Another Name?

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Like a lion that has come up from its lair
the one who destroys nations has set out
from his home base.
He is coming out to lay your land waste.
Your cities will be left in ruins and
lie uninhabited.  Jeremiah 4:7

 

As we continue our journey through Jeremiah, I am inspired to continue writing about the dialogue from our Lord through Jeremiah.  What is captured in these words is both the love, and faithfulness of our Lord and the serious nature of our God when it comes to covenant.

What is concerning to me is the current views of our God.  Its the presentation that our God is so filled with Love, Mercy and Grace, that He would somehow be in capable of carrying out Vengeance and Wrath on those who reject Him or refuse to follow and obey.  While we do understand that each man will be held accountable for his own actions, we have a view of judgement day that is more like “Shark Tank”, “The Voice” or maybe “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.”

tinder1The Word informs us that He will divide sheep from goat, almost like the lawless swipe their way through Tinder.  Yep, either covered or uncovered!  Our God swept through Egypt looking at the doorpost, laying to rest the first born of those who were not covered, swallowed up almost all of humanity in a flood, rained down fire on an unrighteous town, allowed famines to come, and allowed His people to be held in captivity (among many other events).  This God, my friends, has been labeled so loving and so forgiving, that He will not honor His Word.

Let me take the time today to point out a name that is not given to our Lord by His people, but a description of our Lord from His own lips to Jeremiahs ears and heart.  God says He is “the one who destroys nations.”  HelloDestorysWe forget that our God’s Word hold back the four corners of the earth, and that one Word from Him can flood the earth, can open up the ground and swallow up rebellious followers.  How quickly we forget that 40 years passed before entering the promised land, laying to rest generations of His chosen ones because the grumbled and complained, and that His chosen vessel died before entering the land promised to him because of disobedience.  This same God gave the man after His own heart the plans for the temple, allowed him to collect all the resources and then wouldn’t let him build!  This God people is the same God, now and forever more.  And despite our teaching and characterization of God, all the interpretive face lifts and implants will not change who He is, just who we believe Him to be.

God has suffered many advertising campaigns that have painted an vague picture of a God; who, has a high concern for righteousness, obedience and covenant.  God reminds His people through His servant, I am “the one who destroys nations.”  Many times the children prayed to God, were outnumbered, not as well equipped, not strategically placed, and the children advanced into foreign territory and dominated because God has either gone before them, or the opposing nations had headed about God to such the capacity that their heart were gone before the children lifted their swords.

throneThis same God allowed His children to lay waste to enemy territory, putting to death women, children and even the animals.  He reminds them that He is capable of not only parting seas, and providing clouds and fire to guide them, but is able to curse the very ground the labored on and remove the hedges that formerly protected them.

They have been fooled into believing that the worst is over.  They think that being in exile was the harshest punishment or that being under the ruler ship of a foreign leader who lacked morals and worshiped a foreign God was the worst that could happen to them, but Jeremiah brings to them a word of warning.

Listen to the Words of our Lord, who is describing Himself.  He says, “Like a lion that has come up from its lair…”  It’s as though He has been in His lair, ignoring the sounds from the entrance of His cave.  propheticroarThe people outside play, taunt and keep up drama and noise in His presence, ignoring the sheer danger of the lion, and playfully beacon from Him to emerge from His throne.  I can see people throwing rocks down the entrance, waving fresh flesh at the caves entrance, yelling into the caves empty threats, growing bolder and louder by the moment before He appears.

Then, like a thief in the night, God (much like He left from eternity) stands up from His throne and makes His entrance.  While God came in the form of man to free and not to judge, here we find God telling the people that He is going to “set out from his home base” and “lay your lands waste…in ruins and lie uninhabited.”  Just when they thought they had experienced the worst, God determines that their actions have called for judgement.  What they had experienced before is punishment, and now they would experience His judgement.

There is a difference between punishment and judgement. 

This bothered me.  I hear person after person talking about our earthly inhabitants being hell on earth.  This is particularly hard to hear us spoiled Americans recite.   Its as though we believe this earthly dwelling is the hardest life could ever be.  We say this knowing that a different level of struggle exist in other countries, and recall this knowing what has been revealed to God’s Prophets.  How foolish we are!  

