The Path of Sin and the Rest of Righteousness
Isaiah 3:9-11
The show of their countenance does witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not…

I. THAT SIN CANNOT BE CONCEALED. "The show of their countenance doth witness against them" (ver. 9). Whether Isaiah's words point to the unconscious revelation of sin is uncertain, but they clearly suggest the fact. The evil that is in men's hearts is shown in their countenance, whether they wish to conceal it or whether they take a shameful pride in it. The thoughts that flit through the mind, the passions that burn within the soul, the sins that defile the inward man, are written, line by line, on the visage, and "may be known and read of all men." Are there not those whom we have to look upon in the inter, course of life "whose eyes are full of adultery," or whose cheeks are stained with intoxication, or whose features are drawn together with cruelty; those who, instead of "bearing in their body the marks of the Lord Jesus, "carry with them the signs of Satan's service? It is a fact which may well make the guilty wince and hesitate before they continue, that, by the operation of God's righteous laws, the sin which at the beginning they would fain hide in the depths of their own soul, will at length be written on the tablet of the body, and "the show of their countenance will witness against them."

II. THAT SIN, IN ITS LATER STAGES, SCORNS TO BE SCREENED FROM VIEW. "They declare their sin...they hide it not" (ver. 9). In the further stages of iniquity there is no attempt, for there is no desire, to hide the wrong thing from view. Shame gradually declines until it passes away, and in its place there grows up a horrible pride in sin. Men come to gloat over that from which they ought to shrink with utmost sense of humiliation; they "glory in their shame" (Philippians 3:19). This is eminently true of acts of rapacity and fraud; it also applies to sins of direct ungodliness and of self-indulgence.

III. THAT SIN IS ALWAYS WORKING TOWARDS RUIN. "Woe unto their soul; they have rewarded evil unto themselves" (ver. 9). "Woe unto the wicked," etc. (ver. 11). Sin sometimes prospers long; the "sinner may do evil a hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely we know... that it shall not be well with the wicked" (Ecclesiastes 8:12, 13). Nor is it well when the end comes (see Psalm 73:1-20).

1. Sin tends to temporal ill-being, to penury, to sickness, to early death.

2. Sin tends to isolation, to the withdrawal of confidence and affection on the part of the good and worthy, to dishonor, and even degradation.

3. Sin must inevitably lead to spiritual deterioration and, if it be persisted in, to spiritual death. "The wages of sin is death."

4. Sin finally conducts to condemnation and exile from the home of God. Alas! for the soul that is impenitent, that seeks not Divine mercy, that does not return on its way to the living God and to his righteousness. There is a world of meaning in that one small word which constitutes here such a significant sentence "ill."

IV. THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS MAY REST SECURE IN HOPE. (Ver. 10.) It may seem ill to the righteous; "weeping may endure for a night." He may find himself inclined to sigh, "All these things are against me" (Genesis 42:36). But "unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness." The converse of all that applies to the ungodly is true of the godly. Righteousness

(1) tends to prosperity here;

(2) begets trust and love;

(3) results in moral excellency - the good man finds that honesty, purity, truthfulness, sobriety, kindness, etc., issue in spiritual increase, in a harvest of inward good, and he "eats the fruit of his doings;"

(4) conducts at last to the heavenly land, where he who does the will of God "is recompensed at the resurrection of the just." - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

WEB: The look of their faces testify against them. They parade their sin like Sodom. They don't hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought disaster upon themselves.

Character Revealed in the Countenance
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