September 14, 2016

Speechless, Helpless, Hopeless...

An  appalling  and  horrible thing has happened  in the  land: the  prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their  direction; my  people  love to have  it so, but  what  will  you  do  when  the  end comes?  ( Jeremiah  5:30–31) 
This  is  a  plea  that  pastors,  evangelists,  teachers,  parents,  and  friends  warn  those  they  love  that,  if  they  do not  repent,  they  will  be  speechless,  helpless,  and  hopeless  when  the  end  comes.

What  was  this  “appalling  and  horrible  thing”  that  Jeremiah  said  had  happened  in  the  land?  “Prophets prophesy  falsely.”  Priests  fall  in  line  with  the  falsehood.  And  the  people  “love  to  have  it  so.”  They  love  it  — love  it. That’s  bad  enough  —  prophesying  falsehood  and  enticing  the  whole  nation  to  love  it.  But  what  was  the “appalling  and  horrible”  falsehood?  Jeremiah  had  already  named  it. 

Be  appalled,  O  heavens,  at  this;  be  shocked,  be  utterly  desolate,  declares  the  Lord,  for  MY  people  have committed  two  evils:  they  have  forsaken  ME,  the  fountain  of  living  waters,  and  hewed  out  cisterns  for themselves,  broken  cisterns  that  can  hold  no  water.  (Jeremiah  2:12–13) 

So  there  is  a  double  sense  of  being  appalled.  First,  that  falsehood  is  preached  and  loved.  Second,  that  dust is  more  desirable  than  the  fountain  of  God.  God  is  not  to  be  out-preferred.  This  is  the  essence  of  the “appalling  and  horrible  thing.”  This  is  what  must  be  forsaken.  Or  judged  “when  the  end  comes.”  Jeremiah  asks,  “What  will  you  do  when  the  end  comes?”  —  you  who  have  loved  falsehood.  Loved  it.  Loved it. Jeremiah  doesn’t  answer.  This  is  a  question  that  carries  its  own  answer.  Everyone  knows  the  answer.  “What will  you  do  when  the  end  comes?”  You  will  be  able  to  do  nothing.  Nothing  to  save  yourself.  From  what? 

Speechless,  Helpless,  Hopeless... Jeremiah  had  just  told  them  what  in  the  previous  verse:  “Shall  I  not  punish  them  for  these  things?  declares the  Lord,  and  shall  I  not  avenge  myself  on  a  nation  such  as  this?”  ( Jeremiah  5:29). 

▶▶▶If  you  will  not  have  God as  your  treasure,  you  will  have  HIM  as  your  enemy. ◀◀◀

And  “what  will  you  do”  when  you  stand  before  GOD  as  your  omnipotent,  infinitely  just,  and  all-knowing enemy?  What  will  you  do  when  you  face  the  ONE  you  have  belittled  all  your  life  by  finding  HIM  boring,  and unworthy  of  your  greatest  affections? You  will  be  speechless,  helpless,  and  hopeless....

 “What  will  you  do  when  the  end  comes?”  What  will  your  mouth  do?  Will  you  begin  with  protests  that  you are  not  being  treated  fairly?  You  know  what  HE  will  say,  if  you  try  that. HE  will  say,  “I  am  the  LORD  who  practices  steadfast  love,  justice,  and  righteousness  in  the  earth.  For  in these  things  I  delight”  ( Jeremiah  9:24).  

Do  you  think  you  will  be  able  to  make  a  case  that  your marginalizing  of  GOD  in  this  life  was  a  small  thing? Or  will  you  make  your  claim  that  you  were  weak  and  helpless?  Really?  Too  weak  to  trust  in  the  strength of another?  Too  weak  to  trust  in  the  wealth  and  beauty  of  GOD? You  know  you  were  not  too  weak  to  trust.  You  know  it,  because  “you  trusted  in  your  works  and  your treasures”  ( Jeremiah  48:7).  You  “trusted  in  deceptive  words” (Jeremiah  7:8).  “You  trusted  in  lies” ( Jeremiah  13:25).  You  trusted  in  the  arm  of  the  flesh,  though  I  warned  you  repeatedly,  “Cursed  is  the  man who  trusts  in  man  and  makes  flesh  his  strength,  whose  heart  turns  away  from  the  LORD”  (Jeremiah  17:5).

And  I  didn’t  just  warn  you.  I  promised  you.  I  wooed  you,  and  allured  you.  I  promised,  “Blessed  is  the  man who  trusts  in  the  LORD,  whose  trust  is  the  LORD”  ( Jeremiah  17:7).  I  told  you  that  “because  you  have  put  your trust  in  ME  .  .  .  you  shall  have  your  life”  ( Jeremiah  39:18).  You  “shall  be  radiant  over  the  goodness  of  the LORD  .  .  .  and  satisfied  with  MY  goodness”  (Jeremiah  31:12, Too  Late  for  Mercy 14). 
Or  will  you,  then,  plead  for  mercy  “when  the  end  comes”?  Perhaps  you  may.  But  it  will  be  too  late.  

