A Life Governed by the Word of God - Part 2
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” In our first part we looked at the power of God’s Word and it’s authority over the life of God’s people, giving King David as an example of one who continually submitted to the Word of God, and King Ahab as one who hated God’s Word and the outcome of his refusing to hear God’s Word. In this we see not only the effect of the Word upon an individuals life and God’s judgment upon one who refuses to hear Him, but also the effect upon nations because of a leader who either honors and submits to God’s Word or rejects it.
I spoke recently on double mindedness. I want to expand upon that for a minute in relation to this subject, a life governed by the Word of God. James 1:5-8 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” To be double minded means that you are of two minds. It is a person who vacillates between two things, two opinions and can’t make up his mind, one that is unstable, not constant, always fluctuating. Lacking control of one's emotions, characterized by unpredictable behavior. That’s a carnal, unspiritual, baby Christian. Here is the problem – Romans 8:7-8 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Here is the picture. When you were born, you were born fleshly and carnal and without the spirit of God. When you are born again of the spirit of God and given a new nature, you come to have two natures, your old fallen nature and your new one. You also have two minds, the natural and that which is renewed by the spirit and the Word. These immature carnal Christians, go to church, participate in church activities, tithe, pray, even read their Bibles, but when the pressure is really on, and what is deep down is brought out, they see what they are made of, because they have not put away the fleshly mind and died to it. On one side they love God and want to follow Him and on the other side they love their lives, their flesh or there is something else that keeps them from following and obeying God when the going gets tough. Sometimes it is because they still believe things they learned of the world and are still full of the influence of human wisdom, humanism, psychology, belief in human goodness, or have an area in their lives that they have not submitted to God. Whatever it is, they are of two opinions and sometimes they will side with God and sometimes they will side with their flesh and their fleshly mind and it’s wisdom, emotions and influences.
A great example of how a person can be influenced by God, by the spirit and word of God on moment and by the devil the next is given in Matthew 16:14-19. “And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Peter just received divine revelation from the Father by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. This is wonderful for anybody, to know that God is speaking and revealing Himself to you. But then look what happened next. (V.20-23) “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Who? Jesus didn’t speak to Peter, but the spirit that was behind what he said, the source of that wisdom that came against the knowledge of the will and purpose of God that Jesus had just spoken.
In James 3:15 we are told about a wisdom that is sensual and devilish. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” This is true of any wisdom that is not from God; any wisdom that the scripture says is not from above. There are only two types of wisdom and two sources of wisdom, that which is godly and that which is ungodly, holy and unholy, pure and impure. Know that any time you resist or disagree with the Word of God, you are resisting Him and therefore submitting to the devil and giving him a place to work in your life. Jesus said it clearly in Matthew 12:30. “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” You can’t be on two sides at the same time, so anytime you are in conflict with the will and Word of God, you are opposing Him and you are His enemy because “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). Instead, we are to Resist the devil, his mind and will and submit ourselves to God. James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Notice the word double minded again. Cleaning your hands is dealing with the symptom and not the problem. It’s like taking a pig out of the mud, cleaning him, putting a bow around him and bringing him into the house. You have taken the pig out of the mud by means of physical separation, but you have not taken the mud out of the pig. At first opportunity the pig with be a big and wallow in the mud. If our hearts are not cleansed and purified, if we do not receive a new heart from the Lord, then we will have problems going back and doing those things that we did before, all over again. There must be a change in heart and a change in mind. Ephesians 4:23-27 “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Only when your mind is renewed by the Word of God will you stop giving place to the devil. Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Psalm1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” All counsel that is not according to the Word of God is the counsel of the ungodly. Your thoughts that are not in agreement with God’s thoughts are ungodly.
