spare false teachers and prophets. How God will exact judgment from these misleaders is known only to him; but the godly will be rescued and the unrighteous will be held accountable.

My teaching days are over; yet I continue to pass along my knowledge in other ways and must still be observant of God’s expectations by being accurate and credible.

Pamela A. Lewis taught French for 30 years before retirement. A lifelong resident of Queens, New York, she attends Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and serves on various lay ministries. She writes for The Episcopal New Yorker, Episcopal Journal, and The Living Church.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Ohaji / Egbema – The Church of Nigeria
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Ft. Thomas, Kentucky
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