by Tad Lindley
Have you ever been looking at your social media, and thought to yourself, “Wow, they look like they are really getting healthy!” Perhaps they had the classic Diet CokeTM and Big Mac physique, but on their Facebook status they appear to have lost their muffin top and the double chin. Or maybe the acne was completely gone in the picture and you thought, “Nice, they must have given up the chocolate and corn syrup.” Sometimes it is add-ins. All these years you were thinking, “Poor, his wife must not like to cook; he’s so thin.” And suddenly he had biceps bigger than your thighs and you were going to suggest that they change their last name to Universe, but then you saw him the next day and realized it was all a trick of the filters. The muffin top was still there, the pimples, the arms that look like they couldn’t even carry a five-gallon bucket of helium back to the steam bath, it had all been a trick of software design to alter reality. But I didn’t come to talk about the Weight Droppers filter, or the Clearasil filter, or even the Anabolic Steroid filter; I’ve come to talk to you about the Ircinrraq Filter.
Filters are based on Bible facts
Face Book and Snap Chat and the cell phone camera designers are all aware of the following scripture, and they use it to their own advantage: Adonai doesn’t see the way humans see-humans look at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7 CJB). Filters can deceive people, but they cannot trick God. In fact, if you watch how people live their lives, their true self will seep through the filter: Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. No matter how we try to appear externally, if our heart is wrong, it will show in the way we talk and the words we choose. This is why even the handsomest men and the most beautiful of women can end up in divorce court. The truth came out.
The ircinrraq filter
Recently I was in Fairbanks and I walked over to the coffee shop. Turned out it was closed, but the drive-thru was open. I went and stood in the drive-thru line behind a truck. The truck had been recently washed and my reflection was altered until I was looking at a much shorter version of myself. I was looking at myself through the icinrraq filter! (For readers who are unfamiliar with ircinrrat, they are often translated into English as “little people”. They are homologous to gnomes and leprechauns in Scandinavian and Irish culture. Many people have seen ircinrrat, and the elders have passed down teaching on what should be one when confronted with them. That is out of the scope of this column.)
10 guys looking through an ircinrraq filter
In the book of Numbers we read about the time that Moses sent 12 spies from the desert into the promised land (the region in which modern day Israel is included). They had recently escaped slavery in Egypt and were on their way into the promised land. The spies’ assignment was to take 40 days to study out the land. They were to see if the cities and villages were surrounded by walls or if everyone was simply living in wall tents. They were to study the quality of the land and the fruit of the land. If you pick berries where we do, you know this is one of the best blueberry years in the history of mankind; the land of Israel was better! They brought back a bunch of grapes, and it was so big, it took two of the spies to carry it. Here’s how they described the land, We entered the land were you sent us, and indeed it does flow with milk and honey-here is its fruit! (Numbers 13:27 CJB) But then something tragic happened. In spite of the richness of the land, the spies began to focus on their own smallness and they spread a negative report about the land they had reconnoitered for the people of Isra’el by saying, “The land we passed through in order to spy it out is a land that devours its inhabitants. All the people we saw there were giant…to ourselves we looked like grasshoppers by comparison, and we looked that way to them too!” (Numbers 13:32-33 CJB)
How could they doubt God?
For years I have read this passage of scripture and condemned the ten fearful spies. Hadn’t they recently survived all ten plagues in Egypt? Hadn’t God set them free from slavery and let them walk away with the wealth of Egypt? Hadn’t the Red Sea parted to let them across, and then closed over the top of the Egyptian Army, drowning them? Hadn’t God been providing them with water and food in the desert? How then could they think that He would through them to their deaths in the Promised Land? And yet they refused to go into certain victory, because they had become so accustomed to seeing themselves as little people through the Ircinrraq Filter.
Then it hit me
As I was preparing to preach on this recently, I realized that perhaps I was judging these ten men too severely. Of course they thought they were nothing. These guys were my age and for their entire lives up until about two months ago, they had been slaves. They had owned virtually nothing. They had been the lowest class of human. They had been beaten, they had been told they were nothing, they had seen their boy babies taken and killed. Until they had walked out of slavery a couple of months previously they had lived life under the Ircinrraq Filter, and they had not yet come to see themselves as God saw them. As a result, all ten of these spies died in the wilderness; they never again set foot in the promised land.
To be continued next week. Make sure you save Part 1 to refresh your memory…
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.