As long as you have two minds, you will have two opinions and when you have a conflict the devil will use that to drag you into his court and cause you to not follow God by faith and not obey Him and not submit to Him. When you are double minded you are unstable because the devil has a place within you that he can get to and cause you to fall. When you are of two opinions, when your mind isn’t settled and rooted and grounded in the Word, then the enemy will build up a wall, a barrier in your mind that will become a fortress to stop the Word of God from becoming fruitful in your life. You will go to church, read your Bible, but the Word will not produce the life of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, the obedience of the faith when you are double minded. That’s why we need to follow the Word of God to us on this matter in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Strongholds of the mind will keep you from believing and obeying God and living by faith in His Word. They come from images in the mind, false concepts, false doctrines, wrong thinking, allowing our own thoughts and will to influence our response to God’s Word and every thing that exalts itself against the Word of God, the knowledge of His will and purpose for you. It is only when you bring your fleshly thoughts into captivity, as a captive slave that you will be able to follow and obey Christ. Notice how Jesus continued after rebuking Peter for opposing His Word. Matthew 16:24-26 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” You have to die to your will and the life of your flesh if you are going to follow Christ and have eternal life. Your cross is where you will and thoughts and ideas come in conflict with those of God. You must there die to that which is of the flesh, before you can take up your cross, the will of God that conflicts with your own, and thereby follow Him. Without dying to the self-will and ideas to submit to His Lordship, there is no following Him and no real Christianity or salvation. Salvation is not simply being forgiven of your sins, but repenting of the life you lived independently of God without submitting to Him and living your own life to please yourself and for the things your flesh desires. Consider 1Peter 4:1-2, 2Corinthians 5:14-15, Romans 6:13-18, Romans 14:7-9, 1Corinthians 6:20, Matthew 7:21-27, John 7:17, Galatians 2:20, 1John 2:17, Luke 19:27.
Know that as long as you are double minded, the government of your life is not fully on His shoulders and His government is not increasing in your life. Jesus said, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master…” (John 13:13-14). Christ’s Lordship precedes His being Savior. 2Peter 1:11, 2:20, 3:2, 3:18 “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,… That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:… But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Before I give the conclusion of this message dealing with nations, since July 4th is this week, let’s take a look at some things concerning our nations history.
In the beginning this nation was built upon the authority of God’s Word. In an article by Newsweek, December 27, 1982 called “How the Bible Made America,” it was said, “Now historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document...” It continued, “Because of this pervasive Biblical influence, the United States seemed to Europeans to be one vast public congregation – a nation with the soul of a church.”
That spirit began with the Pilgrims themselves, who were a devout group of Christians who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and gave the Bible center stage attention in their lives. As they saw it, the Scriptures were the basis for all true freedom, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). To them, true freedom came from knowing the truth of God’s Word.
“The Reformation… provided the framework for political freedom unknown up to that time, thanks to the fact that the standard of reference, the Bible, was placed in the hands of the people. Freedom now could finally exist without license or chaos. The Reformation led to a culture that brought about the civil freedoms and benefits Western Europe and the United States have enjoyed for centuries… Christian theism teaches that man is held accountable to his Creator. Absolute standards exist by which all moral judgments of life are to be measured. With the Bible, there is a standard of right and wrong.”
Men who held strongly to this view were John Locke, William Blackstone, Samuel Rutherford and John Witherspoon, the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence - shaped colonial thinking. And so the Bible became the basis of United States government and law.
President Calvin Collidge once said, “America was born in a revival of religion.” The preaching of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield changed the spiritual landscape of America even before the Revolution. These men set in motion some of the very forces that eventually brought America its political freedoms. For when man finds true religious freedom, political freedom can never be far behind.
Through more than 150 years of early settlement in America, the Bible remained the base of her people’s religious devotion, education and colonial government.
John Witherspoon, who signed the Declaration of Independence said, “”The character of a Christian must be taken from the Holy Scriptures… the unerring standard.” Benjamin Franklin wrote, “As the Scriptures are given for our reproof, instruction and warning, may we make a due use of this example, before it be too late.” Calvin Coolidge said, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teaching of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teaching would cease to be practically universal in our country.” Is it obvious that that the foundations of our society and government no longer have any support and are falling apart at the seams because faith in the Bible is no longer practically universal in our country! We are a nation that was built upon the principles and teaching of the Word of God, all our early colleges that we now call Ivy League colleges, were Christian Church colleges primarily built to train ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
All the state constitutions up to that time stated their references to the existence of God as a foundational premise (as do the constitutions of all fifty states today.) When the colonists sought independence from Great Britain, they declared to the world their belief in a personal, infinite God – “their Creator” – who endowed them with “certain inalienable (or absolute) rights.”
Even Christopher Columbus’s use of the Bible is one of the best documented facts of his career, but least know to the general public. In Columbus own words, translated from the only book he ever wrote in the 15th century called the “Book of Prophecies.” Some excerpts: “I prayed to the most merciful Lord about my heart’s great desire, and He gave me the spirit and the intelligence for the task; … It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) to sail from here to the Indies.
