There was a time, I thought I had become so very smart, spiritually. Me and the LORD, well, we were tight. I, even, (dare to say) thought I may have earned a special red phone that rang directly into the throne room just as our president has in the oval office.
Isn’t it funny how we as humans become so enamored with ourselves? It happens so quickly. We do a few things well and rather than giving God the glory and credit – it infiltrates down into our very nasty sin-filled gut. Sure – outwardly we say, “Yes, it was all God – all God,” but inwardly, there are times we actually think, “Man, I am so awesome.” Remember though, no matter what we may be saying with our mouths or displaying to others outwardly – God judges a man strictly by his heart. Our arrogance and false humility cannot be hidden from our all-knowing and ever present Heavenly Father. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Pet. 4:17
I think about King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel when he stepped out on his balcony and boasted, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” In that instant, God gave him over to insanity. He spent the next seven years of his life believing he was an ox, living in the fields, grazing on grass, hair as long as eagles feathers and nails as long as a bird’s talons. After seven long years, in a moment of lucidity, he glanced up towards heaven and confessed: “His rule is everlasting, and His kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to Him. He does as He pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop Him or say to Him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’” Dan. 4:34-35. Instantly, Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity returned.
During my “Nebuchadnezzar days,” I recall standing in my bathroom blow drying my hair and hearing a voice as clearly as one of my children saying, “You whitewashed tomb!” I immediately turned off my dryer and listened again. Nothing. The voice I heard was so profound in my spirit that it might as well have been audible coming straight down from heaven. Despite the blaring, hot air screaming from my blow dryer directed towards my face and ears, there was no doubt a message was given. I suddenly felt sick at my stomach. Rather than focusing on my outward appearance as before, I hurriedly placed all my cosmetic gadgets to the side to contemplate God’s apparent message to me.
I began searching the scriptures for “whitewashed.” You might be surprised to learn that there are actually seven different references throughout. Seven, happens to be God’s perfect number. Two of those scriptures in particular, drew my attention. One being Jesus admonishing, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Mat 23:27. Ouch. That was painful. Could the LORD be speaking to me too?
Was I thinking about “whitewashed tombs” when I heard such a strange message while focusing on my physical looks? Hardly! It’s more likely I was wondering whether or not my hair would cooperate or not that day. I never gave any meaningful consideration to the “whitewashed” verses until that particular day which made the unusual message even more significant and mysterious to me.
Ezekiel, the prophet, even warned the people of Israel of the false teachers that were “whitewashing” the truth of the nation’s filthy and idolatrous condition. He said, “Precisely because they (the false prophets) have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these (false) prophets smear it with whitewash, (God says to Ezekiel) say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out. And when the wall falls, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the coating with which you smeared it?’ Eze. 13:10-12
Yikes! God had removed His protective hedge around His people due to their idolatry. Truth is, we can cover our cracks and the chipping paint all we want, but if our hearts are not right, it’s only a matter of time before the whole structure is brought down low. Shall God say then, concerning us, ‘Where is the coating now (of whitewash) with which you smeared it?”
You may be wondering, what was my sin back then? Perhaps it was the fact that I strutted around as though I had it all together. Meanwhile, exalting myself in my heart as though I had acquired righteousness on my own and was deserving of salvation. I strived daily to add layer upon layer of white paint to my exterior so as to not reveal the reality. I was dripping in grime, full of cracks and perpetually plagued with flaking paint. I was running from the brutal facts. How about you? Are you running, and struggling to justify yourself in the eyes of the world and especially to God? Maybe you are exhausted from all the whitewashing; day after day.
Sadly, my sinful heart boasted like Nebuchadnezzar, likely saying something similar to his own words, “Is not this body of Christ (church), that I have helped build for the house of the kingdom of God, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” Can you believe the audacity? Yet, do not judge too quickly. Could you be making the same mistake?
At the height of my “Nebuchadnezzar Days”– God revealed that I had somehow come to the conclusion that I had acquired blessings because of the works of my own might. Therefore, in keeping with God’s Holy Word, He was obligated to humble me. Granted, I never believed I was an ox, like Nebuchadnezzar, nor did I desire to graze on grass in my backyard with unclipped fingernails, or flaunting hair as long as the feathers of an eagle. Nonetheless; my body and spirit were forced down to the ground into a complete state of absolute humiliation and shame. Like Israel, I was depending on heartless offerings and sacrifices to bargain salvation rather than trusting God to work through me.
God’s discipline for my haughtiness could best be described as “Shock and Awe.” Remember when the U.S. went into Iraq over the potential threat of stored weapons of mass destruction? The military strategists and media titled that night of attack, “Shock and Awe.” The darkened night sky of my heart was littered with streaks of darting missiles and blue and red burning illuminations. Explosives were precisely positioned to bring down strongholds, while something like a special, elite group of fighters went out destroying any potential storage of weapons of mass destruction, hidden in the deep quarries of my soul. Just when I thought the “Shock” was over – another elite group would be deployed. I wondered if the agony of “Awe” would ever cease.
I found myself like Isaiah when He saw a vision of the Ancient of Days in the throne room. The train of God’s robe filling the temple. The smoke seemingly rolling upward and all around. While Seraphim stood above the Glorious One sitting on His throne, as one seraphim exclaimed to another, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord, God Almighty – the whole earth is full of His glory.” And like Isaiah, I fell on my face, literally, and said, “Woe is me, I am ruined!”
Examine your heart. Are you standing in front of the mirror concentrating on your outer appearance of “religiosity” rather than washing your uncleanness with the truth of God’s Word? If you think you are self-made, you are in danger of God’s chastisement. If you think you are righteous by all your honorable ministerial acts of service at your local church, you are in danger of deep shame. I fear you are heading for disaster with threatening rainstorms of unfathomable humiliation.
We have been saved by grace through our act of faith and trust in Him, not by our own works. (Eph 2:8-10). These good works we perform are an expression of Christ in us. So let us praise Christ for abiding in us while creating in us a heart to love Him and others. Additionally, let us also walk cautiously as one would walk through a field littered with explosive mines. If not careful, you may find yourself stepping out on the balcony of your own self constructed palace to make such a pronouncement, “Ah, look at the success of my life, which I have built by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty! Is it not a perfect work of my magnificent accomplishment?”
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psa 51:17
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
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Where Can I currently purchase Kimberly’s book?
Journal of a Sinner, Listening for that Still Small Voice
ISBN-10: 1498413064, ISBN-13: 978-1498413060
- Online Retailers: Amazon/Barnes & Nobles, ebook readers like: Kindle, Nook
- Ask your local LifeWay to order it for you
- xulonpress.com/bookstore/Journal of a Sinner, Listening for that Still Small Voice
- Contact Author (Website: Kimberlykmoon.com)