Study from God’s Word… 2 Kgs 8: 23-24 [2 Chron. 22: 1-2]; 2 Kgs 8: 27 [2 Chron. 23: 3-4]; 2 Kgs 8: 7-15; 2 Kgs 8: 28 [2 Chron 22: 5]; 2 Kgs 8: 29, 9: 14-15 [2 Chron 22: 6]; 2 Kgs 9: 1-26; 2 Kgs 9: 27 [2 Chron 22: 7]; 2 Kgs 9: 30-37; 2 Kgs 10: 1-11; 2 Kgs 19: 12-14 [2 Chron 22: 8]; 2 Kgs 9: 28 [2 Chron 22: 9]; 2 Kgs 10: 15-17 … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Kings 9: 30 … NIV Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair, and looked out of the window.
My Journal for Today: “Jezebel!” That name to this day has the meaning of a dangerous, deceptive woman. No one would ever name his daughter after the temptress who was the wife of Ahab in Scripture. And even in her darkest, most chaotic days, as Jehu was closing in to kill her, what do we find her doing [in today’s text]. Yes, here she was, trying to hide her real self by putting on cosmetics to paint herself into the light of a temptress, perhaps trying to lure Jehu into bed with her, or trying to trick him in some way to let her live. As we read on in 2nd Kings, it didn’t work; and she died an ignominious death.
But even when we find ourselves threatened by chaos and danger, we often find ourselves putting on airs or trying to hide our real selves with “masks,” as Jezebel used cosmetics. I found it interesting, as Dr. Smith in his devotional this morning revealed, that the word “cosmetics” in our language is derived from the Greek word “cosmos,” … the root of which means to bring order out of chaos. And isn’t that what cosmetics do. They try to mask the chaos of our true identity or looks with a painted “mask,” if you will.
Years ago, when I was covering over myself with a Dr. Jekyll – Mr. Hyde double life of sin, I became fascinated by the “red light” district in Amsterdam, where women of the night painted themselves up and “advertised” themselves in windows on the street lit with red lights (hence the origin of the name of the district). And my wife’s uncle who took me on a tour of this infamous area, relating to me that the women may look good in the windows; but when one gets close to these women (and you can imagine how that would happen), they would look much different in real life (and real light). I thought at the time, “How would he know that?”; but I never asked him how he had that knowledge.
But it is said in jest that a woman, even in an earthquake, would want to put her face on (i.e., put on her cosmetics). Well, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole; but we all, as humans, would rather wear masks of unreality to cover over and hide who we are in reality. Dr. Smith, as he often does at the end of his devotions, ask a self-probing question, … even today writing, ”Is the superficial mask I wear for others fooling even myself?” And I’ll leave that one for you to answer about yourself.
Personally, however, I’ve come to realize that I cannot become the person God intends for me to become in Christ unless I exercise real vulnerability, letting down my masks and letting others see the REAL Bill Berry. I hid that guy from the world – and I was good at it – for over 22 years of my life; and it finally drained my mental energies. Finally, I just took off all the masks; and let my wife and others see who I really was. And as you might imagine, it was humiliating and painful for quite some time; but it was also like taking a 100-pound weight off my back.
It took years of discipleship; but God, the Holy Spirit, through my church and a very special mentor, taught me how to develop the Christlike qualities of humility and meekness (see Matt. 11: 29), primarily by taking off all the masks and developing a disciple-like vulnerability through accountability. And those are two Christ-like character abilities which cannot be developed unless we take off all the masks and just let the world see us for whom we really are. Yes, … warts and all; and yes, even becoming emotionally and spiritually naked for all to see if the king is wearing no clothes.
How about you? Are there any masks you need to shed so that God can use the reality of Himself shining forth through the real you?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that we all can just be the person You created us to be. Amen