Updated: Feb 6
During the week as I drive to my office, I almost always turn on the local radio station and listen to the news. On a recent morning, one of the main stories being covered was about a well known musical artist who was suing a lesser known artist for imitating them on a remix of one of their songs. My first thoughts when I heard the report of the lawsuit was of a quote I first heard when I was child attributed to Oscar Wilde, which stated that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
As I drove, I continued to think about both the news story and the quote. I realized that while it may be true that sometimes imitation is intended to be flattery or honoring, when I thought more about the concept of imitation, especially in Biblical context, the less I saw it as flattering and the more I understood it was purposefully deceptive.
It seemed somewhat coincidental that the news story about one singer suing another singer, for imitating them in a newly released song, was reported during the same time that I was reading about Moses’ interaction with Pharaoh and his magicians. Those magicians, like the singer, were able to imitate the actions of Moses to a point. But, the imitations were limited and one dimensional when compared to the original. In the case of the singer, he could only sound like the original singer; he could never actually become the original singer. In the case of the magicians, they could turn their staffs into serpents, but their serpents were swallowed up by Moses’ serpent. The magicians' staffs were cheap imitations that may have looked the same as Moses’ staff, but were not the same as Moses’ staff.
The book of Exodus is not the first time that we see a failed attempt at imitation in the Bible. Satan has been making failed attempts at imitating the things of G-D, or G-D Himself, since the very beginning of the Bible. However, like the magician’s staffs, all of satan's attempts are merely cheap copies. However, just because the adversary's imitations are cheap copies, doesn’t mean that no one falls prey to his deceptions. We only have to open our eyes in our world to see the effects of the deceptive imitations the deceiver presents as real, especially within the Body of Believers.
G-D gave us love, true love. Love is about serving and giving of one's self to and for another. Satan offers to mankind lust as a cheap imitation of love. Lust may feel similar, but lust is about receiving, not giving, and lust is self-centered. Love results in strong families. Lust results in fornication, adultery, sodomy, rape, incest, and sex trafficking.
It is no secret that sexual immorality is rampant among people who claim to be Bible believers. Sex before marriage, adultery, and homosexuality have become accepted within congregations as leaders say, “who are we to judge the love of those around us?” The problem is that what they are speaking about isn’t love; it is sin. It is lust-driven sexual immorality doing a poor imitation of love.
G-D gave us leadership, true leadership, which is about serving, about protecting those you are responsible for, and a willingness to lay one's life down for those who are under your guidance and direction. Satan offers mankind control. Control is about getting your will, being served and feared, forcing others to obey your will. Unfortunately, too many “leaders" among the Body of Messiah are not leaders at all; they are controllers. They abuse their positions for personal gain and use verses from the Bible as weapons of control, rather than tools of freedom.
We only have to watch the news to see the many religious organizations and denominations whose “leadership” are promoting lust and control, instead of love and leadership. They are twisting G-D’s Holy Word in order to keep those in their sheepfolds blinded by the sin-colored glasses that keep them from seeing the truth. These leaders have accepted the false and counterfeit because the fake feeds their egos and fills their coffers with cash. Instead of feeding their sheep in good pastures by still waters, they feed their sheep in pastures of lust and greed so that they can continue to feed their own power and dominion.
I know that as you read this you can make a list of many other imitations that satan is trying to pass off as replacements for what G-D gave to us. We can look around our world and see these imitations and the many people who have been deceived by their leaders to accept those imitations. It seems as though every day there are thousands of Pharaoh's magicians casting their staffs forth to become serpents all around us, and as they do, more and more people see the false power they present and fall for the deception. They mistake the imitation for the real and settle for lust and control, instead of love and leadership.
Be assured that there is soon coming a day when G-D’s staff will consume all of satan’s staffs and the imitations will be revealed for the deceptive counterfeits that they truly are. But, until that time comes, please join me in speaking truth to both those who have been deceived and those who present these lies as truth. Let’s stand up alongside Moses and boldly proclaim to those who have placed our people in bondage: “Let Our People Go!” After all, it doesn’t matter how good an imitation seems to be - it still is only a fake.