I am a most unworthy sinner but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it may whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous presence. No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Savior.”
When he finally landed in the New World, he name the island San Salvador (Savior).
In 1814, when the British launched an attack on Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner, which became our national anthem in 1930. Key taught a Bible class for boys for several decades. Up to his death he served as vice-president of the American Sunday School Union, which planted thousands of Sunday Schools across the nation in those years. Key also served as a US district attorney in Washington. To a friend in Congress he once wrote this message: “If you are convinced you are a sinner, that Christ alone can save you from the sentence of condemnation; if you make an unconditional surrender of yourself to His service, He will in no wise cast you out.”
In 1819 Key wrote a hymnal revealing the depth of his faith. “Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee, For the bliss They love bestows, For the pardoning grace that saves me, And the peace that from it flows; Help, O God, my weak endeavor; This dull soul to rapture raise; Thou must light the flame, or never Can my love be warmed to praise.”
The Bible’s influence on our government and society in the past can be seen in the Capitol, the U.S. Senate, The Supreme Court, The Washington Monument, the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial.
On the Jefferson Memorial are the words of Thomas Jefferson, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
On the Lincoln Memorial are inscribed, “… That this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” It has his second inaugural address inscribed, which speaks of “God,” the “Bible,” “the Almighty,” and says, “As was said 3,000 years ago, so it still must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
When will this justice and judgment of the Lord that these men spoke of come to America because it has turned away from the God that made it great? On the walls of the Library of Congress are quotations from scripture, as “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
Another in the lawmaker’s library says “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psalm 19:1) And another reference says, “The light shinneth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5) Think about it, you can preach the gospel from the buildings and monuments of America’s Capitol.
On the metal cap on the top of the Washington Monument are the words: “Praise be to God.” And lining the walls of the stairwell are phrases like, “Search the Scriptures,” and “Holiness to the Lord,” and “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” There is so much more that shows America’s history until recently was steeped in faith in God. Now we are a land of atheists, agnostics, false Christians, New Agers, devil worshippers, witchcraft practitioners, Muslims, Hindus and idolaters of every kind. This was no so until recent years. We were for most of our history a nation in which the Bible was the only basis of faith and Christianity was the only major religion, but no longer. Once our laws were founded upon the principles of scripture and the Ten Commandments, that still stand above the head of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which has all but made true Christianity illegal, unconstitutional and its adherents enemies of the state. Just this past week new horrendous decisions were made by them including, striking down a Nebraska law banning so-called “partial birth” abortions. The court said that placed an undue burden on a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. About 30 states have laws prohibiting “partial birth abortions” that will be affected by this decision! The Houston Chronicle said, “Justice Clarence Thomas assailed the court’s abortion decision as indefensible.” The paper wrote, “the court’s decision striking down the Nebraska law marked the justices’ first consideration of the controversial abortion procedure. The surgery involves partially removing a fetus, legs first, from the womb into the birth canal, where its skull is pierced and its contents drained. (Actually this process is also called ‘dilation and extraction’ because it allows the abortionists to reach into a mother’s womb, grasp the babies feet, and deliver him all except his head. Then its brains are vacuumed out before the baby is fully delivered.)
Congress has twice passed legislation calling for a ban on the practice, but President Clinton has vetoed those measures.” (Now, finally, after a third bill from congress, President Bush has passed it into law, although it was immediately attacked by multiple lawsuits and put onto hold.)
The article stated, “Clinton, a supporter of abortion rights, lauded the court for striking down Nebraska’s prohibition…”
In an opinion, Breyer wrote, “the result (of the Nebraska Law) is an undue burden upon a woman’s right to make an abortion decision. We must consequently find the statue unconstitutional.”
Unconstitutional to try to say that when a baby is in the third trimester, even up to 9 full months old, as long as they go after it first and do their wickedness before it can be fully born, although it is a life that can sustain itself outside the womb and is a viable human being, that such murder and infanticide shouldn’t be allowed because it is a woman’s constitutional right. Give me a break! Nowhere does our constitution give a person the right to take another’s life, especially that of an innocent one that cannot defend themselves. That is pure murder but where is the cry of the Christians in this “Christian Nation.”
