God’s people would never try to hide their sins would they? The people of God have always understood that as God, He knew everything they did, even the things done “in secret,” right?
At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. And Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise, and disguise yourself, that it not be known that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh. Behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who said of me that I should be king over this people. Take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what shall happen to the child,” 1Kgs 14:1-3.
Consider the foolishness of this situation. Jeroboam believes this man is a prophet of God, yet he thinks he can trick him, first by sending someone instead of going himself, and second by disguising that someone. If God can do what Jeroboam believes He can, then how will He be fooled by a disguise?
This isn’t the only instance recorded in the scriptures. Ananias and Sapphira come quickly to mind. But in my lifetime, I’ve seen Christians do the same thing again and again, and sadly, sometimes I have fallen into this trap too.
Usually it’s the obvious—Sunday morning Christians who seem to think that God does not know what goes on the rest of the week, as if He is bound by the meetinghouse doors.
But there are a few more complex ways of disguising ourselves. Some of us do the right things, but without the heart, or with entirely the wrong heart. As long as God sees me take the Lord’s Supper every Sunday or attend whenever the doors are opened, it doesn’t matter that I hate every minute of it. As long as I give, it doesn’t really matter if I do it grudgingly or not. As long as I shake everyone’s hand, it doesn’t matter if I hate the very sight of them. Really?
But then there are those who raise their hands and shout hallelujah, who “give God the glory” every other sentence and hug everyone in sight, but who are quick to find an excuse for not doing exactly what God says He wants. “It’s such a little thing…” “God wouldn’t mind…” “But God knows my heart.” Yep. He knows it’s a heart of self will that only pretends to love and worship Him as long as it gets things its way.
Hypocrisy, legalism, ritualism, emotionalism—God wants none of these disguises. He wants people who love Him and serve Him the way He wants to be served, because He is the great and glorious God who sees all we do and knows our hearts, and He alone deserves it. God has never gone for masquerades.
The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds, Ps 33:13-15.