God presents to Him a plans to take action on  and from the thing that was a blessing to them, but became a stumbling block to them.  JehovahNissiThe place where He purposed to meet them was eventually shared by false Gods, and became a place of manipulation and disobedience.  The law He created for mankind to abide by, because a tool to chastise and prosper those in power with positions.  And it is this bold, public rejection of God that causes God to put into works a public judgement.

In conclusions, He is El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Jehova Rapha & Jehovah Nissi, but He is also “The one who Destroys Nations!”

 

#PastorJDO3

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Playing Chicken with the Divine

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…If you do not, my anger will leap out
like a flaming fire against you
that no one will be able to put out.
That will happen because of the evil
you have done. Jeremiah 4:4

God speaks powerfully through His Prophet, Jeremiah, to His people who are once again under the rule of another.  In His effort to restore the relationship between He and His people, He must go over the offenses, and remind them of the boundaries and ramifications that come along with breaking the covenant agreement.images

I found verse 4 an issue because God is speaking, and my fear is that the people both now and then were not listening.  As we soak in God’s love, perfume ourselves with His grace, and cloth ourselves with His mercy, we are blind to His wrath, and destined to experience more of it.  God warns the people, it can be the best of times, or the worst of times.  They can align with His Word, or stand in disobedience to it.

We memorize all the scriptures with blessings and promises, and ignore the warning and instruction.  God says, “Dedicate yourselves fully to the Lord…”  God desires for us to be fully dedicated, not partially dedicated.   The people ended up in their current circumstances because they had spiritual affairs on God.  They worshiped false idols and desecrated His temple by giving the living God a non-living roommate.    They sacrificed on His altar, offering that which was intended for the Lord to a false god.  They could not advance or prosper because they were not fully committed to the Lord.

lockeddoorOf course I gasped.   As I look at our current state, I see us suffering and blaming the adversary, binding the work of the devil while the Lord holds back the angels and the hedge placed around us, exposing us and leaving us vulnerable to the enemy.    God was using them to chastise His people in an effort to direct them back into a right relationship with Him, and they adjusted to their new normal, remained in error, and abandoned their pursuit for righteousness.  We don’t have to remain in our current state!  We can restore to us what has been taken by dedicating ourselves fully to the Lord.

God says this, “…get rid of everything that hinders you from being committed to me.”  So I ask you:

What is hindering you?

What bothered me about this statement is that often the things we see as aids are hindrances.  There are things we consider blessings that are weights in the pool of faith.  As we swim from shore to shore, the cares of this world weight us down in such a manner that we find ourselves struggling to get closer to Him.

Which bring us to the end of the verse, “If you do not…”  God warns them there will be a price for not removing the hindrances and fully dedicating themselves to the Lord, that price will be God’s anger.

God warns, “…my anger will leap out like a flaming fire against you…”  God gives us the visual of his anger being like a flaming fire.  It’s the language of leap out that grabs the immediate attention.  bonfire

Much like 3 Hebrew boys, God’s anger can rage so hot that it leaps out and consumes all in it path.  God says a refusal to honor our covenant will place the people whom God has placed His name on in the position of enemy.  Worse, the fire of God is not an out of control and random fire, its a hot and focused fire which has a focal point.  Lord forbid we be the point of His Anger.

It seems today we like to play chicken with the Lord!  The game chicken we played as children seems to be the lifestyle of many believers. 

In this game, two people take a challenge that has the potential to harm both participants, and measures how far each will go before either harming each other or yields.  The aim is to get the other to flinch first. thus showing fearlessness and moxie.

We hear the word, read the word, know the word, but refuse to acknowledge a portion of its promises.  Just as much as the Bible gives promises of blessings, it gives promises of action towards those who refuse to be obedient.  God sends Prophets to us to correct us, but we stop up our ears, and dare the Divine to visit us.  Its as though we believe we can wave His Word in His Face, and use His promise of blessing to nullify the warning through the same Word!

Stop Playing Chicken with God!

faceoffIn the past, the Israelites benefited from the help from others, but God warns them.  No matter the marriages and or the connections they have made with those who are not in relationship with the Lord, “…that no one will be able to put out.”  Everyone can grab a bucket and a hose, and focus all their resources on putting out the inferno God has sent your way.  We can collectively sacrifice all our resources and find ourselves bearing witness as you are reduced to ash and dust.   Why play chicken with the Lord.

I know what you are thinking; how cruel!  Nah, God concludes “That will happen because of the evil you have done.”  Having a merciful God does not mean He is not just and that we do not pay for our actions.  God says it is  imperative that we assess our relationship with Him and look to restore and repair it before He is forced to take action.  He will do this to protect His name, and to display His conviction about righteousness for His creation.