Well once again, our courts are making law and telling us that they know better than the people, in this case the people of Nebraska who passed the law to begin with. It is saying, you people can’t decide for yourself what is acceptable and what is legal, we will decide for you and you will have no choice. Again, the courts, like the president have overstepped their constitutional mandate and purpose for being. But then again, they are all re-writing the constitution and changing it as they go and telling us what it says, means and what is lawful and constitutional and what is not without regard for the Constitution, Preamble and Bill of Rights. When will we wake up to see that our freedoms are being taken away because we have rejected God and so we are moving toward a totalitarian government and persecution of Christians.
Now with that as an introduction, let me say that today there is no longer an nation on the face of the earth that can be called a Christian nation and it be said that they are governed by the Word of God. There are Muslim nations where the people submit themselves to the authority of the Koran and Mohammed’s word is law. There are Hindu nations, where the people submit themselves to the idolatry of Hinduism and follow Hindu writings. But in supposedly Christian nation as ours, no such subjection to the Holy Scriptures exists.
Yes, we were once a nation whose laws, government and society were founded upon the Bible, but today our leaders toss it aside as so much garbage and treat it as if it were a yoke of slavery. Today what is loved is such things as Gay rights. Just a week ago we had the annual Gay Pride parade here in Houston and our Mayor took part and went on TV telling everyone how great and how much fun it was and we were told how over 100,000 people attended, etc. They are proud of their sin and abomination and mock God’s Word openly. Our federal government and state governments as well as local have done everything possible to remove the Bible from our society, outlaw its use, or any public prayer or to use the name of Jesus. It is now politically correct to despise God’s Holy Word and love wickedness. Today it is correct, acceptable, and applaudable when men speak evil words against the gospel and call evil good and good evil.
Now let me say this. It is absolutely fatal for any nation that God has blessed and prospered because of faith in Him by past generations to reject the authority of The Bible and the warnings of His servants. America will surely be judged by God for it’s many sins, some of which we have already spoken, but the greatest reason it will be judged is because we have turned our back on His Word.
Many professing Christians in American today object to such statements and I have heard some recently state emphatically that God will not judge this nation because we are putting 90% of all the money given for the gospel in the world and from America is going the gospel into all the world. They haven’t looked very close at the history of Israel in the Bible and see how God, who called them and chose them as a nation and blessed them greatly and then judged and destroyed them and let the people become captive servants of other heathen nations because they stopped following God’s Word and started following their own lusts and pleasures. God had called Israel to be His light and testimony in the world. Yet in spite of this calling, God judged them and will likewise judge America.
*What happens to a nation that rejects the Bible and removes the authority of God’s Word from its society?
What about 1Corinthians 10:11-12? “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” What was written for an example to us? How they failed to believe and obey God and how he dealt with them. (V.1-10) “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” For an object lesson on this subject let’s look at the book of Jeremiah in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah.
God had instructed the prophet Jeremiah to write down all the prophetic warnings he had delivered over the precious 23 years. During that period, Jeremiah had warned that a great day of accounting was coming because of Jehoiakim’s wicked grandfather Manasseh.
2Kings 21:1-9 “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.” Manasseh had turned the temple into an abominable center of idol worship. He had dabbled in witchcraft and turned to enchantments, familiar spirits and wizards. This evil man despised God’s Word, trampled his laws and rejected his commandments. Manasseh brought about a national chaos and set the nation up for judgment. Manasseh’s hands were stained with the blood of innocents and the shedding of blood, violence was always a trigger point for God’s judgment in the Bible, especially innocent blood, as sacrificing children to demon gods. (V.10-16) “And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.” God has proclaimed such a judgment upon his people that he says even their enemies won’t believe what they hear their God has done to them because of their sin. Some may say, but today there is a revival in the land and many are repenting and asking God to spare the land from judgment. Know this, even though Manasseh eventually repented before his death, God would not call off the judgments that he declared he would send the nation, He only delayed them for a season.
No one can deny that our nation is in such a state today as they were. It is a nation of chaos, confusion, instability and bloodshed. We have shed the blood of over 30 million babies through abortion and our leaders and government as well as many of the people love it that way and refuse to change things, except continually for the worse. How could a holy God wink at and overlook the shedding of such blood and ignore the pitiful cries of all these slain babies? Or do you not think that their blood cries out for vengeance as that of Abel? Or do you not think that they cry out as they are being murdered?
