What Are You Hiding?
“Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff” (Joshua 7:11).
When Achan, the infamous troubler of Israel, hid the accursed objects of gold, silver, and a Babylonish garment under his tent, God accused Him of stealing and dissembling. Achan took of the spoils of Jericho, which God had explicitly said were His alone; they were “consecrated unto the Lord” (Joshua 6:19). We all know what it means to steal – to take something that belongs to another without their permission – but what does it mean to dissemble?
Dissemble and its forms are found seven times in the Bible. Noah Webster tells us it means “to hide under a false appearance; to conceal the real fact; to disguise; to pretend that not to be, which really is; to be hypocritical”. Our English word dissemble comes from the Latin word dissimulo: dis=not and simulo=similar or alike. It means that the truth and what is purported to be the truth are not the same. Dissemble is not an archaic word, but rather a seldom used word. We are more familiar with assemble, which uses the same root word, meaning to bring together, make as one. By hiding the forbidden objects under his tent, Achan gave the appearance that he had done nothing wrong. The inside of Achan’s tent looked just like the inside of Joshua’s tent, but the truth was that in Achan’s tent there was sin. Dissembling is bearing false witness.
In the New Testament, Paul accuses Peter of dissimulation – of acting one way in front of Gentile believers and another way in front of Jewish believers. “And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Galatians 2:13-14). Peter should have stood against these Jewish legalizers, rather than giving the impression that they were okay. In the same manner, carnal, hypocritical Christians are always trying to hide the truth about who they really are. In front of Christians at church, they act like they are godly; in front of the world they appear worldly, and not as a Christian. Do you dress and talk like a Christian on Sunday and then on Monday dress and talk like the world?
If for any reason we feel we need to hide our works or motives, then mark it down, we are probably doing evil. A Christian should never have to be secretive or dishonest. Matter of fact, we are to be open and honest about all our works. Jesus tells us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Further we are told, “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth [not hiding the truth] commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
When revival comes to a person, they will begin to confess their sin and make things right with others. I ask you again, “What are you hiding?” If you are guilty of dissimulation, heed what the Scriptures say: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Pastor David J. Harness
Victory Baptist Church
Bro. Jeff Hallmark