There is this idea going around, that I’m sure you’re all aware of. A few actually, pertaining to righteousness and law. On one hand, you have the Legalists, who would claim that they are closer to the Lord by keeping Law. Likewise, there are those who say, “We are covered by the blood, beneficial or not, all is permissible, leave me alone!” Beloved, this isn’t a new form of theology, in fact, those who felt exempt from what is good because of grace, were the very driving factor behind John Calvin and his theology. While I do believe Calvin’s teachings were the polar opposite, maybe even intentionally so, we can read in scriptures that for ages there have been people that believe Gods grace grants them extra rights.
‘But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord ’s Temple is here! The Lord ’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;’ [Jeremiah 7:4-5]
Many times, do we see the Lord speak to Israel in a “Cause & Effect,” sort of manner? Repeatedly, the Lord tells them that if they do certain things, he will give the nation a long and rich life, but if they choose to disobey, then there will be grave consequences. An example of this is found in Jeremiah 17:25-26, where the Lord says, 25 ‘then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever.’ 26 ‘And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord ’s Temple.”
But as I mentioned, the Lord would not only tell them of what good he will do for them if they obey him, but He would also warn them of the consequences of disobedience, like he does here in the very next verse. 27“But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.” [Jeremiah 17:27]
Beloved, it isn’t even about the law, it’s about Loving one another, but rather the arguments that spring up, feed an all consuming fire that turns outsiders away from the Church. We know we don’t want Islam in our government, because all you have to do is look at the Middle-East, and you’ll see clear as day that they don’t even get along with each other? This is what the Non-believers see, people who wield the sword of the spirit against each other. Satan has taken the eighties weapon against him, and gotten us to turn it on each other. Many people in the church would defend worldliness, they are just like the Jews who fell in love with Babylonian culture, and like them, we will be handed over to our enemies if we continue down this path.
“Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie!” [Jeremiah 7:8]
Yes, I tell you that unless this church can recalibrate, and bring our attention back to Justice and Compassion, that we too will go into exile to Babylonia. We are not exempt because we are Americans, Judah was once the leading Nation just as the United States is today, and because God has blessed this nation so richly, a generation has risen up who is demanding, entitled, and they despise what isn’t beneficial to them in the moment. What waits for a country that bends away from Justice? Whose leaders anger the Lord behind closed doors, but appear as doves before a crowd?
‘Jerusalem, once so full of people, is now deserted. She who was once great among the nations now sits alone like a widow. Once the queen of all the earth, she is now a slave. She sobs through the night; tears stream down her cheeks. Among all her lovers, there is no one left to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her and become her enemies.’ [Lamentations 1:1-2]. One of the hardest things is to see us make the same mistake the Jews made, they began to believe they were exempt, repeatedly, God spoke with them about their idolatry and their compromise with pagan cultures, which we see in Jeremiah 7:13 when the scripture says, “While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer.”
“Her oppressors have become her masters, and her enemies prosper, for the Lord has punished Jerusalem for her many sins. Her children have been captured and taken away to distant lands. All the majesty of beautiful Jerusalem has been stripped away. Her princes are like starving deer searching for pasture. They are too weak to run from the pursuing enemy.” [Lamentations 1:5-6] America has a “Back to Back World War Champions!” Attitude. Boastful and forgetful that it was God who blessed this nation, but shortly after the luxury of power set in, we turned to the idol worship of those on television, sports, beer, music and entertainment has filled our minds. The changes in culture and keeping up with them fill the forefront of our consciousness. You need the best clothes, you need the newest cars, Men search for jezebel instead of a wife, the women decorate themselves and maneuver their way into the beds of those they can extract riches from.
‘She defiled herself with immorality and gave no thought to her future. Now she lies in the gutter with no one to lift her out. “Lord, see my misery,” she cries. “The enemy has triumphed.”’ [Lamentations 1:9]
And lest our hearts turn back towards Justice, Compassion, and truth, our enemies too shall triumph. Lest our leaders and medias cease to thrive off deception, we will fall. For we cannot blame the media for feeding you the lies you hold dear, you choose for them to thrive by turning from what is good and preferring the lies that tickle their ears. Though our televisions you have glorified blood and violence, along with sexual immorality. Again! You cannot blame the immorality on them, for it was you who chose to consume it. We still have a chance to stand up as a country and say, “Enough of this Godlessness! Enough of the pagan integration!” Pagans have always thrived off immorality of all kinds, yet you have chosen to be influenced by them.
Let us not be surprised if the Lords anger purges us. Believing in exemption through favoritism is a stubbornness the Jews demonstrated repeatedly. They too, began to lack justice and compassion for one another. Because they did so, they were sent into captivity multiple times. The Lord chastens his people, because he Loves them, and does not want us practicing distaste for one another and for his Laws, set in stone to protect us from our own wicked desires.
Now, due to my critique, I get a lot of people who think I’m “Anti-Church,” and although I’ve never denied Yeshua came in the flesh, for pointing out such flaws I have been labeled “AntiChrist,” as well. Of course, these things don’t bother me, what bothers me is that people don’t know the biblical definition of “Antichrist,” found in 1 John 4:2-3. Paul was accused of being a cult leader, the charge Jesus was crucified for was blasphemy, even Jeremiah himself said, ‘People scoff at me and say, “What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about? Why don’t your predictions come true?”’ in Jeremiah 17:15, and that was about the Jews! How much more applicable is it to the protestant church? That amongst us are those who do not take the word of God seriously, redefining terms such as “Antichrist,” just to hurl at anyone who they disagree with.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” [Jeremiah 17:9-10]
Beloved, there is hope of opportunity, until the tipping point, the Lord does not seal a nations fate. Nineveh was told to repent, Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity was taken from him, the Israelites were sent into Babylonian exile. Beloved, terrible things happen when the Lord has to shake us awake, and force our attention to him. The degree which he uses is Just in bringing justice to a Nations sins. We do not have to continue on in a manner where the Sword of the Spirit is only used against each other. We have a weapon against darkness, and many believers would rather turn that sword on each other, to protect their love of the world. They are enemies of God, and if we continue to allow them to contaminate our behavior and doctrines, then the Lord will do as he sees fit to redirect our attention back to him. Do not become insensitive and hostile like them, they claim to serve a God of Mercy, but they are people of inappropriate hostility and callousness. They dress as lambs but prowl like lions seeking whom they may devour. These are not Christ followers, they are legalistic zealots, and if we are to become like them, then hear these words: It will be suffering that causes us to turn back to compassion. Hear those words.
“Does it mean nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see if there is any suffering like mine, which the Lord brought on me when he erupted in fierce anger.” [Lamentations 1:12]