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God’s Heart for Hypocrites

October 7 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 28-29; Philippians 3

God’s Heart for Hypocrites

She is more righteous than I.
Genesis 38:26
READ GENESIS 38:16–26

“I’d be very disappointed if one of our team members did that,” said a cricket player, referring to a South African cricketer who’d cheated in a match in 2016. But only two years later, that same player was caught in a nearly identical scandal.

Few things rankle us more than hypocrisy. But in the story of Judah in Genesis 38, Judah’s hypocritical behavior nearly had deadly consequences. After two of his sons died soon after marrying Tamar, Judah had quietly abandoned his duty to provide for her needs (vv. 8-11). In desperation, Tamar disguised herself by wearing a prostitute’s veil, and Judah slept with her (vv. 15-16).

Yet when Judah learned that his widowed daughter-in-law was pregnant, his reaction was murderous. “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” he demanded (v. 24). But Tamar had proof that Judah was the father (v. 25).
Judah could have denied the truth. Instead he admitted his hypocrisy, and also accepted his responsibility to care for her, saying, “She is more righteous than I” (v. 26).

And God wove even this dark chapter of Judah and Tamar’s story into His story of our redemption. Tamar’s children (vv. 29-30) would become ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:2-3).

Why is Genesis 38 in the Bible? One reason is because it’s the story of our hypocritical human hearts—and of God’s heart of love, grace, and mercy.
By Tim Gustafson

REFLECT & PRAY
Help me to see, Father, that at the heart of the matter, we’re all hypocrites who need Your forgiveness.

How do you react when you become aware of your hypocrisy? What would happen if we all became truly transparent with each other?

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SCRIPTURE INSIGHT
There isn’t a Hebrew word that directly translates hypocrite, but the Greek word hypokrites is used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) to render the word godless. The word hypokrites actually means “play actor.” It was a reference to the fact that Greek actors played their parts behind masks—implying that a hypocrite is one who deceives by masking their true intentions. Bill Crowder
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