We should be like God.
Leviticus 11:45 (NASB95)
“For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.”
This sentiment is repeated a few times in Leviticus as well by Peter (1Pe 1:15).
I think we ought to be like God—not as Adam and Eve in Eden, but as regards to sin in general (and, perhaps, lying in particular). I would argue that God never wants us to sin. That doesn’t sound controversial, but compared to the idea of a higher obligation suspending a lower one, the obligation not to sin trumps nearly everything else, including all the reasons one could give for why/when it’s OK to lie.
The Biblical authors are very clear that God does not and cannot sin, nor is He tempted to sin.
1 John 1:5 (NASB95)
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
James 1:13 (NASB95)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
Does God Lie?
On the surface, this sounds like a no-brainer.
Consider these strong answers to the question.
Numbers 23:19 (NASB95) (emphasis added)
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Titus 1:1-3 (NASB95) (emphasis added)
Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,...
Hebrews 6:17-18 (NASB95) (emphasis added)
In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
A simple reading of these passages seems to make a very strong case that God does not lie.
What about delusions and deceptions?
Consider these passages.
1 Kings 22:19-22 (NASB95)
Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear 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 and on His left. The LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “The LORD said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice [him] and also prevail. Go and do so.’”
Can God employ deceit and still not lie?
We don’t know who the “spirit who came forward” was, but it’s at least conceivable that it could have been Satan, who is permitted to converse with God as well as accomplish God’s will (though probably not desiring to do so) using his own devices (cf. Job 1-2).
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NASB95)
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
If God sends a delusion, is that different than lying?
I don’t have a succinct answer to this, but I point to a parallel question for which it is difficult to find a brief answer: How can sin exist if God didn’t “create” it? Can God allow or permit something without causing it or endorsing it (or thinking of it as “good”)? The simple answer to the latter question is yes (the proof is left as an exercise to the reader), and so I conclude that God can permit people to be deceived/deluded (as if it’s the result of their own sin) without actually “doing it Himself.”
Does God ever command or commend anyone for lying?
The examples given in other answers are the most pertinent for answering this question.
I would argue that in none of them is the act of lying, itself, ever endorsed by the Biblical authors.
God blesses the hebrew midwives, who disobeyed Pharaoh and (arguably) lied about it, because “the midwives feared God.” (Ex 1:21;NASB95).
Rahab is praised by the Hebrews writer because “she had welcomed the spies in peace” (Heb 11:31;NASB95). James says that she was “justified by works” (Jas 2:25;NASB95) without going into detail about which works. You could perhaps read either of these statements as including her lies (argued by others not to be lies—I’m assuming the worst here) to the men of Jericho, but I don’t think that is the only reasonable way to read it.
Does God ever commend anyone for not lying?
There are plenty of examples of people being punished for lying (e.g. (Hos 10:3, Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-16)). This is not controversial.
How are people praised for not lying?
Here are the most telling examples I can think of.
Psalm 32:2 (NASB95)
How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
Isaiah 53:9 (NASB95)
His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
This passage is quoted by Peter (1Pe 2:22), specifically referring to Jesus (though Isaiah is doing the same).
John 1:47 (NASB95)
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
What should we be like?
Considering the explicit praise of being without deceit, the lack of praise for deceit, the commandments against (certain kinds of ?) deceit, our obligation to be like God (in holiness, at least), and the fact that God does not lie, I think it reasonable to conclude that we should not lie or deceive.
There are some niche questions about deception (e.g. playing a game of chess, sports plays, etc.) that require some care, but I don’t think any of those things should be our guiding principles.
I use the example of Corrie Ten Boom’s sister as a legitimate example of why refusing to lie is the better choice, because it demonstrates our trust in God to bring about a good outcome while still refusing to sin.
I don’t dismiss any of the questions raised in other posts as trivial. I’m just not going to deal with them in this (sorry) long answer.