Job 27:8


Job, the man of integrity, who was determined to hold fast his integrity until death, saw plainly that the hypocrite had no ground of confidence, and he boldly makes the demand," What is the hope of the hypocrite? It is an appeal that can receive no satisfying answer. There is no hope for him, indeed; whatever he may imagine it to be, it is as a bubble that floats on the water for a short time, then bursts, and no trace is left of it. His confidence is placed on an unsafe foundation; he may build his expectations upon it, but the inevitable flood of time will wash it away. It is a vain, groundless, lost, disappointed hope. Job directs his inquiry into one channel - What is the hypocrite's hope as towards God? The earthly hopes of the hypocrite are not safe, though for a time he may prosper. But his hopes towards God are vain indeed. The hypocrite is estranged from God.

I. HE HAS NO HOPE IN GOD IN DEATH. When the righteous man filleth his bosom with sheaves, the hope of the wicked is found to be cut off. Beyond the grave all is darkness.

II. HE CANNOT TURN TO GOD IN TIME OF TROUBLE. When affliction falls upon the humble and righteous one, he whom he has sought to know and obey proves to be a reality to him. But the hypocrite has made God to be a sham. He has not known or obeyed him, or acted towards him as though he were a reality. To him, indeed, there is no God. How can he call on him in trouble whom he has denied in health?

III. HE CANNOT FIND IN GOD A SPRING OF JOY. He cannot delight himself in him whom he has represented to himself as an unreality. God has not been really G-d in the estimate of the hypocrite. The man who is himself conscious of being false makes all false around him. He does not live in a real but a deceitful world. He has deceived himself in respect of it.

IV. HE CANNOT CALL UPON GOD IN PRAYER. Thus the hope of the hypocrite perishes. It is vain. In the exigencies of life, when he most needs help, the false foundation which he has laid for himself fails him. The man who acts falsely towards God really acts falsely towards himself, and turns the most substantial grounds of hope into airy nothingness. - R.G.









For what is the hope of the hypocrite?
I. THE CHARACTER OF THE HYPOCRITE. By a hypocrite we understand not a self-deceiver, but a deceiver of others. To himself his real character is known, as it is also to God, the Judge of all; but it is hid from his fellow men, who are deceived by his plausible profession and fair speeches. The word implies that, like an ancient stage player, he acts under a mask, and personates a character which does not properly belong to him. The mask he wears is a form of godliness, and the part he acts is that of a religious man. His religion is only a counterfeit.

1. The hypocrite is a person whose outward conduct, upon the whole, is irreproachable in the sight of men.

2. His true character is far from coming up to the requirements of the Gospel. He is one whose heart is not right with God. His heart is unchanged, unrenewed, unsanctified, destitute of faith and humility, and without the love and fear of God.

3. The hypocrite does all his works to be seen of men. It is not God that he seeks to please. Self is the idol which he worships, and to which his incense is burned.

4. The hypocrite is partial and formal in his obedience. His obedience has respect only to some of the Commandments. The principle by which he is actuated is earthly and grovelling, leading him to seek only to have glory of men. Such a man has no portion in the life to come; he has no treasure in heaven.

II. THE NATURE OF HIS HOPE. Job takes for granted that the hypocrite may gain by his profession. He may, in many respects, succeed in obtaining the object of his wishes or the reward he covets. But what is his hope when God taketh away his soul? Consider —

1. The foundation on which his hope rests.

2. The author of his hope. Not God, but Satan.

3. The effects it produces.Then let us examine ourselves by this test. There are some who do not go so far even as the hypocrite. Even he pays some deference to religion. What character do we bear? Let us beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Avoid hypocrisy and cultivate sincerity. Be Christians, not merely in name, but in reality. Build your hope on Christ alone, counting Him to be your greatest gain.

(D. Rees.)

