Will We Know Our Loved Ones in Heaven?

November 30, 2018 at 9:57 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

Question: In Heaven will Christians know and recognize other Christians to whom they were related in this earthly life?

Answer: I believe we will. In the Bible we see the phrase “he was gathered unto his people” when someone dies, meaning that his soul went to a place where his deceased loved ones already were. Genesis 25:8 and Numbers 20:24 are just a couple of examples. This indicates that in Heaven fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, even distant relatives and friends will know each other based on the earthly relationships they had. I don’t think that there will be the same familial, relational, or “legal” responsibilities and obligations between people in Heaven (such as mother-daughter, husband-wife) because Jesus will be the supreme recipient of all worship, affection, and adoration, but I Corinthians 15:49 seems to indicate that our resurrected and glorified bodies will carry with them enough of our physical resemblance and distinctiveness to make us recognizable to our loved ones.

The Insidiousness of Idolatry

November 28, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

An idol is dependent on man for its supposed deity, thereby making the man who worships it the actual false deity. Idolatry is the ultimate deception, delusion, and diabolical activity: self-worship.

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

Jeremiah 11:1-2 (emphasis added)

By “this covenant” he meant the Mosaic, or “deuteronomic” Covenant, which, if it had to be described in a few short words, could be summarized as: DO NOT COMMIT IDOLATRY.

And say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,

Jeremiah 11:3

Jeremiah preached this message over and over, even during the days of King Josiah’s reform, because the reform was only outward. It did not reach the hearts of the people.

Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:

Jeremiah 11:4

The iron furnace of suffering was compared to the land of milk and honey. How much would you have to love sin in order to decide to jump back into the furnace and reject beauty, peace, and joy?

That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O Lord.

Jeremiah 11:5

Jeremiah was the only one with the right response: “So be it; amen.”

Now God revealed to Jeremiah a secret plot that was going on in Judah. It was a conspiracy against Josiah’s reforms. Corrupt priests and leaders who had a vested interest in the worship of Baal in the groves did not want these legal declarations about turning back to Yahweh’s law to catch on.

And the Lord said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.

Jeremiah 11:9-10

Idolatry is a sin that will entice men, seduce them, entangle them, and cause them to foolishly fight on behalf of their idols against reform and even revival.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

November 26, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The well-known Incarnation celebration hymn, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” was first written by Charles Wesley, and later changed by George Whitefield, who changed the first line from, “Hark, how all the welkin ring,” to “Hark, the herald angels sing.” This changed the emphasis from the regeneration of the natural world, including inanimate creation, to the regeneration of mankind, God’s image-bearing creation.

The word “hark” does not appear in the Bible, but it is a shortened form of “hearken,” which does appear in 150 verses. For example,

Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?

Isaiah 42:23

Hearken means to listen closely, to listen with intensity and purpose, and with the intention of responding to what is heard. It is a great word to use in connection with the Annunciation: the announcement of the birth of Christ. Only those with “ears to hear” had been listening to the prophecies in the Word of God for centuries and centuries. Now was the time to hearken with joy, for faith to become sight AND to become audible.

The angels are called “herald” angels, and they were announcing good news. Before the internet, television, or even newspapers, the “town herald” heralded good news. The word “angel” means “the deliverer of news,” and, in the case of the EvANGELion, the greatest news of all.

Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

Psalm 103:20 (emphasis added)

The angels who announced the good news (“good tidings“) of “great joy” were angels which had hearkened, and which must be hearkened unto.

“Hark, the herald angels SING.” Singing, in the Bible, is often a sign of joy.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:19

New Testament singing is a gift of encouragement. The angels weren’t content to make a simple spoken announcement. This was an event worthy of sublime poetry in beautiful song.

“GLORY to the newborn King.”

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:14

Glory” is the weight of God’s attributes. It also speaks of His renown. It is His greatness showing forth – being revealed and made known. It is extreme. We like knowing that He is a powerful, transcendent, glorious God, but His glory also makes us “sore afraid.”

The phrase, “glory to the newborn King,” is a striking paradox, for this King was God, but how could the eternal God be “newborn?” This was a proclamation that God had become man – still God, but now adding humanity to Himself in order to accomplish the redemption of His fallen creatures, now His kinsmen: His own “race.”

And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

Acts 17:6-7

It took people a while to realize the full meaning of the announcement that the King had arrived as a newborn baby, but, once it was understood, the Apostles and the early Christians turned the world upside down with this message: The true King had died, risen, and ascended to sit down at the throne of God.

