The Fruits of Deception
In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Genesis we read that Abraham said of Sarah that she was his sister. In so saying he misrepresented the facts, for she was his wife, although she was his half sister. We will notice now the outcome of this case of deception. For in the twentieth chapter of the same book he got into another hard place, and said of his wife the second time, “She is my sister.” You see, he misrepresented things twice, and we see the effect of the misrepresentation of the father on the son.
We read in the twenty-sixth chapter of Genesis that his son, Isaac, got into a hard place, and he said of his little wife, Rebecca, “She is my sister.” There the mantle of the father had fallen on the son. But, beloved, “chickens come home to roost,” for we read now, in the twenty-seventh chapter of Genesis, that when Isaac was old and almost blind, his son Jacob covered himself with a goatskin and put on his brother Esau’s clothes, and came in before the old father, Isaac, and, behold, he said, “I am your very son Esau.” There is the sin handed down from the father to the son, and to the grandson. How strange that Jacob would cover himself with a goatskin in order to deceive his dying father! But God is faithful and will reward each man according to his deeds.
After Jacob deceived his father by putting on a goatskin and Esau’s clothes, he swindled his brother, Esau, out of his birthright and his father’s parting blessing. But we then read that Jacob left home and fled from the face of his brother, Esau. He went into a far country and hired himself out to a man whose name was Laban.
Laban was a relative of Jacob’s grandfather Abraham, and now we see Laban comes into play at this time and takes a hand in deception. Jacob had fallen desperately in love with Laban’s youngest daughter, Miss Rachel. He was so in love with this beautiful maiden that he finally contracted to work for her seven years. When the seven years were up and the great wedding day was set, behold, Laban covers Miss Leah with a heavy veil and presents her to Jacob for his daughter Rachel.
After the wedding ceremonies were all over, and Jacob was rejoicing in the fact that his seven years were up, and now he had his beautiful bride, Miss Rachel, behold, to his surprise, when the veil was removed, he found that Laban had deceived him and had given him Leah. Then no doubt his mind turned back to the day seven years before when he himself had put on a goatskin and deceived his old father, and had gotten Esau’s blessing and birthright.
We see again that the seed of deception is still bearing fruit in the family of Abraham, for as Jacob had deceived his father, now Laban had deceived him. But Jacob was desperately in love with Rachel, and signed another contract to work seven years longer for Rachel. Finally he succeeded and won the girl for whom he had worked fourteen years.
But we also read again in the thirty-first chapter of Genesis that during this period of time Laban deceived Jacob, not only in giving him Leah when he should have had Rachel, but also by changing his wages ten times. Also we read at this time that little Rachel came to the front and took a hand in the deception and stole one of her father’s household gods and covered this god with household goods, and deceived the old man, and made him believe that she didn’t have it.
But the end is not yet, for we read again in the thirty-seventh chapter of Genesis that Jacob’s ten oldest sons were in the field, keeping their father’s flocks, and little Joseph and Benjamin were at home with their father. Jacob sent Joseph out to the field to see how his ten brothers were getting along. Joseph’s brethren caught the lad Joseph, stripped him of the beautiful coat his father had made him, and killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s coat in the blood. They brought it to the father and said, “See if you can tell whether or not this is your son Joseph’s coat.” And Jacob said, “Yes, this is my son’s coat, and no doubt an evil beast has torn him to pieces.”
But while they were carrying the coat to their father, little Joseph, whom they had just sold to a company of Ishmaelites that were going into Egypt, was at that time on his way to Egypt. What a wonderful case of deception! Jacob killed a goat and put on its hide and deceived his father, and now his sons kill a goat and roll Joseph’s beautiful coat in its blood, and deceive their father. We see again that the seed of deception that was sown in the great-grandfather of these young men is still bearing fruit.
