Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, April 28, 2014
Do you know any hypocrites? Unfortunately, we all know a few and, at one time or another, each of us qualifies as a hypocrite. Hypocrites are frustrating to those around them and are frequently derided, especially those who are Christians. The Church is always being accused of harboring hypocrites. It seems a seeker of Christ is a magnet for accusations of hypocrisy. Unbelievers are quick to point fingers and label Christians as hypocrites when they see a Christian sin. Hauntingly, Gandhi remarked, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
There are many who claim to be Christians who do not live Christ-like lives, but do their accusers actually understand what a hypocrite is according the Bible? My assessment is they do not. A Christian is a person who admits being a sinner, not a person who is perfect. Thus, when a Christian sins, one should not be surprised – it’s a person’s natural state. In contrast, an unsaved person usually claims they do not sin or that their transgressions are minor, minimizing their transgressions. Then, hypocritically, the unsaved person often goes to extreme measures to try to cover up or disguise the sin. Therefore, admission of sin is honesty, whereas sanitizing the sin is hypocrisy.
The Bible provides an excellent example of a person who was a verifiable hypocrite. His name was Esau, twin brother of the patriarch Jacob. Esau was a pretentious, hypocritical man. This aspect of his nature is evident by the fact that he changed his wives names. The Bible tells us in Genesis 36:2-3, “Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite – also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.”
Two of Esau’s wives were Canaanite women – lost, pagan idolators. Esau’s third wife, Basemath, was Esau’s cousin, the daughter of Ishmael, his father’s half-brother. The important fact to glean from Esau’s story is how the names of his wives are different in Genesis 36 from the names recorded first in Genesis 26:34. These are the same women, but their names have changed. What happened, and how does this relate to hypocrisy?
The answer is Esau knew his Christian mother and father, Isaac and Rebekah, would never be pleased with his non-Christian wives, so he changed their names. Oholibama was probably a temple prostitute from one of the pagan Canaanite temples. Her name means “tent of the High Place”. Adah was the same name as that of the wife of Lamech, the great arch rebel of Noah’s day.
The names recorded in Genesis 36 are Esau’s wives true names; however, when he brought his pagan wives to introduce them to his parents, he changed their names to Judith and Basemath (Genesis 26:34). These names were more Hebrewish than their original names, and Esau hoped to make his wives more palatable to his parents. To confound the issue, Esau then married a relative whose real name was Basemath, so he had two wives by the same name! To solve his problem, he changed her name to Mahalath (Genesis 28:9).
Sound confusing? Absolutely! Esau’s abnormal behavior shows just how far a man in the flesh will go to try to appear or fane righteousness and respectability. Changing the names of his wives did nothing to change the nature of his sin of marrying them, it only made Esau a pretentious hypocrite. Esau was a lost man, but he tried to appear righteous before his Christian parents. As soon as Esau moved away from his parents, he went back to using the original Canaanite names of his wives. That is why the Bible records the original names in Genesis 36.
The flesh is always pretentious and hypocritical and tries to appear righteous when, in fact, it is vile and sinful. Esau was the archetype of a hypocrite. The Bible tells us through Esau’s story that a hypocrite is not a saved person acting like a lost, unsaved person. A hypocrite is a lost person trying to act self-righteous and appear as though he is saved when, in fact, he is not. When you see someone you would call a hypocrite, chances are they are not a Christian doubling as a lost person; rather, they are probably a lost person doubling as a Christian, just as Esau did.
The flesh never wants its activities exposed for what they really are – dirty, vile sin. The flesh wants to dress up its activities and make them appear outwardly acceptable. Esau changed the names of his three wives. Not unlike Esau, our culture today is changing the names of many sins to make them sound less vile. For example, adultery is called an extra-marital affair, drunkenness is called a disease or a disability, homosexuality and lesbianism are called alternative lifestyles, abortion is called the right to choose, and pornography is called freedom of expression.
Changing a name to disguise the sin behind it is not normal. Esau changed the names of his wives to cover up his sin and our society is changing the names of sin today. This tactic never works in God’s eyes. He knows the Truth – you cannot sanitize sin. You can call a skunk by any other name, but it still stinks, and sin by any other name is still sin!
The world of unbelievers often delights in pointing out the occasional transgressions of a Christian. The Bible tells us the joke is really on them since we’re all sinners and hypocrites. A pretentious hypocrite is not a Christian who stumbles; a hypocrite is an unrepentant sinner who renames his sin in a desperate attempt to keep up appearances. Remember this the next time you hear about all the hypocrites in Christ’s Church. Chances are you are listening to a verifiable, pretentious hypocrite.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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