“Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair and looked out of a window…” 2 Kings 9:30
Sometime around sixth hour today (using the standard high-school, hours-’til-I-go-home method of determining time), I had this thought that’s stuck with me from then until now: “Jezebel paints her eyes because in reality, she’s really ugly.” In my insecure days, I could totally relate to that. Needing to paint myself up to become something more than what I am because it seemed that what I was wasn’t good enough. But before you turn away, just know that I’m not even talking about women and physical appearances here. I’m going deeper and pointing out a spiritual truth. Jezebel is ugly!
Whether or not Queen Jezebel was physically attractive makes no difference to me. As a woman, I know that make-up is used to attract men, is it not? I mean, I don’t paint my face because I like it necessarily. In truth, I don’t. In fact, I dislike it so much that I hardly ever do it. When I do, it’s only because I got my eye on someone and I want him to have his eye on me too. It’s a seduction tool, and it always works. Make-up can take the plainest Jane and make her into an absolute Beauty. You can add a little dimension to your eyes with some liner and all the sudden, your everyday glance becomes enticing. Don’t get the idea that this is a discourse on make-up, it’s not. I’m painting a picture, if you will. Bear with me.
So, Queen Jezebel hears that Jehu is on his way to depose her (that’s a nice word for “coming to kill her”) and what does she do? She paints her face and fixes her hair. Why? I think it was in a last-ditch effort to portray innocence and vulnerability, or maybe just to have a pleasant, disarming aura about her. Whatever the case, it didn’t work because of the Spirit of God in Jehu and his connection to his calling that made him impenetrable to her tactics. Ouch! That’s going to hurt when I admit how I figured all this out today…
Queen Jezebel was a physical representation of the spiritual enemy named “Jezebel.” The Jezebel spirit closely resembles Queen Jezebel in the way it manifests in our lives: bitterness, hatred, rage, jealousy, anger, back-biting. Jezebel (speaking of the spiritual now, unless otherwise noted) entices us to sin in these ways by seducing us, in the same way Queen Jezebel intended to avoid death by seducing Jehu. I am in the middle of a season of spiritual renovation, in which God is working to rid me of deep roots that tend to be manipulated quite easily by the spirit of Jezebel. His Spirit has named this season “Unadulterated,” and I firmly believe that when it’s over, I will be pure. Completely Unadulterated. But like Queen Jezebel, the spirit of Jezebel does not want to die in me, which is why I found myself ensnared by a situation at my work today. By the time I realized what was happening, it was too late to back out of my involvement.
It all started when one coworker walked past me the moment I realized I had a pretty important question I needed to ask her. I was baited there. I intended to just ask her the question and move on, because I’m not really one to talk about people or even situations that I could easily have an opinion about. Actions are my thing. I try not to use my words carelessly. “Try” being the operative word here. I’m not a saint. Anyway, she answered my question and without taking a breath, segued into a conversational rant about a meeting I missed a few days ago. Still, I cared little about the content and tried to encourage her to let go of her frustration. Really, there’s no sense in lugging all that around, especially when you can’t do anything about what your complaining about. But she was undeterred and kept talking. Wanting to seem polite, I listened. And then my mind got involved. And where my mind goes, my mouth usually follows. Before I knew it, I was verbally involved in something I really should not have been. But anyway, that conversation followed me as I tried to escape and get back to work. Enter coworker number two, three and four, and as I politely tried to end the conversation, I realized feathers were ruffled and I hadn’t remained so pure in this encounter. When I finally got away, I headed back to my room and happened to be walking past a door as another woman was coming out. Her hands were full, so I opened the door for her and before I knew what hit me, I was standing listening to a conversation laced with profanity because she was unhappy with someone and it involved several of my students. My spirit had been walloped by the previous conversation and was a little bent out of shape when I came upon this woman, and by the time we were done talking, Jezebel had wrapped her delicate claws around my jugular and begun to squeeze. I needed release! Instead of finding the nearest empty room and praying, I high-tailed it to my classroom where set several other coworkers whom I knew could not be trusted to discuss things without letting Jezebel in, but having already been disarmed, I fell into their rant the moment I came in the room. Jezebel’s pretty face had enticed me and ensnared me and I was trapped in a mess I should never have been a part of! Then it hit me: Jezebel paints her face because in truth, she’s really ugly. If we could only see how ugly the spirit of Jezebel is, we would be less inclined to fall into her trap. But she is so subtle and sweet, and yes, seductive, that we are so often trapped before we realize we’ve been victimized. We’re caught! And I wonder how many of us let that spirit operate through us because we’ve never seen it without it’s “make-up.” I really believe that most of us allow this spirit to drive us because it looks good and feels good to our flesh. But wake up! That’s what make-up does! And Jezebel knows the value of looking good! It works all the time!
In the end, I realized that it takes more than a mindfulness of who Jezebel is to avoid the pitfalls. It takes true spiritual discernment. The Spirit of God inside you that calls her out. That’s the only way we will stick to our guns and resist her. Our calling has to be greater than our flesh. This is how Jehu defeated Jezebel, and this is how we defeat that spirit today.