God judged Manasseh and the nation of Israel for much less. And our nation refuses to do anything about this wickedness, even to the ninth month of pregnancy. How can America think it can continue such violence against innocent lives and get by with it? It is because we refuse to believe what God’s Word says about the shedding of innocent blood. We refuse to believe that God is holy and that He will judge such wickedness. Remember, it was church going professing Christians that elected President Clinton and screamed for the Congress to leave him alone when he was impeached. Our church going, Bible toting, professing believers wanted this wicked president who did more to increase the wickedness of this nation by promoting abortion to the most horrendous level and circumstances that we have been discussing, to export it at taxpayers cost to other nations and to promote homosexuality as also a normal alternative. If we were a Christian nation as we once were, these things could never be so.
2 Kings 22:1-2 “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” Josiah, Manasseh’s son trembled at the word of the Lord and walked in the way of David his great-great-grandfather, rather than after the way of his father. Under his reign, Judah’s high priest found the holy scriptures lying in a dusty corner of the temple and handed it to the scribe to read to Josiah. (V.8-11) “And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.”
Josiah took seriously God’s Word. In reading it he was shaken and realized that the nation had reached the flash point of sin Moses spoke of and that they were under God’s hand of judgment. Immediately, upon reading the Holy Scriptures, Josiah came under the authority of God’s Word.
Then the king sent representatives (the priest, the scribe and others) to inquire of the Lord through Huldah, a prophetess of the Lord. (V.12-20) “And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying, Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her. And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.” Put simply, she said that the judgment that God had promised to pour out upon Jerusalem and Judah still stood and would come to pass, but because he had humbled and wept before the Lord at the reading of His Word, he would be spared the evil that would come upon the nation. What a message to king Josiah - that he would not have to see the judgment that would come because of his wicked father Manasseh. Immediately this godly king set about conforming the nation to God’s Word and for the next 31 years, every time he learned a new statue from God’s Word, he repented and conformed to it. 2 Kings 23:1-3 “And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.” His obedience ushered in to Judah an unprecedented time of blessing and prosperity.
For example, when he discovered that God hated idolatry, he smashed all the pagan altars and idols in the land 2 Kings 23:4-6. “And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.” When Josiah read that homosexuality was wrong, he dealt with all the Sodomites in the land (V.7). “And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.” When he learned that God hated human sacrifice, he cleansed the land of it (V.12-15). “And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men. Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.” Josiah learned that God hated those with familiar spirits and cleansed the land from them (V.24-25). “Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD. And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.” Yet for all that king Josiah did for the Lord, He would not turn from his anger against Judah. (V.26-27) “Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal. And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.”
In the final 19 years of his reign, which is a fairly long time of warning, the prophet Jeremiah also began to warn of the judgment of God that was still to come upon Judah. Jeremiah 35:12-17 “Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.” Twenty-seven years before, God had pronounced judgment upon Judah. God had delayed that judgment because of king Josiah but God knew that the hearts of the people of Judah were not zealous toward the Lord as was the king’s. Unlike King Josiah, their repentance was not genuine and heart felt, but only lip service, for their hearts were given to the idolatry that had practiced before king Josiah began to force them to stop their practices of idolatry. Again, because of obedience, we see that God spared another family (V.18-19). “And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.”
Why did God also sent Jeremiah to repeat his pronouncement of judgment upon Judah? He wanted Jeremiah to shake the people and stir their hearts that maybe they might repent of their evil ways and he could forgive, cleanse and restore them. It is always God’s way to continually send watchmen to warn his people for years before he finally brings down the full judgment upon his people because he loves them. His warnings are simply expressions of his great mercy and desire for them to repent so that he can forgive them.
And yet Christians today are no different from the people in Jeremiah’s day that were warned by him. The people beg the preachers to not speak hard and harsh things to them, not to speak of judgment or punishment for sin, but blessing and prosperity, smooth things. Isaiah 30:9-10 “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” They heap unto themselves preachers that will tell them what they want to hear and minister to them the idols of their hearts. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Ezekiel 14:4-11 “Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself: And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD.”Please note what God will ultimately do in the end and both those with idolatrous hearts and those who minister to them will fall in judgment.
