Humility and Hypocrisy

Day 36

Prayer for the day

Early in the morning I cry out to you, for in your word is my trust.

Scripture for the day

Exodus 36-38, Matthew 23:1-22

Hypocrisy. It’s the great bane of the Christian life. It means claiming to have a belief that does not line up with our actions. It’s the common aspersion thrown at the church. And it’s painfully true. The church is full of hypocrites.

Jesus is pretty hard on the hypocrites. He calls them out more than any other group of people, because of the damage that hypocrisy does to the name of God and the people who claim to follow Him.

The particular kind of hypocrisy Jesus attacks in this passage is the hypocrisy that is the opposite of humility: prideful hypocrisy. The leaders of the time that Jesus is discussing all place heavy burdens of the law on people, calling them to love God and sacrifice, yet they seek out places of honour, places of distinction. They are self-important and self-righteous in the worse way.

Moses and the Israelites, for once, contrast this hypocrisy with a humility that is commendable. When the people see and hear what God requires of them, they step up to the plate big time. They give even more than is required so that Moses has to tell them to stop giving (every pastor’s dream!!) and they work harder than expected in order to erect a building to the glory of God.

And right there is the great contrast. They do spectacularly public things, but they do those things for God, unlike the Pharisees Jesus rebukes, who do their public deeds of righteousness to be seen, to be commended, and to be lauded. The humility evident in the Israelite response is the beautiful response of a people so enamoured of their God that their hardest work and greatest achievement is dedicated solely to His glory.

Would that we as a people would have the humility to be able to do the same thing.


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