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Archive for October 24th, 2018

Mercy in the midst of wrath.

Posted by appolus on October 24, 2018

In Jeremiah 27 we see the prophet coming up against the false prophets of the day. The chapter is set against the backdrop of a devastated Jerusalem where the temple has been sacked by the Babylonians and many of the vessels, the means of sacrifice and worship, have been taken away to Babylon. There are a few vessels left, a vestige of what had been, a reminder of the former days of glory.

We see a people who are in the very midst of judgement. God’s hand has moved and will move further still as He breaks down the hard clods of the people’s hearts who for a long time had wandered far from Him. Now in this chapter we see two entirely opposing positions. As hard as it is to believe, most of the people are still blind to their condition, it is true that the heart is deceitfully wicked and blind to its own condition. On the one hand we have Jeremiah telling the people that this invasion and destruction from Babylon is the hand of God moving and it will move further still. On the other hand we have the false prophets telling the people that this was not God but the enemy at work and that God will bring about a revival of His people and restore them to their former glory, by destroying the king of Babylon and returning the vessels of the temple which would restore the sacrifice and the worship.

Brothers and sisters, I want you to put yourself in the place of the people of Jerusalem. Judgement has certainly been unleashed. They see devastation and destruction all around them. Their whole system of worship and sacrifice has been almost completely destroyed by the world. There is little left to hold onto. One man stand up and tells them it is only going to get worse because this is the hand of God judging them, other men stand up and tell them no, things are going to get better, everything is going to be revived and restored and all of their enemies are going to be slain. If they listen to the first man they would have to look at themselves and then acknowledge that God was judging them, they were the perpetrators of their own destruction. If they listen to the false prophets, they would fool themselves into thinking that God was going intervene on their behalf and bring this all to an end and restore and revive them. Would you have ears to hear Jeremiah? Or would you, along with the false prophets, pick up stones to stone him?

Today Christendom is in the midst of judgement. For so many, that same wicked deceitful self-serving heart is still fooling them. They cannot see that God is not happy with the whole system and has come down to judge it. They harken after the “prophets,” who tell them that God is going to restore and revive their whole system. Wishful thinking does not move the hand of God. The hand of God is found in the midst of captivity and judgement. The prophet Habakkuk cries out to the Lord that in your wrath remember mercy. This scripture comes in the midst of great judgment. In these examples we see that God’s mercy is found in the midst of captivity and defeat. His mercy as well as His wrath brought about the defeat and destruction in the first place. Only in this place is the people’s hard and proud hearts brought low enough to cry out to the Living God. God dwells with the broken and the contrite.

One of the most famous Scriptures that well-intentioned people use to cry out to God to bring revival is 11 Chronicles 7:!4. The oft quoted verse says If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Yet, as happens frequently, the proceeding verse, for context, is left out. 2Ch 7:13  If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; You see, God is saying that if, when judgement has come, if His people, having suffered the full consequences of that judgement whether it be drought or famine caused by locusts or death cause by pestilence, should then humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, then He would hear from heaven and heal their lands.

Brother and sisters, we are in the midst of judgment. There are false prophets who will tell you that God will move in revival and restore the fortunes of Christendom. It shall not happen, what little Christendom has left will be removed and it will be given into the hands of a wicked world. God has a purpose in this. He is separating unto Himself His people. A people that even if He slays them, yet shall they trust Him. A people whose trust is in Him and not in institutions. The Body of Christ. The gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. In the midst of His refining fire the Body of Christ is sanctified. The cares of this life are merely burned away in the fire that God sends.

The religious are those who love this life and their ways, they will cry out to God to restore and reserve the way of the life that they have known and have pride in. God people will cry out for refining fire that burns away all the dross and all the wood, hay and stubble. Habakkuk says it best and describes exactly what mercy in the midst of wrath looks like Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. (Hab 3:17-19)

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