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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
Job 36

 

 

Verse 13

DISCOURSE: 489

HYPOCRISY EXPOSED

Job 36:13. The hypocrites in heart heap up wrath.

SUFFERINGS are to the soul what the furnace is to gold; they serve to ascertain the measure of its purity or its corruption. If under the pressure of them we humble ourselves before God, and correct whatever we may find to have been amiss, they will promote at once the renovation of our nature, and the honour of him by whose gracious providence they are laid upon us: but, if we murmur at them, and rebel against our God, they will betray a heart unsound and hypocritical. As to the measure of temporal advantage that shall accrue to those who patiently endure the Lord’s will, or to the temporal miseries that shall be sustained by hypocrites, we apprehend that Elihu, as well as the three friends of Job, was, though in a less measure than they, mistaken: but as to the eternal consequences of uprightness or hypocrisy, he was perfectly correct: “The hypocrites in heart heap up wrath.”

This expression is deserving of the most attentive consideration. But so to delineate the hypocrisy of the heart, as neither to encourage an undue confidence by distinctions that are inadequate, nor to wound the feelings of the upright by too refined distinctions, is a work of great difficulty. We will however, in dependence on God’s help, attempt it; and will proceed to describe,

I. The characters here mentioned—

The heart is the seat both of uprightness and hypocrisy: the upright are “the upright in heart;” and the hypocrites, “the hypocrites in heart.” Of those whose hypocrisy is gross and glaring, we shall forbear to speak [Note: See two most extraordinary instances; Ishmael. Jeremiah 41:2-7, (N. B. his weeping); and Johanan, Jeremiah 42:1-6; Jeremiah 42:20.]. We will rather draw your attention to those whose religion is,

1. Formal and vain-glorious—

[The religion of many consists in an outward respect for certain forms, which, though not necessary in themselves, they think it expedient to observe, in order to maintain a reputation for piety, and to set a good example to the lower orders of the community. Different degrees of strictness obtain among them in relation to these things: some of a more zealous cast, say, as it were, “Come, and see my zeal for the Lord:” whilst others are contented with the round of duties, to satisfy their own consciences, and to enable them to say, “What lack I more?” But in all this there is nothing of regard for God: it is hypocrisy altogether: and hence our blessed Lord, speaking of such characters, says, “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draw near unto me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me [Note: Matthew 15:7-8.].”]

2. Partial and temporary—

[Certain occasions sometimes arise to excite men to diligence in seeking after God: and, if the making of some particular sacrifices would suffice, they would willingly pay the price. But to “follow the Lord fully,” to give up themselves to him without reserve, to “be steadfast and immoveable, and always abounding in the work of the world,” this is more than they can consent to: and, when required to do these things, they, like the Rich Youth in the Gospel, renounce all hope in Christ, rather than forego the things to which their carnal hearts are more attached. Under the pressure of some heavy affliction, they are like men in a storm; who will rather throw overboard their provisions and the tackling of the ship, than suffer the ship to sink: but they cast not out their sins on account of the hatred they bear to them, but only from an apprehension, that, if not cast away, they will operate to the destruction of their souls: and, when the storm is over, they will be as ready as ever to return to their former habits. But all this argues an unsoundness of principle; and proceeds from hypocrisy in the heart. So the Scriptures uniformly declare [Note: Hosea 5:15; Hosea 6:4; Hosea 7:16. Isaiah 26:16. Psalms 78:34-37. See especially Job 27:8-10.] — — — and so it will assuredly be found in the last day [Note: Matthew 7:22-23.].]

3. Weak and ineffectual—

[The object of all religion is to renew and sanctify the soul: and if it produce not this effect, it is of no avail. The delivering us from gross immoralities is but half its work: it must purge the soul from all allowed evil, of whatever kind it be. If our religion prevail not to overcome our high thoughts of ourselves [Note: Habakkuk 2:4.], and uncharitable censures of others [Note: Matthew 7:3-5.]; if it do not enable us to govern and control our tongues [Note: James 1:26.], and indeed to rescue us from the dominion of every known sin, we are under a delusion, and deceive ourselves to our eternal ruin [Note: Mark 9:43-48.]. It matters not how high our pretensions may have been, or how exalted our reputation; the mask will at last be taken from our face, and our degradation be proportioned to the eminence from which we fall [Note: Job 20:4-7. with 33:14.]. The stony-ground hearers are not saved by their transient joys; nor are the thorny-ground hearers accepted on account of their stinted fruits: those only approve themselves truly upright, who bring forth fruit unto perfection, and “have respect unto all the commandments [Note: Matthew 13:19-23. Psalms 119:6.].”]

