In judgment, God will send strong delusions unto those who do not answer when He calls or hear Him when He speaks. Because they choose to go on in their own ways and thus do evil in His sight, God will choose their delusions.
…Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear; but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:3,4)
… they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Why exactly is it that God chooses and sends strong delusions to those who do not receive the love of the truth? He is the righteous judge who presides over all His creation  and is, therefore, the One who pronounces judgments upon all those He judges . He is our God, our creator and sustainer. Accordingly, He is the One who sets the bounds of our habitation – for all of us – according to His judgments of how we respond to and respect His words . For those who refuse to abide in the truth by obeying His words, God has prepared places of delusion that are outside of the truth, namely places of outer darkness.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; who love not the truth, but remain in unrighteousness… (Romans 1:18-32)
For every one who doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he who loveth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest. (John 3:20,21)
God chose this form of judgment for King Ahab (I Kings 22), a wicked king who presided over Israel in the days of Elijah (see I Kings 16 and I Kings 17). Instead of being called a man after God’s own heart like David before him, Ahab was described as a man which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord (I Kings 21:25). For his evil ways, the Lord sent Ahab a delusion befitting his rebellion against God. On Ahab’s part, he could then choose to repent and return unto the Lord in humility and truth or to become subject to the delusion God chose for him along with its consequences. Sadly, Ahab chose the latter.
As Ahab and the king of Judah, name Jehoshaphat, met together to contemplate waging war against the king of Syria, they called for the king’s prophets to advise them concerning the matter (I King 22:5-10). About four hundred were assembled and, in agreement, said that the Lord would cause this pair of kings to be victorious over their enemy. Apparently not settled with their answer, Jehoshaphat asked Ahab if there was not a prophet there by whom they might inquire of the Lord. Ahab knew of one whose name was Micaiah .
Before calling on Micaiah to prophesy, Ahab told Jehoshaphat how he hated this particular prophet. Why? In his words, “he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (I King 22:8). After being charged by Ahab to tell him nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord, Micaiah proceeded to tell the king the vision:
And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also; go forth, and do so. (I Kings 22:19-22)
Micaiah then concluded with these words:
Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. (I Kings 22:23)
While Micaiah was testifying before the two kings, Ahab commented to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?” In other words, Ahab anticipated the word of God, but he chose to reject it. Instead of choosing to repent of the things that brought God’s judgments upon him and his kingdom, Ahab chose to listen to the lying spirit. Why? It spoke well of him rather than convicting or condemning him for his doings. In other words, this lying spirit perpetuated Ahab’s disobedience by encouraging him to continue pursuing his own ways rather than to serve the living God according to His will.
Instead of gladly thanking this prophet of God for the counsel he brought them, after hearing Micaiah speak, Ahab had him imprisoned. And because Ahab rejected the words of the Lord, as Micaiah had prophesied, Ahab ended up dying in the battle with his enemies. The lying spirit that God sent to speak by the mouth of the prophets unto Ahab prevailed just as the Lord said he would.
Ahab serves as yet another example of how the Spirit of truth will not always strive with a person or a group of people who resist the truth and do not receive it. Those who continue to resist the truth will also hate and resist those sent by God to deliver His word unto them; and because they reject the word of the Lord, His judgments must inevitably come upon them.
Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth; behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. (Jeremiah 6:18,19)
As the opening scriptures in this post affirm, God’s judgments can and do come in the form of delusions, which result in a separation from the truth. In words penned by Paul, the objective of God sending delusions in judgment upon those who do not receive the love of the truth is that they will believe lies (i.e. something which is outside of the truth they have rejected). It is essential to our salvation, therefore, that we understand how God judges us according to His word, namely by those words spoken by Jesus Christ and the messengers He sends to us to speak His word (which is truth).
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47,48)
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:24-26)
Those who are willing to receive the Lord’s instruction and counsel will continue to receive from Him words of life. Those who do not will have taken from them that which they have already received.
It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)
Take heed therefore how ye hear; for whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given; and whosoever receiveth not from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (Luke 8:18)
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear; for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you; and unto you that continue to receive, shall more be given; for he that receiveth, to him shall be given; but he that continueth not to receive, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (Mark 4:20)
For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; But whosoever continueth not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they, seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:10-12)
Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of body and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:11-13)
The word of God is truth, and everyone who refuses to receive God’s word will have those words replaced by delusions, specifically delusions of God’s choosing. In other words, there are consequences, severe consequences, for resisting and rejecting God’s word. Graphically speaking, those who are sent strong delusions by God become encapsulated by them in a shroud of darkness. Like a cocoon, such delusions are effective in shutting them out of the presence of the truth they have resisted and ultimately rejected. Thus, the delusions God chooses and sends separate those worthy of receiving such judgments from the light of His presence. Nevertheless, the Lord is merciful to all those who repent and call on Him.
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; And rend your heart, and not your garments, and repent, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and he will turn away the evil from you. Therefore repent, and who knoweth but he will return and leave a blessing behind him; that you may offer a meat offering, and a drink offering, unto the Lord your God? … And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:12-32)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise and coming, as some men count slackness; but long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (I John 1:5-10)
This is the the gospel, and we can rest assured that if we call upon the Lord in faith, believing in His word, He will hear our prayers and restore us unto Himself in the glorious light of His truth.
And the same word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bear witness of him, and cried, saying, This is he of whom I spake; He who cometh after me, is preferred before me; for he was before me. For in the beginning was the Word, even the Son, who is made flesh, and sent unto us by the will of the Father. And as many as believe on his name shall receive of his fullness. And of his fullness have all we received, even immortality and eternal life, through his grace. (John 1:14-16)
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:8-16)
Yet once again I am constrained to affirm that while God does hear those who call upon Him in faith with an upright heart, He is far from those who resist His word and pursue their own wills.
The Lord is far from the wicked; but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. (Jude 1:17-19)
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth; they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice eggs, and weave the spider’s web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. (Isaiah 59:1-7)
In conclusion, I encourage everyone to remember Daniel who witnessed firsthand the devastating effects which had come upon his people because they had separated themselves from the Lord their God. As a result of their refusal to live according to His word, they had come to experience a confusion of faces. Daniel’s response to this devastating condition was to obey the Lord and call upon His holy name in contrition and humble submission. Instead of resisting the Lord’s word as others had done, Daniel chose to seek the Lord’s mercy and compassion in calling upon the Lord to rescue his people and to restore them unto Himself.
- In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
- In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
- And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes;
- And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
- We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments;
- Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
- O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
- O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
- To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
- Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
- Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
- And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil; for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
- As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us; yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
- Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us; for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth; for we obeyed not his voice.
- And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
- O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
- Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
- O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name; for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
- O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God; for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
This is my earnest prayer as well: that everyone who is suffering under a similar confusion of faces as Daniel’s people had experienced may join Daniel in praying to be restored unto the one true God in humility and sincerity of heart. According to God’s word, this is a fitting prayer for all the nations and peoples of the earth.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (Isaiah 45:22-24)