Oct. 10, 2016

They could not deliver by their own righteousness

Jeremiah 15:1-14 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Then the Lord said to me, “Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go! And it shall be that when they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you are to tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord:

“Those destined for death, to death;
And those destined for the sword, to the sword;
And those destined for famine, to famine;
And those destined for captivity, to captivity.”’

I will appoint over them four kinds of doom,” declares the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, and the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. I will make them an object of horror among all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.

“Indeed, who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem,
Or who will mourn for you, Or who will turn aside to ask about your welfare?
“You who have forsaken Me,” declares the Lord, “You keep going backward.
So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting!
“I will winnow them with a winnowing fork At the gates of the land;
I will bereave them of children, I will destroy My people; They did not repent of their ways.
“Their widows will be more numerous before Me Than the sand of the seas;
I will bring against them, against the mother of a young man, A destroyer at noonday;
I will suddenly bring down on her Anguish and dismay.
“She who bore seven sons pines away; Her breathing is labored. Her sun has set while it was yet day; She has been shamed and humiliated. So I will give over their survivors to the sword
Before their enemies,” declares the Lord.

10 Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me As a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! I have not lent, nor have men lent money to me, Yet everyone curses me.
11 The Lord said, “Surely I will set you free for purposes of good; Surely I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you In a time of disaster and a time of distress.

12 “Can anyone smash iron, Iron from the north, or bronze?
13 “Your wealth and your treasures I will give for booty without cost,
Even for all your sins And within all your borders.
14 “Then I will cause your enemies to bring it Into a land you do not know;
For a fire has been kindled in My anger, It will burn upon you.”


In today’s text God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah says: “Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people.”   At another time, in the same way God also spoke through Ezekiel. Ezekiel 14:12-20 says:   “Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast, Even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God... if I should bring a sword on that country and say, ‘Let the sword pass through the country and cut off man and beast from it,’  even though these three men were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters, but they alone would be delivered. Or if I should send a plague against that country and pour out My wrath in blood on it to cut off man and beast from it,  even though Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”        We, in this nation should realize that God has made no eternal promise to America. If He would bring judgment against Israel, His chosen nation, why should we think that America is beyond judgment? Daniel 2:21 says"It is He (God) who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.”      God is not concerned with human governments and politics in the scheme of eternity. They will rise and fall according to His will. God has established His government as it says in Isaiah 9:6-7:   For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Many today are calling for the nation to repent, to turn from its evil ways and turn back to God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is raised as a verse for our nation.       If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.      Look though at what that verse says, “if My people…”   It is the people of God, who need to pray, seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways. Even then God’s promise is not to the government it is to heal the land. When the nation of Israel was in captivity in Egypt, God blessed the land of the Israelites above and beyond that of the Egyptians. If God’s people will humble themselves and pray, if we, Christians, God’s people will turn from our evil ways, God will bless us regardless of our government. For the people of God, all blessing, all provision, all peace and protection comes from Him, not from our government. The psalmist says:   Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)   May that also be our declaration and the declaration of believers everywhere.

I am not saying we should not pray for our government and seek for our nation as a whole to turn to God. If we really want our nation to turn we should pray for our leaders. It is people, individuals that God cares about. It was for people, for all mankind that Jesus paid the price for sin. Scripture tells us that Christ will one day return and establish His eternal kingdom here on earth. 2 Peter 3:9, speaking of His return says:    The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.    God does not wish that any individuals should perish. If we want to see our nation changed we should pray for our leaders, that they would come to know Christ. A nation itself cannot be a Christian nation. A nation itself has no soul. If the leaders of a nation are followers of Christ, then they will govern according to God’s will.

We should certainly pray for our leaders. In reality, because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, not just of this nation, we should pray for the leaders of all nations under God. We should pray for them and not against them. In 1 Timothy 2:1-3 Paul says:   Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.   The church in America cannot, by its own righteousness save our nation. Only the righteousness of Christ can save anyone. Jesus says: "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." (John 12:32) Jesus was indeed lifted up from the earth, on a cross, to pay the price for the sins of all. We too, if we want to see our nation changed should lift up the name of Jesus and the finished work of the cross. Our nation will be changed one life at a time. If the leaders and rulers do not change, God will still bless, protect and provide for His people. His is an everlasting government.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings, the one who rules forever; precious Holy Spirit. Thank You for Your eternal kingdom. Thank You for Your promises of protection and provision for Your people. Thank You for the cross, where You paid the price for my sin. May I be faithful to lift up Your name, to declare Your righteousness and to pray Your blessing and salvation for all men, for kings and all who are in authority.     Amen