By Their Fruit
But to the wicked, God says: “What right have you to
recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my
instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief,
you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use
your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You speak
continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s
son. These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought
I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and
accuse you to your face.”
It is often difficult for us to distinguish the reality behind the appearance of things. But what we are incapable of doing, God can.
The reality here is one of wickedness, but the appearance is one of righteousness. While God can never be fooled, men can easily be blinded by the smooth words of charlatans and false purveyors of the Word. One of the most reprehensible examples of this is the deceitful and self-serving holy man who steals from God’s vineyard and spreads corruption amongst the people.
Before the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah proclaimed that false priests would bring devastation to the land: “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:13–14). Any society that substitutes licentiousness and greed for virtue and goodness has intentionally or unintentionally chosen a path that will lead to corruption, decline and, if not reversed, a fall as severe as the destruction of ancient Jerusalem.