INTERESTING FACTS : James Otis, LEADER OF THE SONS OF LIBERTY; ATTORNEY & JURIST; MENTOR OF JOHN HANCOCK AND SAMUEL ADAMS
"Has [government] any solid foundation? Any chief cornerstone?... I think it has an everlasting foundation in the unchangeable will of God? The sum of my argument is that civil government is of God."
Daily Reading : JEREMIAH 35 - 37
TEXT : Jer 36:22 Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. Jer 36:23 And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Jer 36:24 Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Jer 36:25 Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them. Jer 37:18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? Jer 37:19 Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?
THEME : THE WORD OF GOD
As we come into this portion of the Book of Jeremiah, Jerusalem is going into captivity to the Babylonians. [The ancient Babylonians or Chaldeans is modern Iraq.] Year after year, Jeremiah has faithfully been preaching the Word of God to the Jews, and year after year, they have rejected God's Word for the messages of the false prophets who spoke of peace and prosperity. Odd as it may seem, both Jeremiah and the false prophets were saying - "thus saith the LORD."
However, there was a disparity between the two messages. Jeremiah speaking by the mouth of the LORD told the people to repent, and to return to the LORD. The false prophets on the other hand told the Jews they could continue living as they did - that is, willfully breaking God's commands, covenant, and Law, and God would continue to bless them with health, wealth, and divine protection. They promised more blessings in the future as well. The false prophets also told the Jews God would defend Jerusalem and the land of Judah, and that the Jewish kings would defeat the king of Babylon - Nebuchadnezzar.
The Jews would listen for hours to the messages of the false prophets, leaning on pillows to rest their weary arms as they sat spellbound by the "good news" and positive message of the false teachers. Yet, as the armies of the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem, and Jeremiah is accused of treason - of betraying is country by joining sides with the Babylonians [which, he did not], Jeremiah asks - where are your prophets now? Remember, every tongue needs an ear to receive its words. Without an ear, there is no place for the tongue to connect. The Jews wanted to hear the message of the false prophets. Thus, the message they heard, and willingly listened to and believed was a choice. It was their own choice - as individuals and as a nation.
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "YOU MUST CHOOSE WHAT YOU BELIEVE"
All life is guided by the will. You choose what you will think, say, and do. Life is not dictated by impulses, sensations, and capricious events. Life is guided by your will, and the function of the will is simple - it says yes or no. Further, everyone is responsible for his or her choice. God has granted to each, the privilege and responsibility to make choices in life, for which rewards or punishment is the result of personal choice. There is no one to blame for your choice if it is poor or unrighteous. Likewise, you receive the credit [understanding all Glory belongs to God] for obedience. Hence, the Great Judgment at the end of the age, when God opens the Book of Life and your individual biography, will be one of judgment for each man and woman according to their [own] deeds. Every person will give account for his or her own life. All of life is a choice.
v Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
When Jeremiah's words were delivered to the king, the king burned them in the fire. Since the false prophets had repeatedly told the kings of Judah they would prosper, God would bless them, and no hurt would come to the city or the people of Judah, Jehoiakim discards, and then burns the Word of the LORD. He chose to believe what he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to hear. He, like the people of Judah, made a choice. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Jews did not have to occur. God sent His prophets daily for years preaching to the Jews to change their ways and return to His Law and covenant. Yet, they would not hear. It was a choice - a tragic choice.
Still, in the king's own court were men - Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah who pleaded with the king not to burn the Word of the LORD. Jehudi at the behest of the king cut three of four leaves from the Book of Jeremiah, throwing them in the fireplace. These men tried to stop the king, but could not. His heart, like the heart of the Jews, was set on believing what he preferred to believe instead of obeying the truth. Had he chose to believe the truth, the end would have been different.
Today, some men take the penknife of Jehudi at the behest of their elders, board members, denomination, fellowship, or simply their own will and amend the Word of God. Shouting - "thus saith the LORD," as a true preacher does, they hand out a patently false gospel. Further, many professing Christians love it so. Condemning true preachers and accusing them of treason against the Body of Christ, corrupt teachers chose to distribute a false hope to a multitude of people who chose to listen to them.
Be like Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah and intercede to the LORD for the true Gospel to be spared amendment and adulteration. Pray for the words of Jesus and the Apostles to be brought forth in the pulpits of the Church that we may be spared the judgment of God on our nation. Without Christ, we can do nothing. Your life is a choice. Choose the pure milk of the Word of God.
v 1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 1Pe 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 1Pe 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.