But the end is not yet, for many years later we read in the forty-second chapter of Genesis that these same ten brethren that sold Joseph and dipped his coat in blood and deceived their father were now standing in the presence of the governor of Egypt. They didn’t know that it was their little brother Joseph, for he treated them as spies, and had them put in prison. While they were in prison they talked between themselves, and said, “No doubt but this is our sin that has overtaken us, for the way we treated our little brother Joseph.” Joseph heard their conversation and it almost broke his heart. He had to flee from their presence and go out where he could weep.
How strange this story all ends! Joseph is a type of Christ; his brothers represent a perishing world coming to Christ, seeking the bread of life. It also brings out the two works of grace. For when they went to Egypt the first time, they saw Joseph as a great ruler, and they got their sacks full of corn. When they went to Egypt the second time they knew Joseph, then, as their brother, and they got several wagonloads of corn, and honey, and the good things of the land. So it is with the young convert. He sees Jesus Christ as the Ruler of the world, but when he is sanctified wholly he sees Jesus as his Elder Brother.
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THE DECEITFULNESS OF PRIDE
The reader will remember that the wise man said, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” We have noticed that when a man gets on a tailor-made suit of clothes that is supposed to be all wool, he begins to puff, and strut, and swagger, and grin, and smile. Any man could see at a glance that the man is laboring under a delusion. He thinks that he is wearing new clothes, and he is too dull to know that he is wearing secondhand goods. He tells you that his suit is all wool, and tailor-made, and he doesn’t seem to remember that the old wether wore that wool all last year, and never thought of taking the “swell head” once. But the gentleman threw that old sheep on the scaffold and sheared the wool off his back and made himself a suit of clothes. Today he has a bad case of the “swell head” because his clothes are all wool. Shame on a man that will take the wool off a sheep’s back and put it on his own back, and take a bad case of the “swaggers,” and seems to forget that his clothes are secondhand.
Again we have noticed some man with a pair of shopmade shoes on, and as he strutted, and showed off, and swaggered around, he was showing you his shop-made shoes. He had forgotten that he was wearing secondhand goods, that the old Jersey cow had worn that hide for the last seven or eight years, and never for a single time showed the spirit of pride. But this man knocked her in the head and pulled her hide off and tanned it He made himself a pair of shoes to cover up the bunions and corns on his toes, and now because his bare feet are covered with a cowhide he has got a bad case of the “swaggers.” And as truly as “staggers” will kill a mule, the “swaggers” will kill a man. “Blind staggers” are no more fatal to a mule than “blind swaggers” are to a man.
Again I have noticed ladies with ostrich plumes in their hats, and they wanted the eyes of the community to behold their beauty and grandeur and glory. As they had stood before the mirror and beheld themselves, they seemed to think they had produced the feather. But, behold, an old ostrich wore those feathers all last year and never seemed to become proud or vain or to think that he himself was anything out of the ordinary. For an ostrich has got less sense than anything in the world, unless it is another creature that is trying to play the ostrich.
At other times we have seen a woman come into church with a silk dress on, and as she went down the aisle she wiggled and twisted exactly like a worm. She seemed to forget that the silkworm had been dressed in the silk before it ever reached her. But, strange as it seems to think of, this woman has the appearance of a worm as she wiggles. No doubt her object is to show that she is wearing imported goods, but she forgets that the goods are, nevertheless, secondhand.
The human family seem to forget that the sheep wore the wool before the man, the cow wore the hide before we got it, the ostrich wore the plume before the woman put it on her head, and the little worms made the silk before the woman ever wiggled down the aisle, cutting all the capers of a little, innocent worm.
When the pastor called on the silk-gowned lady to pray that morning, in a choked, smothered voice, she told the Lord that she was a poor weak worm of the dust A few minutes earlier she was trying to play the silkworm, all of which reveals the pride that is hid away in the heart of an unsanctified soul. Beloved, the wise man was right when he refers to pride as one of the great dangers of the human family, for it has often been said that “pride is not a misfortune, but a disease.”