Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Psalm 51:6, NIV 1984
I have a family member who’s quite fond of telling us she’s fine. It’s her standard answer when asked how she’s doing. In sickness, loss, or even celebration, her response to us remains the same. “I’m fine”—even if she’s not.
I saw a movie once that gave a clever acronym for FINE: freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional.
Yep. That sounds about right.
We have a terrible habit of projecting one thing when in reality we’re really something else. It seems harmless. We’re not trying to hurt anyone. We simply don’t want to be a bother. No one needs to know what’s really going on inside. After all, what can they do? And more importantly, what would they think?
So we pretend to be something that we’re not. We say we feel one way when we actually feel another. Or we don’t speak what we really think; instead we speak what we think we should.
We often spend a good bit of our lives under a banner of pretense. Unfortunately, we have no idea the danger that puts us in.
Beloved, deception lies at the heart of every one of Satan’s schemes. More than what he does, it’s who he is. It’s Satan’s nature to deceive.
He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
When you and I deceive, dear one—even inadvertently—we share the nature of the enemy of our souls.
Ouch. Every time we stand on pretense instead of truth, we align ourselves with the father of lies. And we become tools in his schemes.
Gideon found that out the hard way. Last week we saw God use Gideon to defeat the Midianite army. I wish I could say that was the end of his story. Unfortunately, he had a little trouble with pretense. No wonder God desires truth in our inner parts. When they don’t match what we present on the outside, we can do all sorts of damage. Let’s take a look at Gideon’s story.
After his amazing victory, Israel rallied around Gideon and made a request.
The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Judges 8:22
Wait a minute. Who saved them from the hand of Midian? Let’s see how Gideon responded.
But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” (Verse 23)
Well done, Gideon! He gave what appeared to be a very humble answer, didn’t he? He knew exactly what he should say, and he said it. Israel had no king. God Himself ruled and led them. That’s what made Israel different from every other nation. Gideon knew good and well who had given them the victory—even if the people were a bit confused about it—and he wasn’t about to challenge Him for the throne.
So Gideon declared that God alone would rule. Unfortunately, his actions declared something else.
And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” Judges 8:24
The people spread out a garment and happily tossed rings of gold into it for Gideon, a tribute normally reserved for kings.
The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. (verse 26)
He may not have accepted the title of king, but he certainly lived like one. Verse 30 records,
He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives.
Scripture names only one of them in verse 31: Abimelech. You might be interested to know what the name means in the original Hebrew. Abimelech literally translates to, “My father is king.” [Strong’s, 40, p.1467]
I guess we can see what Gideon really believed in his “inner parts” (Psalm 51:6).
The inconsistency between what he said and what he held in his heart led him to twist God’s law to meet his own desires. He used some of the gold to make an ephod, a garment God had ordained for priests alone through which He would communicate direction to lead them. Judges 8:27 reveals,
Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
Gideon declared with his mouth that he would not rule. Then he asked for tribute and led God’s people right into idolatry.
Do you see why it’s so important for us to allow God to bring truth to our inner parts, beloved? Without a renewed nature, every one of us—even mighty men used greatly by God—can become a snare to His people.
Jesus beckons you to authenticity, dear one. Will you allow Him to change you from the inside out? Only the light within us will dispel the darkness around us. Let’s abandon pretense and put an end to the enemy’s schemes.