“Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:28).”
Shaun Miller, 31, had escaped the authorities who wanted him for drug trafficking by donning a clever disguise which included a very realistic mask which made him appear decades older.1 He had been charged with heroin possession with intent to distribute in April but eluded capture by going incognito. Or so he thought, until one day police surrounded his home and ordered him to come out. He emerged in costume but authorities weren’t fooled and took him into custody. When will people learn that such efforts are always exposed eventually?
In the Bible there were many who attempted this same scheme with similar results. King Saul had issued an edict banning mediums and spiritists out of Israel (1 Samuel 28:3). But after the death of Samuel the king determined to disguise himself and visit the witch at Endor. He asked her to conduct a séance and call up Samuel from the grave. When Samuel did actually appear the medium was terrified and saw through the camouflage that King Saul himself was her client (vv.8-12). Saul died for his unfaithfulness to God AND for consulting the medium (1 Chronicles 10:13). His disguise worked temporarily with the witch but never fooled God for a moment.
When King Jeroboam’s wife’s child became ill, the king told her to disguise herself and inquire with the prophet Ahijah to see if their child would recover. (1 Kings 14:1-12). Although the prophet was blind the queen’s plot was revealed to him before she arrived. As he heard the sound of her footsteps coming through the door he greeted her with these words; “Come in wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another person? For I have been sent to you with bad news (v.6).” Ahijah informed her that not only would their child die but Jeroboam’s line would be cut off forever for causing the nation to sin against God.
King Ahab was told that if he went into battle at Ramoth Gilead he would certainly die (1 Kings 22:14-28). He thought he could escape such a fate if went into battle in disguise (v.30). But a “random” arrow was divinely guided precisely between the joints of the king’s armor and he died as prophesied. Even the godly King Josiah of Judah thought he could succeed where Ahab had failed (2 Chronicles 35:22). Ignoring the warning that Pharaoh Necho of Egypt was on a mission from God, Josiah dressed up and withstood the Egyptians and fell in the Valley of Megiddo (v.23). Though Josiah was godly, and Ahab was wicked their identical ploys had identical results.
How many others today are doing the same thing? Piling on the false achievements on job resumes? Greatly exaggerating their character and exploits on dating sites? Putting on one face before friends and co-workers while living a very different life beyond their watching eyes. Believing their disguises have concealed their true identity but never fooling God’s unblinking eye.
After Philip had decided to follow Jesus he ran to tell Nathanael (John 1:43-51). Before Nathanael reached Jesus the Lord announced “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael was staggered and asked “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” The Lord saw Nathanael and knew his character.
Oh, that the Lord would say the same of you and I. “Behold, a Christian indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Christians are not to be hypocritical as those who wear masks but our love is to be without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9, James 3:17). Paul renounced the hidden things and walking in craftiness (2 Corinthians 4:2) so that the life of Jesus would be seen in him, and we must strive for this as well. Heaven awaits for those in whom there is no guile (Revelation 14:5, 22:15). Let us remove our masks and let Christ be seen by those who see us.
“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14 NIV ).”