#PastorJDO3

“Catfished” Believers

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Has a nation ever changed its gods,
even thought they are not really gods at all?
But my people have exchanged me, their
glorious God, for a god that
cannot help them at all. Jeremiah 2:11

The Prophet Jeremiah has been instructed to address God’s people where they are about the sins they have committed.  God gives him a list of concerns and issues that have emerged while they have been in covenant with God.  Mind you, these issues were not addressed or even prevalent before they entered into covenant.  The people of God accepted the covenant formed by God and held by God, and gently broke His laws, and turned their backs on Him once they encountered new cultures with different gods.worship

Isn’t this 2018?

While reading this, it was as if God was writing to Western Christianity.  Here we are, in relationship with the one true and living God, and we find many blood bought believers compromising their faith, and turning their backs on their God just like our ancestors.  As of late, it seems the body of Christ has again approached the Word of God with a license to edit.  Our forefathers used white out to look over God’s truth, their sons used faulty interpretations, the next generation used a plethora of translations, and today the desire is to edit the Word, at best update it to match American trends and values.   As the country adopts new habits and cultural norms, it desires to model the Bible after its adaptations, as opposed to governing its character and laws by Gods Word.

BookEditingThis mirrors our personal perspective on faith.  Many of us edit God’s Word, and omit God’s truths, justifying our lifestyle and choices by overlooking what He has commanded.  This is harmful and foolish!  The devil has deceived us into becoming out own gods, offering us the same fruit he submitted to Adam, and have bitten once again.

Our faith has become synonymous with the nation in which it exist, confusing followers, and serving as a distraction and detraction to non-believers.  And Jeremiah first, and now I present to you God’s Word!  It must stop!!!!

Lord forbid that our greatest example would come from those who don’t believe, but God instructs us to look to the East and the West to learn a valuable lesson.  He said look at the surrounding nations.  Look at the surrounding faiths.  Look at the neighboring cultures.  Non of them are willing to change their gods.  Non of them are interested in altering their gods word.  Non of them are willing to bow to any other god.  Yet, the people of God find themselves willing to compromise for politicians, power and perverted living.

Why are you willing to compromise?

And how is it that you believe God should change?

What is it you believe about God’s Word?

Is it God breathed?

confused personGod says the dedication of these unbelievers is admirable.  Their loyalty worthy of mention.  Their faithfulness worthy of imitation.  God says to look at them.  They worship statues and animals, pictures and drawing, items and possessions, and they are faithful to these items though they are powerless.  And we; are called by the name of the one true and living God, who has displayed His power, revealed truth, delivered his people, gave them land and riches, defeated false Gods, empowered His prophet to defeat the magicians of Israel and they still abandoned their God.  Sadly, so have we.

He has protected, provided, and proven himself to generation after generation, and we are sadly confused about our covenant relationship.   It seems that the notion or understanding that He is our God has given people the false understanding that we control Him.  For some reason, the understanding that God honors His Word has mislead people into thinking that God is property or a tool by which they can advance themselves on earth.  People have studied God’s Word not to get closer to Him, but to learn how to manipulate Him into doing their bidding. my-jeans-dont-fit

Jeremiah stood flat footed and spoke boldly to the people about how they had “exchanged” God.  It is as though they have returned God like a pair of jeans that didn’t fit.  They took God for granted.  After being delivered and elevated from their position as slaves, they neglected the God that had formed covenant with them and became concerned with the cares of the world.  God was left watching His bride spread her love amidst false God to whom had no love for him.

catfishedHow tough it must be for God to watch us be “catfished” by a statue posing as a God.  God watches us carry on two and 10 years love affairs with a false god, using up our resources and time, humiliating us before the world as we are dragged along by our nostrils.  How painful it must be for God to be so close to His people, only to have them falling in love with images on a screen.  How painful it must be for Him to continue providing and being faithful, while we explore our options and share our most intimate moments and thoughts with someone who can not, see, hear or speak, and for that matter, act!  How frustrating it must be for God to bring us through and have us attribute His handy work to and after marked god.

Lord help us.  We have been fooled again!  Let us return to our God, confessing our sin, and communing again with our God lest we continue in this exile like state.  May God convict our hearts, and may our first love be our remaining true love.

 

#PastorJDO3