beauty or wilderness?
This wilderness is beautiful,
not arid miles of sand;
Yet, Satan prowls ‘mid lovely greens;
In wilderness I am.
Here will I choose God’s truth filled Word,
claiming peace and power,
Or struggle still within the webs
of earth-bound murky hours?
By God’s grace I choose to stand,
believing the Unseen;
For all I cannot understand
has fully been redeemed.
Light fills life where now I am,
since faith, forgiveness, praise,
Replace the subtleties of lies,
giving wings to all my days.
…but first I must realize I’m in a wilderness–
copyright 2009 by Ruth Tuttle Conard
The picture above of the Temple in Jerusalem should have been a place of exquisite beauty, openness to all for prayer, and holiness found within. It was not. This was Herod’s Temple (the 2nd Temple) and just as the man who had it built was vain and ungodly, so the Priests within its walls bowed to themselves, lust and money–not to Jehovah God. Here we find Jesus, the week of His horrendous death, not hiding, not going into Himself in despair, or mincing words about who He really is and who these leaders are!
Jesus calls these religious leaders, Pharisees and Scribes “hypocrites” six times (vv 12, 15, 23, 25, 27 and 29), “blind guides” and “blind fools” (vv 16 17), “full of greed and self indulgence,”
(v 26), “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (v 28), “whitewashed tombs” (v 27), “snakes” and “a brood of vipers” (v 33). He stood in the power given Him from above, and spoke the truth.
As to “whitewashed tombs,” Jesus refers to them looking impressively holy on the outside, yet within there is nothing but death and decay. We might think of other instances where appearances cover over the reality (a nice car with no engine, a crooked judge, a beautiful tree with a rotten core).
Ask God to help you see how your inner life contradicts your outer life. Where do they match up, agree? How might God be wanting to build within you more “holy integrity?”