They Can’t Both Be Right (Jacob 7)

by | Mar 22, 2017 | Scripture Study | 3 comments

thumb_argument_couple.jpg

One of my favorite movies from years ago is “Fiddler on the Roof,” a story about Tevye, the milkman, struggling to hang onto old traditions in the face of a changing world. In a memorable scene, a young rebel (who would eventually marry one of Tevye’s daughters) tries to convince the circle of traditional older men to take notice of what is happening in the world outside of their little village. The dialogue goes like this:

Man 1: Why should I care about what’s going on in the outside world? Let the outside world take care of itself.

Tevye: He’s right.

Young Rebel: Nonsense! You can’t close your eyes to what’s happening in the world!

Tevye: He’s right.

Man 2 (addressing Tevye): He’s right and he’s right? They can’t both be right.

Tevye: You know, you are also right!

In Jacob 7, Jacob concludes his portion of the narrative by relating an account of a man named Sherem who was going out of his way to undermine the faith of the people and contradict Jacob’s teachings about Christ. Here is a description of Sherem based on Jacob’s account:

  • Well-educated
  • Speaks with confidence like he’s got it all figured out
  • Knows how to reach people through flattery and well-chosen words
  • May have some knowledge of the scriptures but rejects portions he disagrees with
  • Uses all of the above to influence people to share his viewpoint

Perhaps you know someone like this. Most of us do. This is someone who is hard to argue with because he seems to have all the answers. The easy thing to do with someone like this is to acknowledge that his points are valid and his position has merit. But if his position is the exact opposite of yours, how can you do that? They can’t both be right!

Just because someone is a good debater doesn’t mean his position is correct. I took a debating class years ago, and one of the exercises was to take one side of an argument and effectively present that position and then switch sides and effectively argue the opposite position. Which side was actually right didn’t matter — you were learning how to make the side you represented sound right by effective use of words, examples, quotations, passion, etc.

When it comes to religion, opposing viewpoints can bring about sensitive situations. Since none of us is God — in theory, we are each receiving messages or direction from God and proceeding accordingly — how can we say that someone’s message from God is wrong? However, if I say I’ve received a message from God and you say you’ve received a message from God and the two messages are exactly opposite, there is only one explanation — one of us got it wrong. They can’t both be right.

In Jacob 7, Sherem demands a meeting with Jacob where he firmly asserts his position that there is no such thing as a Christ to come. He says that Jacob can’t prove it, so why should he or any logical person believe such a thing? Jacob could have said, “Maybe you’re right” or “Let’s just agree to disagree,” but these types of responses would have left the people confused.

Instead, Jacob called down the power of God, and Sherem fell to the earth and was incapacitated for several days, after which he admitted that he had been deceived by the devil, and then he died. This educated, polished, and confident man had to admit that he was wrong and Jacob was right. After all, they couldn’t both be right.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus said He is the only way to God; others say He is not the only way. They can’t both be right.

So, although we should definitely not be disrespectful to people with different beliefs than ours, let’s be careful about compromising our beliefs to earn labels like “tolerant” and “politically correct.” We need to understand that by acknowledging that opposing beliefs could be correct, we’re also saying that our beliefs could be wrong.

Some would have you believe that everyone’s beliefs are right, even those that are opposite to each other — obviously, that position is the most false of all.

Bio Jerry

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

Author

  • Brother Jerry Valenti

    Brother Jerry lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with wife Sister Pat and daughter Maria.

3 Comments

  1. Brother Gary Thompson

    Brother Jerry, I love how you lay things out. Very helpful. Thank GOD.

    Reply
  2. Enza Pusillo

    Amen!! Truth matters and it matters to God!! Thank you for laying out God’s truth that is found in His word; is His truth that sets us free!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    sounds exactly like the corrupt lawyers, corrupt politicians, and corrupt judges of this country that are fulfilling the ancient prophecies of Alma 10:27 and Helaman 5:2, and the modern prophecies of the Songs of Zion.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further Reading

Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

I heard the following story about 20 years ago. It may or may not be true, but it provides a good intro for this article. In the late 1990s, the most popular play on Broadway was the stage adaptation of Disney’s “The Lion King.” It was very difficult to get tickets...

Read More

You Never Know What You’re Going to Catch

Jesus concludes a day of sharing parables with this one: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but...

Read More

Never Miss a New Article

Subscribe to Our Email List
Sign up and get every new blog post sent straight to your inbox so you always have the day’s devotional at your fingertips.

We never share your email address with anyone for any reason, and we use it only to send you Gospel Blog emails. Just articles, not ads!

Your Story for God’s Glory

Share Your Testimony on Miracle Monday

We devote Miracle Monday to sharing miracle stories. From finding a lost wedding ring to healing cancer on the spot, Jesus Christ has done it all, big and small.

And we want to hear about what He’s done for you.

The Gospel Blog Is Open for Submissions

We encourage devotional-style or scripture-based articles in the ballpark of 500 words. We are open to any topic that glorifies God and unites the Church.