Destiny of the Hypocrite
“But for sinners what a different story! They blow away like chaff before the wind. They are not safe on Judgment Day; they shall not stand among the godly… the paths of the godless lead to doom.” (Psalm 1:4-6 LB)
After focusing on the life of the righteous in the first three verses of Psalm One, the psalmist takes a dramatic turn in the fourth verse when he shifts the focus onto the godless.
The reader is presented with a picture of an ancient farmer separating wheat berries from the unwanted husks. The chaff was light while the wheat berries had weighty substance. To separate one from the other, the farmer simply threw the whole mess up in the air and allowed the wind to carry the chaff away.
While this analogy offers an apt contrast of the godly and ungodly people found in the human race, it paints an even more vivid picture of the true and false believers who assemble together every Sunday in our churches. As Charles Spurgeon notes, “All our congregations upon earth are mixed. Every Church has one devil in it. The tares grow in the same furrows as the wheat. There is no floor which is as yet thoroughly purged from chaff. Sinners mix with saints, as dross mingles with gold.”
Hypocrites can become so adept at presenting a godly façade that sometimes only the Lord knows who are truly His. It is not so much the outward, observable life that differentiates the two, but the inward, hidden life.
The one outstanding characteristic about the religious pretender is that he feels perfectly at home in both the spiritual environment of the house of God and in the “counsel of the ungodly.” He can move back and forth between both worlds effortlessly. He can sing hymns and listen to a sermon on Sunday morning and spend the rest of the day in the worldly atmosphere perpetuated through secular television. In fact, as long as there is nobody present with whom he must maintain his religious façade, he can watch the most carnal programming without the slightest concern.
Not only is the Lord watching what he does in secret, but He also sees what is truly going on inside him. Chaff is a fitting illustration of the inward life of the Christian imposter. Lacking the weighty character that is produced through true godliness, he attempts to make up for it by using words to cast an impression on people’s minds of his piety. His act is as empty as the hot air he expels in the performance of it.
The message of Psalm 1 to the hypocrite could be narrowed down to one word in the second verse: delight. It would behoove each of us to sincerely ask ourselves what it is that offers us delight. Is it the godless entertainment of the world or the Word of God? That will give us a clear picture about where we stand with God.
And how about you? Where do you find your delight? If your pastor were to secretly watch your actions throughout the day, do you think he would consider you to be a true believer? If you are living a godly life, one thing is certain: the Lord is building something weighty within you that will last the ages!