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Anatomy lesson 11: religious hypocrisy spells doom (hypocrites in a desolate house)

Rev. Enoch Thompson | August 14, 2023 | Matthew 23:37-39


³⁸Look, your house is left to you desolate. ³⁹For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ Matthew 23:38-39 (NIV)


When a person decides to give the impression to everyone that they are well to do when they are really poverty-stricken, they will carry on their pretence for a time and then it will become evident to all that they are really poor. The hypocrite thinks all is well until they discover that nothing is well.

Blinded by their hypocrisy the Jewish religious leaders did not see the Saviour standing in their midst and offering them eternal life through His own blood to be shed on the cross of Calvary. They did not see in their animal and grain sacrifices the forecast of the once for all sacrifice that will save the whole world. The Lord uses the beautiful illustration of a hen reaching out to its chicks to give them cover under her wings at the onset of an enemy hawk attack. The African Ancients say that “the chick that says that the armpit of its mother-hen is smelly will become food for the hawks.”

A life of hypocrisy will keep us thinking that we are okay until we realise that it is too late to be okay. The nation of Israel, by following an external religion which did not bear the stamp of internal righteousness, was preparing itself to be destroyed. The temple which they mistakenly prided themselves in as the dwelling place of God among them, as it was promised to Solomon, would soon become empty of the promised presence of God in payment for their hypocrisy, a religion that lacked vital spirituality and meaningful social life, therefore.


What assures you of the presence of God in your life? Does it tally with God’s expectation of you? Are you over-relying on glories that are dwindling? It is time to be real with God and before God. Pretence and self-deception will soon expose you to spiritual nakedness and destruction. Get real with God! Escape the consequences of hypocrisy!!


Lord, thank you for the wake-up call. I want to stay awake and watch. I want to please Heaven. Please avert your rightful judgment from the Church. May our house not be left desolate. Lord helps us! For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.



DAILY word study: DESOLATE The English word "desolate" in this verse is translated from the Greek word "ἔρημος" (erēmos). It conveys the idea of being deserted, uninhabited, or laid waste. It describes a place or state that is empty, barren, and forsaken.

In this passage, Jesus is lamenting over Jerusalem and its rejection of God's messengers, including the prophets He sent. He uses the imagery of a mother hen gathering her chicks to illustrate His desire to protect and care for the people of Jerusalem. However, their unwillingness to accept His care and message leads to a tragic consequence: their city will become desolate.

The word "desolate" captures a sense of profound loss and abandonment. Jesus' use of this word conveys the weight of the spiritual condition of those who reject Him and His teachings. It reveals the consequences of turning away from God's love and guidance. Despite His longing to offer protection and salvation, the people's unwillingness to accept His grace leads to a state of spiritual barrenness and emptiness.

This passage serves as a warning against hardening our hearts to God's invitation. It reminds us that when we resist God's offer of love and refuse to align ourselves with His purposes, we risk experiencing spiritual desolation—an inner void that results from distancing ourselves from the source of life and fulfilment.


Are there areas of your life where you might be resisting God's invitation to draw close to Him, resulting in a sense of spiritual desolation? How can you open yourself to His loving embrace and allow His presence to fill any emptiness within me?

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