There is a sad story in 1 Kings 14 about a king whose son was near death. The king wanted to find out from a prophet of God whether his son would recover.
Knowing all the motives here is impossible, but we can make educated guesses. This prophet had given the king good news in the past (1 Kgs 11:31-37). Now the king was hoping he would give him good news concerning his son.
But he had a problem. He had not been faithful to the Lord, and the Lord had told him that if he rebelled against Him, judgment would follow. He almost certainly wondered if his son’s sickness were a part of that discipline.
Though the king had had a good experience with this prophet in the past, he was afraid the prophet would now have a bias against him if he knew who was making the request. He was afraid the prophet would curse him and his son. So the king came up with a plan. He told his wife, the child’s mother, to go to the prophet in disguise. Since the prophet wouldn’t know who she was, the odds of getting a favorable medical report would be better. In addition, this prophet was now up in years and couldn’t see well. It should be easy to fool him.
Since the king believed this man was a prophet from God, he obviously believed that God could be fooled. The prophet was nearly blind, and God was far away. Perhaps the king thought God was too busy to notice. The king believed that if he could fool the prophet–and therefore the Lord–into saying that his son would live, then God would not renege on His promise. God would never lie.
Of course, all of this was silly. As the mother approached the prophet, God told him who was coming to see him and what to tell her. He told her that as a result of the king’s sins, her son would die as soon as she arrived home. In light of the coming discipline God would pour out on the king’s entire family, this small child would be the fortunate one.1
This story causes us to shake our heads and wonder how this king and his wife could have been so dumb. How could they have thought they could hide something from God? It was like a comedy act. We can picture the old prophet telling the mother to take off her stupid wig.
But we can be just as bad. We might think we can hide things from Him. We do things in secret, where others cannot see, all the while acting as if He doesn’t see, either. If we stopped and thought about it even briefly, we’d realize how dumb we look.
Similarly, we sometimes do things, knowing we’re doing them with the wrong motives. Nobody can see that part of our lives. But, of course, that is not the case. The author of Hebrews reminds us that the Lord can see through the disguise we wear to fool others. Talking about the Judgment Seat of Christ, he writes:
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Heb 4:13).
We can laugh at the king’s pathetic attempt to fool the Lord with makeup and a wig. His wife must have felt stupid when the blind prophet immediately told her he knew who she was. Let’s not follow the example of the king and his wife. Let’s ask the Lord to give us the integrity to come before Him with no disguises.
1 Zane Hodges made this point in a message. He pointed out that only this boy had a proper burial and a time of mourning. All of Jeroboam’s other sons were executed by Baasha when he seized the throne (1 Kgs 15:27-30).