Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

A Yorkshireman's take on life, death, and eternity

Month: October, 2018

Roar

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“You, therefore, shall prophesy against them all these words, and say to them: “‘The Lord will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
Jeremiah 25:30 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jer.25.30.ESV

“These words” refer to the previous verses, which talk of the cup of the Lord’s wrath, which all the nations of earth were forced to drink, even Babylon, the instrument of God’s wrath. It’s reminiscent of Jesus praying in Gethsemane garden, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken away from me, yet not my will, but yours be done”.

For those who trust in Jesus, He bears God’s wrath upon them for their sinfulness. But for those who don’t, the Lord roars from on high. He’s the lion of the tribe of Judah. If His people are against Him, He will roar against them.

From His holy habitation the Lord utters His voice. When God speaks, things happen. When God says “let there be light”, there is light. When He commands judgement upon us, we are judged.

God is against His people when they rebel against Him. He’s like a lion in a sheepfold when He comes in judgement. But it’s not just personal against His people, He judges the inhabitants of the whole earth, like someone treading out grapes to make wine.

“God Almighty, we don’t want to fall into Your hands of judgement. We trust that Christ has taken the cup of Your wrath upon us, for us. Help us now to live lives that are pleasing to You, by Your Holy Spirit, amen”

Heart

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They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord , ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.'”
Jeremiah 23:17 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jer.23.17.ESV

There were lying, false prophets in Jeremiah’s day, just as there are false teachers, who sometimes call themselves “prophets” today. Ultimately, they despise the word of the Lord. They think it’s not enough, and that we need extra revelation. But the last chapter of Revelation makes clear that anyone who adds to God’s prophetic book the Bible will be accursed.

Many people are not grounded in the word of God, even among professing believers. As it was in Jeremiah’s day, so it is today. So people gather teachers to themselves who say what their itching ears long to hear: ‘It shall be well with you’. Ironically, the Christianised American Dream, the prosperity gospel is wildly popular in some of the poorest parts of the word.

Following our hearts is the mantra of Disney and Hollywood, but as far as the Bible is concerned, it spells disaster. Our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. If we follow our hearts we land up in trouble. It’s stubborn to follow our hearts when we should be following God’s.

The people of Jeremiah’s day thought they could pay lip service to God while their hearts were elsewhere, running after health, wealth and happiness for example. But God destroyed their idols and destroyed their land, and took them into exile. If we idolise anything other than God, we can expect His discipline at best, and condemnation at worst.

“Almighty God, forgive us we pray for idolising anything other than You. Please help us to stand firm upon Your word. And may we call out the false religion that calls itself true faith in our world today. In Christ’s name, amen”

Justice

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Thus says the Lord : Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
Jeremiah 22:3 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jer.22.3.ESV

This verse is what God wanted of the nation of Judah. He wanted it to be a land defined by justice. They were known as the people of the Lord, and as such they were to be like Him, just and righteous.

Justice and righteousness are not just absences of injustice and unrighteousness. They positively involve delivering victims of crime from their oppressors. There is a negative element too though, they involve doing no wrong or violence to anyone.

“Christianity”, especially in America, is associated with right wing politics. But when wannabe resident aliens can expect to meet the US army at the border, that doesn’t sound like doing no wrong or violence to the stranger. I’m not getting at America specifically, where Trump wants to build a Mexican wall, Theresa May has actually succeeded in Calais, Northern France.

In the UK, asylum seekers are barred from working, and are required to live on a fraction of what British jobseekers get, who themselves struggle to survive without the charity of food banks for example. Far from looking down on immigrants, single parent families and the elderly, we should look out for them practically. Otherwise, like ancient Judah, we can expect God’s judgement.

“Dear Lord our God, we thank You for Your love for the outcasts of society, because if there’s hope for them in You, there’s hope for us. Please give us Your heart for the needy in our midst. In Jesus’ name, amen”

Humility

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Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Romans 12:16 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/rom.12.16.ESV

Some people are always spoiling for a fight. It’s how politics works for example, an adversarial model of those in power and those who want to be. To be harmonious is to be willing to play second fiddle as it were. We shouldn’t always been seeking out the limelight, but to compliment those who lead us.

We’re not to be haughty. Those in power are often tempted to be so. If we’re honest, even if we’re not in power we can be haughty, thinking that we could do a better job. Paul calls us to have a bit of humility about us.

It’s tempting to have highfalutin notions of ourselves. We always like to compare ourselves with others and work out where we are in the pecking order of life, so we know who we can look down upon. But Paul says that shouldn’t be so with us. We shouldn’t be afraid to associate with lowly people, or to do menial work.