I. THE FEARFUL NATURE OF RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY. With all His mildness, gentleness, and compassion, we yet find Christ thundering against the hypocrite. There is a class of men who make a profession of religion which they know to be false. These are the persons whom the Redeemer denounces. A religious profession is undoubtedly an excellence, but this is the honest avowal of the religion that is already in the heart; taking care, that as the hypocrite hides his sins under a cloak, we should not hide our religion under a cloak, but should honestly avow that Saviour whom we profess to believe on in secret. Now that which is uttered and avowed before nil the world, because we have it in secret, is surely a different affair from a mere profession that is allied to an attempt to impose upon men, and setting the omniscience of God at defiance.

II. VAIN ARE ALL WARNINGS GIVEN TO HYPOCRITES, BECAUSE HYPOCRISY HARDENS THE HEART. See the case of Judas. We ought to be made of glass, that every man may see what is our real character. We are more transparent than crystal before the eyes of the eternal God. The sin of false profession infatuates the mind, hardens the heart, and keeps a man always forming such false reasonings and conclusions that they lead at last to the most manifest overwhelming of him with his own crimes and with God's judgment.

III. HOW VAIN ARE ALL THE THINGS ON WHICH THE HYPOCRITE PLACES HIS HOPE WHEN GOD ARISES TO JUDGMENT. A man may accustom himself to falsehood until he makes lies his refuge, and can scarcely distinguish between the most gross imposition upon himself and sincere safe dealing. When men accustom themselves to a system of deceit, they get perfectly bewildered and know not that which a child would have known and expected.

IV. A LIFE OF HYPOCRISY IS LIKELY TO END IN A DEATH OF IMPENITENCE. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; the prayer only of the upright is God's delight. We dare not think that a man, after living a life of hypocrisy, need only utter a few prayers and all is safe and well. True prayer is alone the prayer of true penitence.

(James Bennett, D. D.)

The teaching of the text may be summed up in this plain proposition — the hypocrite's hope. How happy soever he may seem from it for a while, will leave him miserable when God shall take away his soul.

I. TO WHOM THE CHARACTER OF A HYPOCRITE BELONGS. The word suggests, "one who acts in a play," representing another person rather than his own. Transferred to religion, it is used to denote such as have put on a form of godliness, and would pass for saints, but are not in reality what they seem. The Hebrew word comes from one that signifies a cloud, as their wickedness is covered; or as they are painted over with another colour, hiding their natural one, that it may not be known. Thus an hypocrite is a real enemy to God, outwardly acting as one of His children. Open his character.

1. An hypocrite is one that pretends to have entirely devoted himself to God, when he has not, but divided his heart between God and the world; and so God has no interest in him at all. It is the whole heart God calls for, and He will have nothing less.

2. He is one that professes a regard to the will of God, as the reason, and to the glory of God as the end, of what he does in religion; when, in the meantime, he acts from other springs, and for lower and selfish ends.

3. He is one that takes more pains to appear outwardly religious than to be really so, between God and his own soul. A true Christian is as solicitous about his heart as about his life. But this is not the hypocrite's concern. If he has a fair outside, he is little careful how matters stand within.

4. He is one that, in religious duties, puts God off with bodily service, whilst the heart is unengaged and left out.

5. He is partial and uneven in his obedience to God, and in his walk with Him.

II. SUCH MAY HAVE A HOPE WHICH THEY MAINTAIN AS LONG AS THEY LIVE. It is strange that in souls so unsafe this hope should be so tong kept up. It is owing to such things as these —

1. To wretched ignorance of themselves, through neglecting to look into their own hearts.

2. To their not attending to the extent and spirituality of the law, as to what it requires of them, and how far they come short of obedience to it.

3. To the favourable apprehensions others may have of them.

4. To comparing themselves with open sinners, or more loose professors.

5. To the length they may go as to the attainment of what looks like grace.

III. WHAT HYPOCRITES MAY BE SAID FOR A WHILE TO GAIN. It is supposed that some advantage they aim at, and may also reach.

