In this sermon, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about the illusions of life and how easy it is to misinterpret things. Here are some excerpts:

The Moabite Army

In our text we have a classic Old Testament example of misinterpretation. Let me tell you the story. The Moabites had refused to abide by the terms of a treaty they had made with Israel. So, King Joram of Israel decided to lower the boom on them. He solicited the help of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, and they prevailed upon the King of Edom to volunteer his army also as they prepared to battle the Kingdom of Moab.

[T]he Moabite army deployed on the bank of a river, awaiting the onset of an attack by these three kings. Now this river had its source away up among the red sandstone hills; and a spring flood is on, and the stream is discolored. The water looks red because it is carrying down tons of the sandstone particles. As well as that, the rising sun is bathing the river in its bright red rays. And the Moabites, encamped on the bank of the river, leaped to the conclu3ion thot the water was full of blood! They said, “Hurrah! The kings have quarreled among themselves, and their armies have slaughtered each other. Look at the blood in the river! We will go now and collect the spoil!”


But they suffered dearly for their mistake; for when they proceeded up river to raid the camp of their enemies, they found that those enemies were alive and well, and were waiting for them, and the combined armies of the three kings cut the Moabites to shreds.

However, the point I want to underline in the story is this — What made the Moabites think that a massacre had taken place was all caused by the red sandstone particles in the water, and the rising sun shining upon the water. They shouted, “That’s blood!”, when in reality it was not blood at all. They thought a tragedy had taken place up river when actually their senses had deceived them. We sometimes make the same mistake. It seems too often that our common lot in life is frustration, disappointment, misfortune, sickness and sorrow. These things come to everyone at one time or another. Trouble is no respecter of persons. But what makes life futile or meaningful is the kind of interpretation we put upon these things. We think of them as something terrible when in reality they may not be terrible at all.

The Illusions of Life

Genius often reveals itself in the way a person interprets a thing. Multitudes of people had seen apples fall from trees. But Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple fall one day; he interpreted that natural phenomenon aright, and discovered the Law of Gravitation. Housewives for centuries had seen the lid of the kettle pop up and down as the water boiled inside, and the steam sought a way of escape. But one day Robert Watt looked upon the spectacle of the water boiling in the kettle; he interpreted it aright; and as a result, built the first steam engine.

It is so easy to misinterpret things. Let us look this morning at some of the illusions of lifeā€¦


The illusions of life. Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


September 5, 1993

2 Kings 3:22-23

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