We see this attitude of turning from truth to fairy tales, from the pure gospel to smooth messages of blessing and prosperity among all types of churches from mainline to independent, Catholic, Baptist to Charismatic. They are all moving closer into union with other churches that have forsaken the scriptures as the Word of God, claiming to set aside their differences in a plea for love and unity, casting aside the pure and holy Word of God in the process. The great doctrines that came out of the Reformation, which many thousands of believers paid for with their lives are at risk of being lost once again to false man made religion. I am speaking of the doctrines of ‘salvation by faith alone’ and ‘justification by faith’ in the blood of Jesus and the finished works of Calvary. They are returning to a salvation by works and embracing righteousness by good works alone. This new church movement and union is also slowly moving toward accepting homosexuals into the church and even the ordaining of homosexual ministers. If it isn’t one compromise it’s another. The few who stand against homosexuals as being unacceptable to God and unholy, compromise in other area to get the people to come. They preach everything from a doctrine that let’s people get ‘slain in the spirit’ before they even repent and get saved, sometimes even for children as young as 4 years old, to doctrines that teach the people are kings kids and so if they know that, they can claim what they have coming to them and God will make them rich and give them the wealth of this world. In it all, they forget the doctrines of holiness and separation from the world and worldliness. They say we can have God and the world too and they go after the things of the world forgetting the admonitions of the scriptures to love not and seek not the world, but the Lord. 1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Simply put, their doctrines are out of the pit of hell. God will not accept harlotry, people those that are full of sexual lusts nor those full of the idolatry of covetousness. Colossians 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
Yet all the time, the church leaders of the day, for the most part, ignore the warnings of godly men urging them to turn back to the true preaching of the cross and defend the true gospel of Christ.
When the godly king Josiah died, his son Jehoiakim took the throne. In the fourth year of his reign, God gave Jeremiah one final word for the people, to be delivered at the National day of Fasting. Jeremiah 36:6-9 Sound good! The leaders knew that the mighty Chaldean army was approaching the city. They had received intelligence reports that this overpowering army was marching through the land with the intent of overthrowing Jerusalem and destroying the temple. After 27 years, Jeremiah’s warnings were finally coming close to home for the people. Everyone in Judah began flocking to Jerusalem. They were all very familiar with the things God had told them was going to happen to them. It was all like a worn-out song, having been preached to them as a warning for many years. They knew and had been told that God would judge them for their idolatry, for their rejecting His Word, and for shedding of innocent blood. They knew the judgment was set and could not be avoided and yet year after year no judgment came and the people continued sinning and the more they sinned, the more prosperous they became. And so the people scoffed at Jeremiah as the people had mocked and scoffed at the preaching of Noah concerning the coming flood. They would say, ‘you keep telling us that hard times are coming, but we have seen nothing but prosperity.’ That’s just the reaction of most professing Christians today concerning the message of God’s judgment upon this land because of the sin, idolatry, rejection of the Word of God, and shedding of innocent blood, just like in Jeremiah’s day. Jeremiah, like Noah, had no converts and was mocked year after year. Do you think he might have ever doubted God’s Word of judgment upon the people? But Jeremiah’s words did finally come to pass and suddenly in the midst of prosperous times the leaders of Jerusalem received the bad news: ‘the Chaldeans are upon us.’
Since God has always had a godly remnant, as Jeremiah and Elijah, I am sure there were some present in Judah at that time, praying for nationwide repentance, as in the days of Ezra. Ezra 7:10 “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” The people responded to Ezra by repenting and coming under the governance of the Word of God. Ezra 9:10-14 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?”
Now as the fast was being held in Jerusalem, Jeremiah sent his scribe Baruch to deliver what would be God’s final warning before the judgment of God arrived. He thundered out a message subjected to 27 years of warnings. Jeremiah 36:1-10 “And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD: Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD'S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people. And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD'S house. And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem. Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD'S house, in the ears of all the people.” During this time, in the space of a few years from 2 Kings 23:27 where we left off with the history of king Josiah until chapter 25, many things happened and many kings reigned, all during Jeremiah’s time of prophecy. From king Josiah, there was king Jehoahaz, son of Josiah who reigned 3 months (2 kings 23:31), then Josiah’s son Eliakim, who was renamed Jehoiakim who reigned 11 years in Jerusalem (2 kings 23:36), then Jehoiakim for 3 years (2 kings 24:1), and Jehoiachin who reigned for 3 months (2 kings 24:8), then Zedekiah who reigned 11 years and they all did evil in the sight of the Lord. During much of this time they served Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon (2 kings 24:1-5, 10-16).
