What we see is not always what we get

In the year 2011, I was given fake money – one thousand Kenya shilling note – somewhere and it never occurred to me that it was not genuine legal tender. I had heard stories of fake money circulation and how to identify one but had never taken it seriously. How in the world can I painstakingly start checking for portrait watermarks? How could I know that the vertical serial numbers must glow when held under the UV light? The idea of checking for security threads was not ingrained in me.

I went to buy foodstuff with the fake note but the Kenyan business people are a keen lot. The shopkeeper identified the note as fake immediately she saw it. Fortunately, I was a regular customer and she did not read any mischief in this event. I am not sure what the law says about a person who handles fake money unknowingly. However, I wouldn’t want to attract the wrong attention.

This happening made me be cautious. Thereafter, I decided to be alert when dealing with notes and documents of high value.

When we say something is fake we presuppose a genuine one, to which we can make comparisons. In scientific experimentations, a control sample plays a similar role.

Reality is not what we can see

One of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity was Nineveh. Unfortunately, the Islamic State rampages in Iraq destroyed some of the archaeological evidence of Nineveh. According to the National Geographic, the city of Nineveh, at its helm, featured numerous temples and sprawling 80-room palace (specifically the one that was used by King Sennacherib). It was surrounded by a wall that was punctuated by 15 gates. Streets were wide and some had stone paving, houses were plenty, and gardens provided. It is a fact that the city was impressive and a marvel.

Nineveh was the seat of the Assyrian Empire and with this, in mind one can understand the anguish of Hezekiah when Sennacherib breathed fire and brimstone.

The Biblical accounts corroborate the historical ones. In the Book of Jonah, we find God referring to the city as ‘Great City’.

“Arise, go to Nin′eveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”

Jonah 3:2

Despite all the glitz, glamour and sophistication, not all was well within the great city. The greatness of Nineveh city was only physical and thus a façade. It was a lawless and cruel city. It was a city that eats her inhabitants. Even the Greek literary giants Herodotus, Diodorus of Sicily and Aristotle paint it as awfully sinful.

What people thought to be great was all plastics. To the outside, the city was thriving. It was at the apex of excellence. But God could see beyond the artificial greatness. What would bring Nineveh down is what was inside it and not outside. The history pages of Nineveh as a city went in flames as civilizations changed hands. Its citizens and their rulers found themselves in a quagmire of evil. In this quandary state, they could not keep their city intact. They had sown the wind and they would reap the whirlwind. The leadership had drawn cheques that citizens could not cash. They tried to grasp at the straws but the Medes, Babylonians, and Persian forces swooped in with devastating force.  It is now wrack and ruin. It is ground zero.

Appearance is not always the reality

God as an Omniscient Being has the sole privilege of knowing what lies behind our smiles, giggles and showiness. He knows the condition of every heart and understands what is hidden from men.

When Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh, they changed their evil ways in repentance. Even the great king of the city rose from his throne to address the internal malfeasance of his kingdom. Nothing real can happen in our lives until we abandon our thrones and run to Jesus. After all, He is the only one enthroned higher than mortal men and women.

It is time to abandon our high places, titles, prejudices and positions so that Jesus can take over. Otherwise, the road we are travelling on is damn dangerous – self-delusion.

We can only be real and live genuine lives by passing through the one who mints authentic legal tenders. Genuine lives include the acknowledgement that I am a sojourner on this earth and that I cannot make it without God. It is imitating Him daily. Chickens will always come home to roost when we intentionally chose to look through rose coloured glasses. This is the year to get down to brass tacks.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Comments are closed.