The message of the Incarnation of the Son of God (which this world calls Christmas) is a history lesson, but it is also a prophecy, a promise, and a sure prediction that will be fulfilled in a greater way yet to come. We must hearken back, and, every time we hear the familiar song, or think about Christ in any circumstance, to hearken forward as well.

Suffering for Glory

November 21, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Posted in I Peter | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

I Peter 4:11 (emphasis added)

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:16-18

Would a lifetime of what we call “suffering” be worth it to see God’s glory? It’s not even close! Just a GLIMPSE would far outweigh all suffering.

Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Galatians 3:4

It is not vain to suffer for the Gospel. It is not vain to suffer for God’s glory.

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

I Peter 4:13

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

I Peter 5:1

God is not so much in the replacement business as He is in the transformation business. We don’t get our suffering replaced with glory; our suffering is transformed into glory.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Matthew 12:20

Christ can take the things that seem too broken to be useful, too painful to be joyous, too unpleasant to be productive, and and He can transform them into things too wonderful to be ignored. The discomfort of pregnancy, and the excruciating agony of labor and delivery are transformed into joy at the sight of a newborn baby.

Satan hates for God to be glorified in this world, and he hates the name of Christ. I don’t know that he hates the name of Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or any denomination, but if you tell somebody, “Jesus loves you. He wants you to repent of your sin, and He wants to save you,” that’s when Satan will cause somebody get offended.

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

I Peter 4:16 (emphasis added)

This is one of only three times the Word “Christian” is used in the Bible (Acts 11:26 and Acts 26:28 being the other two). The idea is that a Christian is a “little Christ” or someone “of the party of Christ.” It was first devised by pagans as a derogatory term, although true Christians would find it extremely complimentary. Over time the Devil has tried to dilute the meaning so that people think it means “somebody who goes to church” or “somebody who has a personal belief in a higher power” or “somebody with conservative political views” or “somebody who doesn’t curse or get drunk or behave promiscuously.”

There is a fiery trial coming. The trials today, for the most part, for Christians living in the comfort of 21st Century America, are just a little toasty – not raging infernos like what is coming. One day the fire will separate folks, and we’ll find out just how much people VALUE the name “Christian.” The thought of eternal fire might get folks a little motivated to “do right,” but even vipers flea from a fire (Acts 28:3).

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

I Peter 4:17-18

Fiery trials bring heat, but also light. They are good places for self-examination, and for asking, “What is causing my suffering?” Suffering for Christ is cause for rejoicing because it brings glory to God.

Eternity

November 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Eternity | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The idea of eternity can be difficult for finite minds to grasp. Unlike our amazing Creator, we (His creatures) are constantly changing. Since “time” is the method devised for measuring change, we can scarcely fathom a realm (or a God) that exists “outside” of time. Christians talk of “spending” eternity with God and describe our Heavenly home as a place that will “last” forever, but we truly lack the language to adequately explain what it will be like to live “forever” with our magnificent Savior and His eternal, unending, infinite majesties, glories, and perfections.

Some of the earliest posts on this blog dealt with the theme of everlasting security, so, along with those and some other posts that examine Bible verses which talk about eternal life and God’s infinitude and immutability, I came up with the category called “Eternity.” Here are the links to its posts:

