it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any
sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD
hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”
have referred to Jeremiah as the “weeping” prophet because of his
plaintive pleading with the people of God to forsake their ungodliness
and return to Jehovah. God sent him to his people to deliver unto them
God's warnings, God's impending judgments, and God's appeal to them to
return to the ways of righteousness. In the passage above, the words
are used as if the people as a whole were speaking from their
desolation. These words do not indicate any intention to change, but
simply a bewailing of their condition.
God Was Not at Fault
wounds were self-inflicted. Their sorrow was a result of their own
ungodliness. The real problem at this point was that they really did
not see their true condition, and much less did they acknowledge any
misbehavior. They were much like those so often depicted as drunks or
addicts who do not think they have a problem. As these often shrug off
any warnings or pleas from those who care about them, so did Israel
reject the attempts of the Lord, through the prophets, to call them away
from their sin. Insensible to their condition, they regarded the true
prophets as nuisances, mere pests, who just wanted to cause trouble. In
their self-delusion, they perceived the work of the prophets as that of
catering to their whims. Feeding their self-deception, they steeped
themselves in pretense. Moreover, they required of the prophets that
they not speak of God's displeasure, but speak smooth things, prophesy
deceits, so they could drift along on their placid sea without guilt.
If a prophet should refuse to cooperate, he met stiff resistance, and
put his life in jeopardy. Jesus accused the Jews of his day of having
the same attitude that their ancestors had. Their fathers killed the
prophets and stoned those who brought the word of God to them.
Jews were indeed in a lamentable state, but they were bemoaning the
results of their ungodliness, not the ungodliness itself. Had they been
able to see themselves as God saw them, they could have repented,
changed their course, and God would have forgiven them.
Beware of Drifting
one of the same problems today that Israel had. We fail to see that
“small” departures from the way of righteousness are, nevertheless,
departures. Every move in that direction is a move away from God. We
should just recognize that God knows all about us and he knows what is
best for us.
Apostasy rarely occurs on a grand scale, so it is difficult to detect
that it is even taking place. As a case in point, I once read of a
statement from some elders to the flock among them concerning the
appointment of deacons. They were about to appoint some deacons and
they would be male and female. They said that the change in the Sunday
morning worship service would be initiated “gradually.” This is how
Satan works in such situations... gradually. So slowly that it is
almost imperceptible. That is why we are warned to give constant
attention to the truth that we have learned, for inattention will bring
(Hebrews 2:1) Minute adjustments in our course must be made as
we monitor our relationship with God and his word. Such can make all
the difference in our destiny.
who fancy themselves the “enlightened ones” among us would have us think
that we have just had it all wrong. We just thought that we understood
the teaching of Jesus concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
Now, we are told, depending upon who is doing the talking, just about
anybody who wants to divorce his mate may do so, for whatever reason,
and then marry anybody he wants to, with God's approval. That will
score points with a lot of people, particularly those who are in a
questionable marriage, or who have close ties with someone who is.
There seems to be a pattern among those who have felt the need to
“re-think” these matters. They have a “vested interest” in the outcome
of their investigation. We all like to think that those we love are
doing what is right, and if we are not careful, we may try to stretch
truth to “fit” the circumstances. This does not change the truth, but
feelings are soothed. We must realize that eternity is at stake and no
earthly relationship is worth missing heaven for. (Matthew
would have preachers “soft-pedal” the truth and not be specific. After
all, we are told, no one is perfect. One person, disturbed at the “kid
gloves” approach, pointed out that some are trying to take the fire out
of hell as the sectarians have sought to take the water out of baptism.
There is no excuse for deliberately brow-beating someone, but no apology
is needed for the plain presentation of truth. The Lord and the
apostles spoke plain truth and directly to the situation at hand. How
dare we to presume upon improving upon the manner of their preaching.
The Bible teaching is straightforward. Let us be straightforward in our
dealing with it.
Time to Wake Up!
time to awaken from our slumber and get back to the basics. We should
see the symptoms of departure in doctrine and practice. As we said
before, eternity is at stake...for us, for our children, and for those
whom we seek to help.
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