The Gilded Age in American history was certainly a time when our reality was thinly covered in gold-hued paint! Beginning with the Civil War’s end and lasting to the early 1900’s, it was our most prosperous age for a few chosen citizens, while to the outsider it appeared that all were enjoying life in the lap of luxury. America’s ladies all seemed to be dressed in fine garments with their hair done as perfectly as a china doll, many children played with the latest toys of the era while choosing from a vast array of charming outfits in their closets, and the most delicious foods appeared at the ready to fill every belly several times daily.
Under this gold-hued surface, corruption ran deep. The beneficiaries of the glitz and glamour were the politicians, bankers, and barons of industry. It was thinly covered deceit, fooling the outside world for a time. Inside were tenement apartments filled with starving children and desperate mothers and fathers looking for a way out of their gloom.
Sadly, deception comes in many beautiful packages. God warns us of wolves in sheep’s clothing, people with a flattery tongue, false teachers, and in Ezekiel 33, even God’s people are an example of deception when they treat His Words as empty finery, an outer wrapping that does not enter their hearts:
So, they come as though they are sincere and sit before you listening. But they have no intention of doing what I tell them to, they talk very sweetly about loving the Lord, but with their hearts they are loving their money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings lovely songs with a beautiful voice or plays well on an instrument. They hear what you say but don’t pay any attention to it! Ezekiel 33:31-32
Do not be deceived, even within your own heart. God’s Word is more than beautiful poetry to flatter and please our earthly wishes. Choose instead to sincerely follow all of God’s teachings, and listen to His Words with an obedient heart. For it is the only way to true life–now and in eternity.