False Appearances

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Spain had been the most powerful nation in the world. But gradually that power was declining. This pattern continued under the reign of Philip IV. Only sixteen in 1621, when he became king, he depended on Gaspar de Guzmán, the Count of Olivares, who became the secret power behind the throne.

Feeling compelled to act with gravity, Philip rarely smiled. The rumor was that he laughed out loud only three times in his life. Nonetheless, Olivares arranged for majestic portraits of the king to be painted by artist Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez. Using the talents of Velázquez, Olivares fostered an image of the king that was flattering, though not true.

In reality, Spain’s resources were dwindling, because of the impact of continual wars. Yet Olivares continued to present Philip as a national hero. He spent lavishly on pageantry, making it appear that everything was fine, giving the impression that Spain still was a conquering power.

Demonstrating this strategy, Olivares held a lavish feast to honor the election of Philip’s cousin, Ferdinand III, as Holy Roman Emperor. Amazingly, even though the costs were significant, the emperor did not attend. But the goal was achieved: The impression was given that Spain had plenty of money.

Although it might have seemed that Olivares’s campaign succeeded, the truth eventually emerged. Many throughout history have been like Olivares. Perhaps even the scribes and Pharisees during Jesus’ earthly ministry. He called them “hypocrites,” for their goal was to create favorable impressions. Appearing one way, they actually were totally different on the inside.

In your life, remember that God knows the truth about you. Instead of being a hypocrite, dedicated to creating false images, seek to be pleasing in the Lord’s sight.