The expression on their faces testifies against them, and like Sodom they flaunt their sin; they do not conceal it; woe to them, for they have brought disaster upon themselves.
show of the countenance.
I. MEN CANNOT PREVENT SELF-REVEALING. As the New Testament says, "They that be otherwise cannot be hid." There is no concealment in nature. The hidden seed springs up even in the cleft of a rock. There is always some damaging witness waiting for an evil man. As the snow reveals the footsteps of the beast of prey, as the wind of the desert drifts the sand from the body that is buried in it, so sin will surely be found out. A bad man's face is a tell-tale of levity and scorn and shame. If God is not in the heart, the light of his presence will not be in the countenance.
II. MEN CANNOT LONG ACT A PART. Nature is against insincerity. You cannot forge her handwriting. You cannot make your artificial rock so that it shall remain unknown beside hers. No. And it is so with voice and face. Hypocrisy drops unconsciously its mask. The same words are spoken differently by sincere and insincere men. We read of hollow laughter. So there is hollow exhortation which does not exercise inspiration over our hearts. So men cannot twist their countenances into false witnessing. There is a blatant iniquity about the wicked which cannot be concealed by long effort. "They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not."
III. MEN CANNOT AVERT PUNISHMENT. "Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves." They create their own inquisition-chamber. Memory is their misery. No theories of unaccountability can live. Excuses there are none. The conscience tears them to pieces like a spider's web. Life is personal and accountable. We all feel that. "Say ye to the righteous, it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him." Reward, then, is not always blessing; it is harvest of golden sheaves or gathered tares, according to our planting. Verily a light from within fills the countenance even of godly men. The prayer is fulfilled. "Cause thy face to shine upon us." "Who is the Health of my countenance, and my God" - W.M.S.
1. The condition of sinners is woeful and very deplorable.
The shew of their countenance doth witness against them.
2. It is the soul that is damaged and endangered by sin. Sinners may prosper in their outward estates, and yet there may be a woe to their souls.
3. Whatever evil befalls sinners, it is of their own procuring (Jeremiah 2:19).
( M. Henry.)
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