1. The Eternal Glory of God (II Timothy 2:10)
2. There Are Some Absolutes (Psalm 25)
3. Temporary Wealth Vs. Eternal Wealth (II Timothy 6:17-18)
4. Right Where You’re Supposed to Be (Ecclesiastes 3:11-12)
5. R.S.V.P. Before You R.I.P. (Ezekiel 12:27-28)
6. It’s Just Faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 4:5)
7. When Time Shall Be No More (Matthew 13:51-52)
8. The Bridegroom Cleans His Bride’s Wedding Gown (Revelation 19:7-9)
  a. Delivery and Birth (I Corinthians 5:1-5)
  b. The Deposit on Your Soul (II Corinthians 5:5)
  c. It All Depends on What Your Definition of “OF” Is (Galatians 2:16-20)
  d. All in the Past (Ephesians 4:30-32)
  e. Who “KEEPS” Me Saved? (Philippians 3:9)
  f. Perfect Unbreakable Love (Colossians 3:13-14)
  g. Learning to Like Eternal Life (I Thessalonians 4:7-8)
  h. Eternal Destruction (II Thessalonians 1:7-9, 2:16)
  i. Temporarily Saved Is Not Really Saved at All (I Timothy 2:3-4)
  j. Get Over Yourself, because You Can’t Get Over on God (II Timothy 2:13)
  k. Eternally Paid in Full (Philemon vv. 18-19)
  l. The Author of the Story that Never Ends (Hebrews 12:2, 7:5; Titus 1:2)
  m. Eternal Security Does Not Have an Expiration Date (I Peter 1:5, 2:24, 4:17)
  n. The Legend of the Unsaved Christian (II Peter 2:20-22)
  o. The Everlasting Anointing (I John 2:27)
  p. The Things that Will Last (II John v. 8)
  q. Eternal Infamy vs. Eternal Honor (III John vv. 9-10)
9. Do You Want to Live Forever? (I Timothy 2:5)
10. Discipleship Lesson 2: Everlasting Security
11. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 1) (John 14:16-17)
12. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 2) (Ezekiel 3:20; John 1:12-3)
13. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 3)
14. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 4) (Luke 8:13; Deuteronomy 30:17-20; Matthew 5:13)
15. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket (Job 39:13-17; Matthew 23:37; I John 5:13; Deuteronomy 33:27) *
16. Do Birds Sing about Eternity? (Ecclesiastes 3:11-14)
17. Partakers Overtake Undertakers (Hebrews 6:4-6)
18. The Assurance of the Blood (Hebrews 13:20-21; Jeremiah 32:40; Luke 22:20)
19. The Testator as Intercessor (Hebrews 7)

* most-viewed post in category

Marriage Should Not be Somber

November 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

In previous lessons in this series on Isaiah 62:1-4, I said that marriage should not be secret, static, or spurious. Now will see that marriage should not be somber.

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Isaiah 62:4

God’s people had been called Forsaken – forgotten or abandoned by their God – but the parallel contrast is that He would remove the name “Forsaken” and replace it with “Hephzibah” which translates as “My delight is in her.” Normally, I’m a proponent of being somber over being silly. That’s kind of my personality, and, as Christians, although we are not opposed to fun, we don’t want to be primarily identified as frivolous. In our marriages, we don’t want either spouse to be – or even feel, for that matter – “forsaken,” nor do we want people to get that impression. We want our marriages to show off the joy of the Lord. In fact, that joy follows closely on the heels of the idea of exercising dominion and kingship in this world, and, according to the Bible, it is a source of our strength:

The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

Psalm 21:1-3

We hear much about having a “happy marriage” these days, but, for Christians, the idea of joy in marriage is not that we have settled into a complacent peace that is dependent on everything going smoothly in our circumstances. The idea is that we are abounding in joy, and that our joy is contagious because we have been “saved” from the curse of sin. We have been given our “heart’s desire.” We have been crowned, not with a withering grass laurel, but with a crown of “pure gold.”

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Proverbs 5:18

Not only will this delight us because of God’s promise of blessing, but the Lord Himself will “Hephzibah” – delight! – in us and our marriages.

In the next lesson we will see that marriage must not be sterile.

Cooler than the Other Side of the Pillar

November 12, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Question: The children of Israel were led by a pillar of cloud/fire as they left Egypt. When they got to the Red Sea, did the pillar go over or across the sea so they would know they were supposed to go across, too?

Answer: If you look at Exodus 14:19-22 it appears that the pillar moved from in front of the Israelites to behind them in order to act as a shield between them and the Egyptians. After they crossed the Red Sea, it must have returned to the forefront in order to keep leading them. What’s really interesting is that Verse 19 connects the pillar with “the Angel of God,” which many Bible scholars take as a Christophany (a preincarnate appearance of Christ in the Old Testament). I Corinthians 10:1-4 also seems to support this idea.

The But Chapter: Immaturity and Independence

November 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Luke | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In the last lesson we looked at Luke Chapter 9 and considered the “buts” of incomprehension, indecision, and ignorance. Now we will see:

4. The But of Immaturity

But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying. Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Luke 9:46

Rather than marveling at the greatness of their Master’s mission, the Disciples were asking what a distressing number of us often find ourselves asking: What’s in it for me? Instead of looking back at what God has done, and looking forward to what He will do, or looking up to Him, we’re looking around – and not to find a need to serve – but to compare ourselves to those around us. “Why can’t I have what he has?” “How do I measure up to her?” “I attend Sunday School AND I have family devotions – the Lord MUST like me more than so-and-so…”

Jesus responded by calling a child into their midst.

