"Rebuke them sharply"
One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith. - Titus 1:12-13
Sounds harsh! But there is more going on here than we might think. Paul isn't engaging in a sweeping ethnic slur. He is pointing to a theological issue that is driving the people of Crete toward self-worship.
The background to the phrase "Cretans are always liars" comes from a 3rd Century writing by a poet named Callimachus. Callimachus was rebuking the people of Crete for their belief that the Olympic deities (Zeus, Hermes, Athena, Appolo, etc.) were from Crete. Cretans believed that they were more powerful than everyone else, so they moved from Crete to Olympus to rule the world. When the "gods" died, they went back to Crete to be buried.
This is the lie being attacked. And it's a lie shared by many in our culture. While most don't think that people like Zeus are real or related to them, most people in the west walk around like they are the deities of their own domains.
A. W. Tozer famously wrote: What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.–A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961),
If what comes to our mind when we think about god is "ME", we are liars. The beginning of Psalm 14 comes to mind, where David writes, "The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." - Psalm 14:1
One of the benefits of staying in God's Word is that we have a daily reminder that God is God and that we are not. Let's work together to learn humility.
Upcoming Daily Audio Bible Readings
October 27 Jeremiah 51:1-53, Titus 2:1-15, Psalm 99:1-9, Proverbs 26:17
October 28 Jeremiah 51:54-52:34, Titus 3:1-15, Psalm 100:1-5, Proverbs 26:18-19
October 29 Lamentations 1:1-2:19, Philemon 1:1-25, Psalm 101:1-8, Proverbs 26:20
October 30 Lamentations 2:20-3:66, Hebrews 1:1-14, Psalm 102:1-28, Proverbs 26:21-22
October 31 Lamentations 4:1-5:22, Hebrews 2:1-18, Psalm 103:1-22, Proverbs 26:23
November 1 Ezekiel 1:1-3:15, Hebrews 3:1-19, Psalm 104:1-23, Proverbs 26:24-26
November 2 Ezekiel 3:16-6:14, Hebrews 4:1-16, Psalm 104:24-35, Proverbs 26:27
November 3 Ezekiel 7:1-9:11, Hebrews 5:1-14, Psalm 105:1-15, Proverbs 26:28
November 4 Ezekiel 10:1-11:25, Hebrews 6:1-20, Psalm 105:16-36, Proverbs 27:1-2
November 5 Ezekiel 12:1-14:11, Hebrews 7:1-17, Psalm 105:37-45, Proverbs 27:3