"Oh  how often  I  offered  you  mercy!  How  often  did  I  call  to  you,  “Return,  faithless  Israel,  declares  the  Lord.  I  will  not look  on  you  in  anger,  for  I  am  merciful,  declares  the  Lord”  (Jeremiah  3:12).  But  I  warned  you  that  there would  be  a  too  late.  Now  there  is  none  to  intercede,  as  there  once  was.  I  will  not  hear  ( Jeremiah  7:16). Nor  should  you  think  that  “when  the  end  comes”  you  will  be  able  to  repent  and  cry  for  mercy.  You  will  cry. And  you  will  want  mercy.  But  not  the  mercy  of  repentance.  But  only  the  mercy  of  relief.  You  will  not  delight in  ME  at  that  moment  of  judgment.  You  will  delight  in  freedom  from  suffering.  For  that  you  will  cry.  But  I will  not  suddenly  become  your  sweetest  Treasure.  Beneath  your  crying  is  a  heart  that  grieves  the  loss  of pleasure,  not  the  loss  of  GOD. “When  the  end  comes,”  you  will  be  speechless  and  helpless.  No  words,  and  no  deeds  of  penance,  and  no acts  of  virtue  will  reverse  your  love  of  sin.  

“The  prophets  prophesied  falsely,  and  you  loved  to  have  it  so.” You  loved  it.  And  you  love  it  still.  Judgment,  you  hate  —  it  is  bitter  to  your  taste.  But  not  because  GOD  is sweet. You  forsook  the  fountain  of  living  water.  You  preferred  dust  to  delight  in  GOD.  Therefore,  “the  LORD  has rejected  and  forsaken  the  generation  of  HIS  wrath”  (Jeremiah  7:29).  This  will  be  your  portion  forever. 

Ocean  of  Mercy 
I  am  pleading  that  pastors,  evangelists,  teachers,  parents,  and  friends  to  warn  those  they  love  that,  if  they do  not  ▶▶repent◀◀,  they  will  be  speechless,  helpless,  and  hopeless  when  the  end  comes.  

 “Repent,  and  do  the  works  you  did  at  first.  If  not,  I  will  come  to  you  and  remove  your  lampstand  from its place,  unless  you  repent”  ( Revelation  2:5). (Revelation  2:16). “Repent.  If  not,  I  will  come  to  you  soon  and  war  against  them  with  the  sword  of  MY  mouth” (“Behold,  I  will  throw  her  onto  a  sickbed,  and  those  who  commit  adultery  with  her  I  will  throw  into great  tribulation,  unless  they  repent  of  her  works”  ( Revelation  2:22). 

“Remember,  then,  what  you  received  and  heard.  Keep  it,  and  repent.  If  you  will  not  wake  up,  I  will come  like  a  thief,  and  you  will  not  know  at  what  hour  I  will  come  against  you”  (Revelation  3:3). 

This  risen JESUS  CHRIST  is  the  ONE  “who  loves  us  and  has  freed  us  from  our  sins  by  HIS  BLOOD  and  made  us  a kingdom,  priests  to  HIS  GOD  and  FATHER”  ( Revelation  1:5).  If  Jeremiah  offered  a  fountain  of  mercy  in  this life,  JESUS  offers  an  ocean.  All  the  more  urgent,  then,  are  the  warnings  —  “how  shall  we  escape  if  we neglect  such  a  great  salvation?”  ( Hebrews  2:3). 

“Come,  everyone  who  thirsts, come  to  the waters; and  he  who  has  no  money, come,  buy  and  eat! Isaiah  55:1) Come,  buy  wine  and  milk without  money  and  without  price.”  ( But  Christian  do  not  presume  to  be  wiser,  or  more  loving,  or  more  gracious  than  the  Bible.  And the  Bible  is  replete  with  warnings  about  the  failure  to  rejoice  in  God  as  our  greatest  TREASURE. “Because  you  did  not  ▶serve◀ the  LORD  your  GOD  with  joyfulness  and  gladness  of  heart  .  .  .  therefore  you shall  serve  your  enemies.”  (Deuteronomy  28:47–48) Therefore,  say  to  those  you  love  —  your  children,  your  friends,  your  flock  —  “Delight  yourself  in  the LORD!”  ( Psalm  37:4).  “At  HIS  right  hand  is  fullness  of  joy  and  pleasures  forevermore!”  (Psalm  16:11).  And say  to  them,  “If  you  love  the  world  more  than  GOD,  what  will  you  do  when  the  end  comes?”

Jeremiah 5

V 1–2: NO RIGHTEOUSNESS Despite their spiritual talk, not one righteous person seeking truth can be found in Jerusalem. If God had been able to find one such person, He would have pardoned Jerusalem. This is a very low point. V 3–5: NO REPENTANCEDespite God’s chastisement and correction of the people, the leaders refuse to repent. They have become hardened in their sins, even though they have known God’s way. V 6–11: NO RESCUE Therefore, there is no rescue for Israel, either from the ravages of wild animals or from the effects of their own idolatry and immorality. Neither is there rescue from God’s avenging punishment. He will not completely destroy them, but there is no rescue because there is no repentance.V 12–13: NO REVERENCE They lie about God, His presence and His activity. They deny that judgement will ever come. They see God’s prophets, like Jeremiah, as empty wind with no substance in what they say or prophesy. V 14–17: NO RESPITE The frightening invasion from the mighty nation (Babylon) will give them no respite from famine, slaughter, desolation, and fear. V 18–31: NO RECOGNITION God warns them that they will be carried away captives, rather than be completely destroyed. Yet, they have no understanding, eyes to see, or ears to hear. They do not fear God. They have rebelled. They recognise neither their sins, even now, nor the need to turn. Their wickedness is contagious, and they seek to snare others in it. Although God will avenge and judge them, they still prefer to follow false prophets and live their profligate lifestyle. The last words of the chapter are very sad, ‘And my people love to have it so, but what will you do in the end?’

 " ...O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD"
~Jeremiah 22:29