Pretense Gen. 27: 42-46 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
A pretense is a false claim or profession; a false reason or plea; a pretending. It is one of the most common ways to lie in life and you see it repeatedly in the Bible. You see it when a person professes one thing but desires something totally different. We must recognize this natural tendency in people to hide the true motive behind what they’re saying and doing. We must look through their words and actions and ask the Lord to help us discern what they are really getting at. Wise men like Solomon and Jesus could see right through pretense.
Solomon discerned that his brother Adonijah wanted the kingdom when he pretended to want to marry Abishag [1 Ki 2:21-25]. Jesus discerned that the Pharisees were trying to catch him when they pretended to compliment his teaching [Matt 22:15-18]. They had ulterior motives.
Rebekah’s pretense – sending Jacob to Laban for a wife – Gen 27:42-46. Rebekah pretended to be concerned about Jacob marrying the daughters of Heth. So, she convinced Isaac to send him to Padanaram. Her real reason for sending him away was to keep Esau from killing him after he stole Esau’s blessing. Do you suppose she was also protecting herself, since neither Isaac nor Esau knew that she was the one who cooked up the scheme to steal the blessing [Gen 27:6-8]? The “few days” that Jacob was supposed to be gone [Gen 27:44] turned out to be 20 years. He never saw his mother again.
Saul’s pretense – Michal’s marriage to David – 1 Sam 18:20-27. Saul agreed that the man who killed Goliath would be his son-in-law [1 Sam 17:25]. However, after the death of Goliath and the victory over the Philistines, the women ascribed to David more honor than the king [1 Sam 18:6-9]. So, Saul reneged on the promise and gave his daughter, Merab, to someone else [1 Sam 18:19]. Therefore, when Saul decided to give Michal to David, the pretense was that the king delighted in David and loved him. The truth was that he knew Michal would be a snare to him and he hoped that the Philistines would kill David. This was, indeed, a bad marriage. She ended up married to another man [2 Sam 3:13-16]. She had no children [2 Sam 6:23]. She had to raise her sister’s five children [2 Sam 21:8; 1 Sam 18:19]. And they ended up dead because Saul slew the Gibeonites contrary to the agreement made with Joshua when Israel entered Canaan [2 Sam 21:1; Jos 9:3, 15].
David’s pretense – Sending for Uriah to hear the status of the war – 2 Sam 11:6-9. David slept with Bathsheba who was Uriah’s wife. She conceived [2 Sam 11:1-5]. So, David sent for Uriah on the pretense that he wanted to get a report on the battle. In reality, he wanted Uriah to spend the night with Bathsheba to cover up his sin. Uriah didn’t comply with the king’s plan. And so, David instructed Joab to put Uriah in the hottest part of the battle and to send word when Uriah was dead. Thus, only Joab might suspect that something was up. But Nathan found out from the Lord and confronted David in 2 Sam 12:1-14. Years later the pretense really backfired on David when Absalom sent the king into exile and when Adonijah attempted to take the kingdom before David’s death. Absalom was joined in his conspiracy by Ahithophel, David’s counsellor [2 Sam 15:12, 31]. Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather [2 Sam 23:34; 2 Sam 11:3]. And Adonijah was joined by Joab in his conspiracy [1 Ki 1:5-7]. These men never got over what David had done and the way he attempted to cover it by pretense.
Conclusion: you may have your plan; your little pretense as you scheme and manipulate circumstances and people to get things you want. But I will tell you that God won’t bless your pretense. You will suffer the consequences of your scheme in the end. And others may, too.