Dissembling with God
Jeremiah 42:20
For you dissembled in your hearts, when you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us to the LORD our God…

I. CONSIDER, WHAT WAS THAT GREAT AND GENERAL DUTY, AGAINST WHICH THE JEWS, ON THE OCCASION BEFORE US, REBELLED. "Ye disembled," said Jeremiah, "in your hearts." Dissimulation, like other sins, admits of degrees. The heart may dissemble radically and entirely, so as to be wholly hypocritical; so as not to feel any portion of that love to God, of that faith, of that gratitude, of that sense of duty, of that purpose of obedience which the tongue expresses. Or it may dissemble partially; feeling weakly and insufficiently those sentiments towards Him, which dwell with parade and seeming warmth upon the lips. The doom which awaits the complete hypocrite, cannot be doubted. Let the partial hypocrite beware, lest he at last come to the same place of torment.

II. CONSIDER, EACH FOR HIMSELF, HOW STRONG IS THE PROBABILITY THAT YOU MAY BE GUILTY, IN A GREATER OR A LESS DEGREE, OF DISSEMBLING IN YOUR HEART BEFORE GOD. We have in our hands the Word of God, which describes the character of a true Christian. We have before our eyes the practice of the world. When we compare them, we cannot but perceive how vast is the number of professed Christians who evince little of the spirit of true Christianity in their principles and conduct: and therefore stand self-convicted as dissemblers in their hearts before the Most High. When you call to remembrance the multitudes even among those who styled themselves the followers of God, which in ancient times the sinfulness and deceitfulness of the heart betrayed into hypocrisy: when you survey the multitudes of His professed followers, which in this your day the same sinfulness and deceitfulness render hypocritical before Him: have you not reason for serious dread that you may yourself be found a dissembler in His sight?

III. A SCRIPTURAL RULE, WHICH MAY ASSIST YOU IN DISCOVERING WHETHER, IF THE SON OF GOD WERE NOW TO CALL YOU TO JUDGMENT, YOU WOULD BE FOUND DISSEMBLERS IN YOUR HEARTS. "Where your treasure is," saith our Lord, "there will your heart be also." In other words, Whatever be the object which you judge .and feel to be the most valuable; concerning that object will your heart snow itself to be the most steadily and the most deeply interested. Apply this rule to yourself. Thus you may discover with absolute certainty whether your heart is fixed upon God, or whether it dissembles before Him.

1. Compare the pains which you employ, the vigilance which you exercise, the anxiety which you feel, concerning worldly objects, on the one hand; on the other, concerning religion.

2. When you receive a kindness from a friend, you feel, I presume, warm and durable emotions of gratitude, and an earnest desire to render to your benefactor such a return, in proportion to your ability, as may be acceptable to him. You are receiving every day from God blessings infinitely superior to all the kindnessess which can be conferred upon you by any of your fellow-creatures. Do you feel then still more lively and durable emotions of gratitude to Him?

3. Your worldly prosperity is an object which you pursue with industry and solicitude. Are you still more diligent, more anxious, in pursuing the welfare of your soul?

4. You have various occupations to which you resort, as opportunities offer themselves, from inclination and choice. Among these is religion to be found? Does religion stand at the head of them?

5. When you are informed of the events which befall another person, you rejoice, if they are such as promote his worldly advantage; you lament, if they impair it. Do you experience greater joy when you are assured of his advancement in religion? Do you experience greater sorrow if you learn that he has gone backward in the ways of righteousness?

(T. Gisborne, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.

WEB: For you have dealt deceitfully against your own souls; for you sent me to Yahweh your God, saying, Pray for us to Yahweh our God; and according to all that Yahweh our God shall say, so declare to us, and we will do it:

Searching the Heart
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