People watched Ezekiel’s mime signs, but they would rather listen to false prophets. This is a problem! So God instructed Ezekiel to pack his bags and point out why being disingenuous is a problem (Ezekiel 12-13).
Of course, no one ever claims to be a hypocrite. No one wears a t-shirt that identifies them as frauds. We all fall short. But when we put on false faces, we create an environment that encourages others to do the same. Perhaps that’s why “authenticity” is now a buzzword among Millennials and Gen-Zers. “Just be true to yourself. Follow your heart. Say what you think. Do whatever you feel.” Sounds right, but does prove I’m authentic? What if by being authentic in expressing who I am, I am being inauthentic to who I am in Christ? Doh!
Sometimes people claim to speak for God without ever opening the Bible or seeking the Lord in prayer (Ezek 13:1-7). They wrongly assume that their thoughts are God’s thoughts. And oftentimes, what’s being presented is better than things actually are (13:8-16). Ezekiel calls it “whitewashing.” To say, “‘Peace,’ when there is no peace,” is actually the worst thing to say when God is calling for repentance (13:10).
Sometimes people will engage in anything but discipleship. In Ezekiel’s day, women wore magic bands and veils as substitutes for binding God’s word on their heart (hand) and mind (head) (13:17-23). Gimmickry, in whatever form it appears, may be trendy, but it’s always a distraction away from prayerful devotion to God’s word (14:1-11).
Authenticity is hard to define—and even harder to be. Ezekiel brings up Noah, Job, and Daniel (14:12-23). Why these three guys? They show us what authenticity really looks like!
Noah teaches us that authenticity is displayed in obedience. You can almost hear people say, “C’mon Noah, did God literally mean for you to build a floating zoo?” “Yeah, he did,” Noah probably responded, “and I’m going to obey his word.” Authenticity is evident when we measure our lives by the word of God as carefully as Noah measured the dimensions of his big boat.
Job teaches us that authenticity is displayed by the one thing that is impossible to fake: brokenness. Job lost everything and ended up living in a garbage dump. Brokenness does not allow for carefully curated versions of our best self. In fact, it’s the refusal to break that produces duplicity (and misery). Authenticity is evident in the kind of brokenness that produces humble, transparent selflessness.
Daniel teaches us that authenticity is displayed in consistency. There are risks and rewards for faithfulness to God’s word, but reliability proves the genuineness of one’s character. Authenticity means being reliable amid dire circumstances and uncertain outcomes.
If you are looking for “authentic,” you’ll find it in Jesus. Those who want to be like Jesus, the real deal, will seek to obey Scripture, embrace the power of brokenness, and remain faithful to God no matter what.