Finally, in this very practical verse, we’re told not to be wise in our own eyes. Once again, we like to compare ourselves with what we like to flatter ourselves that we’re not as foolish as others, but much better to think ourselves foolish and be told we’re wise than to think ourselves wise and be told we’re foolish.

“Almighty One, we pray that You would give us the humility that befits children of the Most High that You are. Please help us to be a harmonious spiritual family, in Christ’s name, amen”

Pots

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“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord . Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
Jeremiah 18:6 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jer.18.6.ESV

God sent Jeremiah to the potter’s house for a lesson in His sovereignty. Jeremiah saw some clay spoil in the potter’s hands, so he reworked it into something else. In this verse, God explained the meaning of the parable.

The Lord, through Jeremiah, explained to the house of Israel what His illustration meant. The Lord is like the potter and they were like the clay. Just as the potter moulds the clay as he wishes, so the Lord moulded Israel as He wished.

The scary thing for Israel was that in the example, the potter started afresh with his lump of clay. Similarly, God was going to start afresh with Israel and make something new out of them. Seventy years in exile in Babylon was going to transform Israel into a people who would soon meet their Messiah.

The Jews largely rejected the Christ however, and God made something new out of all who would recieve Him- the church. All who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ become honourable vessels for the glory of God. All who reject Him are destined for destruction by the Lord.

“God Almighty, whether we’re Jews or Gentiles, please help us to recieve the Lord Jesus Christ and not to be rejected by You. For the praise of Your glory, amen”

Trick or treat; satan or Jesus!

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I’ve already written a couple of posts about Halloween which are searchable in my archives.

This post is just a reminder that the devil wants to trick us into going to hell with him. Jesus on the other hand wants to treat us with eternal life with Him.

If you don’t know the Lord, why not put your trust in Him? If you do, why not tell the trick or treaters who come to your door this Halloween about how Jesus has defeated the powers of darkness and can bring them into the light? 🙂

Sword

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And when they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord : “‘Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence, and those who are for the sword, to the sword; those who are for famine, to famine, and those who are for captivity, to captivity.’
Jeremiah 15:2 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jer.15.2.ESV

In the previous verse, God told Jeremiah He’d had enough of His people and was ready to let them go. He wanted to banish them out of His sight. For many people, not having God in their life is no big deal. But when we consider that all good things come from Him, to have that removed is a scary thought.

This verse describes life outside of God’s providential care as being like something out of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It’s apocalyptic in its devastating impact. Those outside of God’s will are destined for pestilence- to perish outside of His loving care.

Those God rejects may face the sword. But what of His people who face persecution? Well nothing can seperate us from God’s love, not even the sword. This verse however is describing how hopeless it is to be seperated from God’s love.

Famine awaits those reject the Lord. This verse is almost a shadowy description of the horrors of hell- of an existence outside of the love of God. But then the mention of captivity offers a glimmer of hope. If someone’s captive, there’s always a possibility that they may be set free- and the Jews were, after seventy years in Babylon.

“Oh Lord our God, please don’t let us face Your rejection, and all that that implies. Please have mercy upon us, and deliver us into Your holy presence. For Jesus’ sake, amen”

Telling our stories

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Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, […] Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.
Psalm 107:2‭, ‬17‭-‬22 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.107.2-22.NIV

Reading this Psalm today reminded me of the importance of telling my story- of how God has redeemed my life from all its troubles so far, and will continue to do so.

The section I’ve quoted is most true of me, of all the sections of the Psalm. I’m not equating all mental illness with foolish sin, but it was I believe in my case (partly). Thankfully though, I’m well mentally now and can sing and testify to God’s goodness in my life.

What’s your story?

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Underwear!

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For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord , that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.
Jeremiah 13:11 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jer.13.11.ESV

A loincloth, or underwear, is one of the least flattering illustrations God could use for His own people. Even worse, He made Jeremiah hide a loincloth in the cleft of a rock and collect it after many days. Understandably it was ruined. God said His people were as good for nothing as that old loincloth!

But a loincloth in its proper use is a worthwhile thing. God said that as a loincloth clings to the waist a man, so His people were meant to cling to Him. A good loincloth, without wishing to go into too much detail, is close fitting to provide the support necessary to the loins!

The people of Israel were meant to be to God like a designer pair of underwear would be to us! He wanted them for His people and for His name, but they weren’t willing. They rather would be ruined in idolatry and the worship of false gods.

God wanted Israel for His praise and glory. But they turned out to be for His shame and dishonour. God forbid that we, His new covenant people, would turn out to be as much of a disappointment. We don’t want God’s verdict of us to be that we’re like a pair of ruined underwear!

“Lord, may it be that we are a people for the praise of Your name, for Your glory. Please forgive us for idolatry and worship of false gods, and help us to live wholeheartedly for You. For Your honour we pray, amen”