Hiding Behind the Ornaments

Exodus 33:1-6 says, “1And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: 2And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: 3Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. 4And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments. 5For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. 6And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.”

As this is the Christmas season, most homes in America have a Christmas tree sitting in their living room, decorated with beautiful lights and ornaments. On the outside of some homes will be a display of either Santa on a sleigh or a nativity scene with Jesus in the manger, all lit up for everyone who drives or lives nearby to see. On the walls on the inside of the home will be reefs or some other decoration that fills the family with joy because it is that “time of the year” again! Underneath the trees come Christmas day will be presents galore that good ol’ Saint Nick apparently dropped off while visiting the area on his busy tour worldwide. It will be a joyous and intimate celebration with the family as the children rip open their presents one by one, hoping for that one big thing that they requested from Santa in the local mall while sitting on his lap. Everyone loves Christmas. How could you not enjoy it?

Just as people decorate their homes and trees with creative ornaments, the children of Israel decorated themselves. They adorned themselves with luxurious jewelry, beautifying their outward appearance. It would not be abnormal to see them wearing golden earrings or necklaces, both men and women. However, on this day, they were not worried about ornamenting themselves because they had sinned against the LORD God Almighty by making a golden calf with some of the jewelry they already had. They committed this idolatry, and it sickened the one true God. He spoke plainly that these people were stiffnecked and had sinned against Him. He wanted to wipe them completely out and raise a new generation of believers to reach the promised land, which He would eventually do, because He could not grant them a victory with their horrible murmuring and complaining attitudes. So, they stripped themselves of their ornaments, hoping that God would show them grace again and that His love would cover a multitude of their sins.

You can decorate your appearance and look like you have it altogether, but that means nothing if your spirit is not decorated with the glory of God! 1 Peter 3:4 says, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” You are of more value to God when you decorate your spirit with humility, love, joy and, most of all, purity than when you have your outside decorated with all of this fancy clothes and jewelry. Sure, once the holiday season is over, people are going to be taking their Christmas decorations down, and when you strip that tree of its ornaments, it is not going to look as pretty on the outside, but you will be able to see what it really is, whether it is authentic or it is a counterfeit. A real or fake tree both can be decorated, but once you strip them off, then you see its true nature. Always be humble and allow God’s glory to ornament your spirit so people can see who you really are. You can hide your true character through outward adorning, but God is looking for those who will be open and honest before Him! He is not searching for the counterfeit, but rather the authentic!