And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

Luke 9:47

Notice that the children were right there with the grown-ups when Jesus was teaching. He didn’t have to send someone to fetch a child from children’s church. The point of summoning this child was not to illustrate CHILDISHNESS. That was the Disciples’ problem: they wanted to follow Jesus, BUT they were exhibiting the “But of Immaturity.” “I’m greater than you.” “No, Jesus likes me more than you.” The child that Jesus took from the crowd wasn’t CHILDISH – He was CHILD-LIKE.

And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

Luke 9:48

This child was child-like in the sense of being un-self-conscious. One of the paradoxes of the Kingdom of Christ is that child-likeness is a sign of maturity – because it seeks to please others, not self. Childishness is a sign of immaturity because it looks out for number one.

5. The But of Independence

And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

Luke 9:57

Note the play on the word “certain.” Here it means that a particular man is being referenced, but we also use the word “certain” to describe someone who is absolutely sure about something. This man was certainly gung ho about following Jesus. He didn’t just say, “I’ll go where You go.” He said “WHITHERSOEVER thou goest.” That’s the kind of followers Jesus wants, right? Hold on a second.

And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Luke 9:58

Just did not respond with, “Ha! I gotcha now – you made a commitment and that’s all we’re looking for. You’re on the right team now – just do what you can. Serve when you feel like it, and get your bucket ready. My Father’s going to pour out blessings so that you won’t be able to receive them all.” No, instead, Jesus told Him to count the cost – to make a sober assessment of his commitment to follow Christ. Following Jesus means following in discomfort as well as comfort. Jesus never preached a gimmicky gospel. He would have never raised enough funds to keep His TBN show on the air. He never promised a bed of roses as much as a crown of thorns.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Luke 9:59 (emphasis added)

Notice the command: “Follow Me.” This man wanted to go, but he still wanted some independence. He wanted to go in HIS time.

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:60

Christians preach to dead people – spiritually dead, not physically dead, people.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:1-5

Christians are not “independent.” We were and are completely dependent upon God for everything good we’ve ever known.

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

Luke 9:61 (emphasis added)

The But of Independence puts conditions on our service to Christ. We think that we will decide what’s important for ourselves, then serve within that framework, but Jesus says:

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62

The Lord can’t use you if you’re always looking back at your “but.” Jesus sets the priorities and the agenda. We depend upon Him to let us know where to work, what to wear, what our schedule is, who our friends are. You can’t play follow the leader if you’re looking back, and you can’t keep up if your “but” is too big.

I’m Just Sayin’ 12

November 7, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My daughter’s soccer career is over, but, I’m just sayin’, I’m not the least bit upset about it. Her career amounted to one season (her senior year) playing on her school’s co-ed team. I think they won one game (maybe two). After encouraging her to play tee-ball when she was small, fast-pitch softball as she grew older, and finally four years of high school volleyball (at which she excelled as the team MVP – #pleasednotproud), I felt like I owed it to her to let her try soccer, after she was persistent in asking me.

I have never had a very high opinion of soccer. Growing up, we played baseball, football, and basketball. The rich kids played tennis or went to swim meets. Soccer seemed like some weird game invented by foreigners who, for some reason, didn’t enjoy throwing and catching. I am aware, though, that times have changed. Public parks are now filled with little kids running around in shin guards and bouncing balls off their heads on purpose. Plenty of high schools and most major colleges have soccer teams.

I’m just sayin’, I never played soccer myself until very recently. Our church has a big open field next to it that would be ideal for baseball, softball, or football (real football, I mean, the American kind, where people can physically throw each other to the ground without getting one of those yellow or red “cards”), but instead it became the location for Saturday afternoon soccer scrimmages or “friendlies” or whatever they’re called. So, not wanting to be left out, I started playing, too. And, yes, you guessed it, I am horrible. Competing against people who have played their whole lives, I appear totally uncoordinated with my feet. Little kids race around me, “dribbling” in a weaving pattern, bouncing the ball off their heads, hips, and knees, making it somehow curve in the air so that it sails just out of my… I was going say “out of my reach,” but that’s a big part of the problem. You’re not allowed to “reach” in soccer. Good grief! I’m just sayin’.

Here is a short list of the things I don’t like about soccer (other than the fact that I stink at it):

1. You can’t use your hands. Seriously! A game which prohibits the use of your most dexterous body parts – parts that were clearly designed by God, our Creator, to be used in throwing, catching, and batting down balls – may not technically be sinful, but it certainly seems unnatural. How can we glorify God with our bodies when we shirk the use of His gifts in that way? I’m just sayin’!