Little are such characters aware, what is indeed,

II. Their melancholy employment—

Every sinner may properly be said to be “treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath [Note: Romans 2:5.]:” but this is more particularly the case with hypocrites; because,

1. Their sins are more heinous than those of others—

[They are more insulting to the Majesty of heaven.—The sins of all are heinous, inasmuch as they trample on the authority of God: but hypocrites pour contempt upon him: they say, in their hearts, ‘Tush, God shall not see: “the thick clouds are a covering to him:” he cannot discern good from evil, but may be imposed on, like any of us.’ But how offensive must such thoughts be to the heart-searching God! and how greatly must they aggravate the guilt of any sins committed by us!

They are also more injurious to the Divine honour.—Those who make no profession of religion may do what they will, and God is not dishonoured, any farther than as his authority is set at nought: but when a man pretending to be religious betrays his hypocrisy, the world cry out against God himself, “blaspheming his holy name [Note: 2 Samuel 12:14.],” and calumniating his blessed Gospel [Note: 2 Peter 2:2.].

They are also more destructive to our fellow-creatures.—Sins committed by others, pass unheeded; but committed by them, are made stumbling-blocks to the whole world. It is surprising how the ungodly triumph on such occasions; ‘There, there, so would we have it! they are all hypocrites alike; religion is only an empty name; and they are most honest and most to be depended on, who discard it altogether.’

Thus the sins of hypocrites are really more aggravated as to their guilt than others, and therefore they entail on those who commit them a heavier condemnation.]

2. Their best actions, as well as their worst, augment their guilt before God—

[If they come into the house of God, and offer the most costly sacrifices, they still only heap up wrath against the day of wrath [Note: Proverbs 21:27.]. God abhors their very best services [Note: Isaiah 1:11-15.], and accounts them no better than “the cutting off a dog’s neck, or offering him swines’ blood [Note: Isaiah 66:3.].” Their most common actions also, which have no reference to religion, are hateful to him: “the very ploughing of the wicked is sin [Note: Proverbs 21:4.].” Thus wherever they are, and whatever they do, they are only swelling the number of their sins, and treasuring up for themselves a more accumulated load of misery to all eternity. Unhappy people! they think, perhaps, or may even be confident, that all is well with them; whilst yet their one employment is to add sin to sin in this world, and misery to misery in the world to come. And hence the portion of hypocrites is represented as that which is more terrible than any that will be assigned to any other class of sinners whatever [Note: Matthew 24:51.].]

Infer,

1. What need is there for self-examination!

[This is the improvement which God himself teaches us to make of this subject [Note: Galatians 6:3-5.]. O search and try yourselves with all possible care; and, knowing how deceitful the heart is, beg of God to “search and try it” for you, that you may “see if there be any wicked way in you, and may be led in the way everlasting [Note: Psalms 139:23-24.].”]

2. How earnestly should we pray for the renewing influences of the Holy Spirit!

[So did David [Note: Psalms 51:10.]; and so should we do. The old nature, however corrected, is corrupt still: we must be “created anew in Christ Jesus,” and “be renewed in the spirit of our minds.” To “take away the heart of stone, and to give us hearts of flesh,” is God’s work. O cry to him for it: and be not satisfied with “a name to live, whilst you are really dead” lest, like the Foolish Virgins, you be found destitute of that grace, which can alone prepare you for the coming of the heavenly Bridegroom.]

3. How happy are they who have experienced a work of grace in their souls!

[These are accepted in all that they do; their prayers, their tears, their sighs, their groans, yea, their very thoughts, are all recorded in the book of God’s remembrance, and shall be brought forth to augment the eternal weight of glory provided for them [Note: Psalms 15:1-2. with Malachi 3:16-17.]. Ye, then, who are cleaving with full purpose of heart unto the Lord, and striving really to glorify him in all things, rejoice in the prospects that are before you: and “keep your hearts with all diligence,” that ye may be found “Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile,” and “may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”]

 


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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Job 36:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/job-36.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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