1. By the part they act, they may gain more of the world.

2. They may gain the esteem and applause of men, and have the reputation of being eminently holy and religious.

3. They may gain a sort of peace in their own minds.

4. They may hereupon gain a smooth passage through the world, and an easy going out of it.

5. They may have a pompous funeral, and be well spoken of when they are dead.

IV. THE VANITY AND EMPTINESS OF THE HYPOCRITE'S HOPE AND GAIN, AND THE CERTAINTY AND DREADFULNESS OF HIS MISERY WHEN GOD TAKETH AWAY HIS SOUL.

1. What is the hope of the hypocrite? A hope without ground, without fruit; and a hope that will not hold before the Judge.

2. What is the gain of the hypocrite? It is unsuitable to his soul, his better part. It is bounded within this present life, and can accompany him no further. Then take up with no hope but such as will stand you in stead when God shall take away your soul.

(1)Not the hope that is built upon a mere profession, how specious soever.

(2)Not a hope that is built upon excellent gifts and attainments.

(3)Not a hope that is built upon external reformation.

(4)Not a hope that is built upon the good opinion of others.

(5)Not a hope that is built upon what we enjoy or suffer as to the present world.

(6)Not a hope that is built upon Church privileges; but a hope that has the mercy of God in Christ for its ground, and the promise of God for its warrant.

(D. Wilcox.)

I. TO WHOM THE CHARACTER IN THE TEXT APPLIES. To all those who, in the concerns of religion, act a different part to what they really are. Particularly it applies —

1. To those who pretend entire devotedness to God, while their hearts are divided (Psalm 12:2).

2. Who profess a regard to the will of God as the reason, and His glory as the end, of what they do in religion; while, at the same time, they act from other springs, and for lower and selfish ends (Matthew 6:1).

3. Who are more careful to appear outwardly religious, than to be really so between God and their own souls (Matthew 23:27, 28).

4. Who put God off with bodily service, while the heart is not engaged in it (Isaiah 29:13; John 4:24).

5. Who are partial in their obedience to God, while the real Christian says Psalm 119:128.

II. THE HOPE AND THE GAIN OF SUCH A CHARACTER.

1. Their hope relates to a future state of blessedness.

2. It is groundless, without a solid foundation (Colossians 1:27).

3. It is fruitless. See the Christian's hope, 1 John 3:3.

4. It will be cut off (Matthew 7:23).And this false hope is generally owing —

1. To ignorance of themselves; their own hearts.

2. To want of attention to the extent and spirituality of the law of God (Romans 7:9).

3. The favourable opinion others have of them.

4. Comparing themselves with open sinners, or lukewarm professors (Luke 18:11).

5. The length they go, as to the exercise of what appears to be grace; abstaining from many sins; practising many religious duties, etc.As to their acquisitions; they may gain —

1. More of this world.

2. The esteem and applause of men.

3. A false peace (Revelation 3:17).

4. A smooth passage through life.

5. A pompous funeral. But, behold —

III. THE DREADFUL END OF SUCH; expressed in these words, "When God taketh away his soul."

1. His soul, his immortal part, which he has deceived and ruined.

2. God will take it away; whose power there is no resisting; from whose presence there is no escape.

3. He will take it away; perhaps with violence (Proverbs 14:32), always in displeasure.

4. Take it away from present gains and hopes, to real misery, and to the greatest share of it. To all this he is continually liable, and at no time safe from it. While he is crying, Peace, peace, sudden destruction is coming upon him.Improvement —

1. Seriously examine as to your own character. Judge yourselves, that ye be not judged.

2. Dread nothing more than the hypocrite's hope, and frequently look to the foundation of your own.

3. Bless God if you can give a reason for the hope that is in you; but do it with fear and trembling; the final judgment is not yet over.

4. Do nothing to sink your hope, or fill you with overwhelming fear. Think often what you hope for, whom you hope in, and of the ground you hope upon; and thus prepare for the fruition of your hope in eternal glory.

(T. Hannam.)

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