2. It’s boring. A “high-scoring game” is something like 3-2. Are your kidding me? Many games end in a 0-0 tie! I’m sure I could look up the origins of the game on the internet if I cared to, but, I’m just sayin’, for now I’m sticking to my personal opinion that the game was invented, or at least popularized, by alcoholics, so that the spectators could get together and drink copious amounts of beer without having to worry about missing any of the scoring while standing in line at the concession booths or going to the restroom.

3. Offsides. In real football, when a receiver gets past his defender, and is streaking open downfield, with nothing between him and the goal line but open space, the quarterback heaves it as far as he can, and, if the receiver can catch it – yes, CATCH. IT. USING. HIS. HANDS. the way God intended – then he’s home free for a touchdown. In basketball, a steal can easily turn into a long pass down the court to a teammate who has slipped back beyond the defense and is waiting by himself for a slam dunk. Very exciting. In baseball, a long fly ball can sail right over the centerfielder’s head, and the batter keeps running until the ball is retrieved and thrown back in, or until he crosses home plate for a score. It’s the outfielder’s fault for not playing deep enough. But in soccer? Oh, no – not so fast, Pele’! You find yourself all alone near the opposing team’s goal, having slipped past the defenders unnoticed, and a teammate manages to send a long kick down to you. You are “open,” but this is not an automatic score, because you still have to get it past the goalie or goal keeper or whatever he’s called – the only player who CAN use his hands! But, no, what’s that whistle you hear as you are about to “equalize” a one-point deficit in the final minute? Yes, offsides! Ridiculous! As if this game wasn’t absurd enough! I’m just sayin’.

Imaginations of the Heart

November 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

In Jeremiah Chapter 9 the prophet continued his lament, specifically related to the treacherous dealings among the people. They believed they had left God at the Temple and were free to live according to their own Godless standards. They became duplicitous – experts at being two-faced for gain.

Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

Jeremiah 9:1-2

Jeremiah was experiencing the kind of weeping – almost a complete emotional breakdown – that made him want to just get away from it all. You can probably relate, but that was never an option for him.

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

Jeremiah 9:4

How sad for a preacher to have to warn his people not to trust anyone or believe anyone!

And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.

Jeremiah 9:5

It’s not that they were lazy and wouldn’t work hard, but, rather, that all their energy was given over to lying and deceit and evil schemes, as though those were good things to pursue and upon which to expend energy.

Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.

Jeremiah 9:8 (emphasis added)

Do not get the impression that lies are harmless things. Here, they are compared to weapons – deadly arrows – and notice how they reveal that the evil heart is the source of lying. The arrows come from the heart, because a trap has been concocted in the heart. You and I might release a lie or some gossip, and find, like an arrow, it can not be called back once it has been shot.

And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:

Jeremiah 9:13-14

God did not here blame the pagans for introducing idols to His people. He blamed the people themselves, whose hearts, rather than surrendering to the Covenant laws, “imagined” their own plans and followed after the idols that their idol-producing hearts had manufactured.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Jeremiah 9:15

Because of their gullibility, God would make their punishment fit their crime. They were so quick spew forth lies that now they would be just as quick to drink the poison that God would offer them.

There is a break in the narrative of this oracle, where God had Jeremiah give one of his most important teachings, helping us to understand something of the nature of God and men.

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

Jeremiah 9:23

What do we have that has not been given to us? Wisdom? No. Might? No. Wealth? No. Our intelligence, our strength, and all our material possessions and blessings come from God. Therefore, it makes no sense to “glory” – to boast or be proud – in any of these things. Pride is perhaps the most dangerous sin because it makes us think more highly of ourselves than of God and of others. There is something in us that wants to glory – to make a big deal out of something – and here God tells us where that desire MUST find its outlet if we are to please Him

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:24

We must try to understand God with our mind and know Him with our heart. Intimate fellowship and relationship with God can only come through Christ. We will be neither truly loving, nor truly kind, compared to God – or apart from God. We will not make the right decisions about our own lives, nor will we be able to help anyone else the way that God could help them. This is why the kindest and most effective thing we can do for people is to try to get them to God. On our own we will not live rightly because our so-called “righteousness” apart from Him is really filthy rags. Our only hope is to put on God’s righteousness, having been declared righteous by Him in Christ.


Entries and comments feeds.