Back to where we left off. Three types of people heard God’s Word delivered on that day of national fasting in Jeremiah’s day and these three are present in the church today and they react the same way as those in Jeremiah’s day. The natural heart of man is the same and has never changed. Jeremiah tells about these three types of people that we will call the passive, the perturbed, and the penknife hearers.
The Passive Hearers. Jeremiah 37:2 “But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah.” The fast in Jerusalem became a fatal one. As Baruch thundered out the words of Jeremiah’s impassioned call to repentance, the listeners remained totally passive, being completely unmoved by the words which they heard. Can you imagine this? A national fast has been called, a time of solemnity, of reverence and humbling and seeking God. The people are given a final warning with the enemy coming down upon them to enslave them and march them off to Babylon. And the Israelites just stood there like nothing was happening and nothing mattered, nothing was registering in their minds or spirits of what was happening. The Word of God they had gathered to hear was going in one ear and out the other without any affect.
It is unbelievable how passive the hearers are today in our churches. They ‘come to the fast’ – attending church regularly, singing in the choir, praising with song, shouting and clapping their hands and some even jumping up and down. Yet they remain completely passive about the Word of God they have heard. They know the need to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God to keep from being deceived and coming under false lying spirits and doctrines of devils we are warned about (1 Timothy 4:1-2). “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
Such Christians have grown blind to the danger they are in and one day they are going to be in the battle of their lives, for their lives. Hell is going to spew forth its demonic hordes and the enemy will come upon them like a flood and these believers will be frozen in a state of passivity.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word passive means, “Receiving or subjected to an action without responding or initiating an action in return.” It also means “Accepting or submitting without objection or resistance; compliant.” Does this describe your attitude toward the scriptures? Are God’s people becoming numbed by the sensory overload of evil tidings daily in the news? With stories of plane crashes, murderers in school, mass murders preying upon society, war atrocities, natural disasters, daily robberies, murders and other violence. Are we becoming numbed to the truth of God’s Word by our comfortable lives of ease and pleasure? Are our lives of prosperity and blessing and comforts of life causing us to fall into a narcotic-like stupor, being drunk on the world and the good life and lulling us into believing that the good times and days of peace and prosperity will never end causing the people to gradually shut their ears and hearts to the Word of God and warnings of those who speak to wake the people up, echoing the prophecies of the Old Testament Prophets against such a society.
As it was in Judah in that time, so it is in the church today. The people have gone back to their homes, their careers, their own fleshly thinking and living for the ease and comfort of their flesh, saying to themselves, ‘how hard could it possible get?’ Believing that the politicians will find a solution to any possible problem and believing in the arm of man and comforting themselves in the words of false prophets and lying politicians who care only for themselves and so they see no reason to be bothered or take the warning of coming judgment to serious or need to get worked up over them.
But passivity toward God’s Word opens the door to every kind of false doctrine. In Judah, the people eventually paid heed to false prophets as may are today. People are running all over to ‘receive a word’ from some so-called prophet or flesh-driven evangelist who are building their own little kingdoms and getting rich off the unsuspecting foolish virgins, who think they can get the oil of the holy spirit cheaply from some man with price or cost of commitment and obedience to God. Much of what these big time preachers and evangelists tell the people is pure nonsense and even heresy. They just make things up, add and subtract where they want from the scriptures to prove their point and justify themselves and their ministry. Tragically, many illiterate believers can’t discern the falsehoods, the lying doctrines and false spirits because they are not grounded and committed to the Word of God above all else and are willing to compromise and accept whatever slop they are fed because their flesh is pumped up and stroked without any anguish of spirit or real message that brings about soul searching repentance and because of a great power show and lying signs and wonders, which God allows because it is what the people want.
The Perturbed Hearers. To be perturbed means ‘to be greatly disturbed, made uneasy or anxious, and to thrown into great confusion.’ This describes the reaction of Michaiah, an official in Jehoiakim’s court. He had overheard Baruch’s message at the fast and he shook with terror. This man was part of Judah’s intelligence gathering group. He quickly realized Baruch was speaking things no one could possibly know unless God himself revealed it to him.
Michaiah hurried to the king’s court to share what he’d heard with the other leaders. Paraphrasing, he told them, ‘Gentlemen, I’ve got disturbing news. I’ve just heard the prophecy of Jeremiah and it concurs with our information. So he must have been telling the truth these many years after all. The Chaldeans are too powerful for us to stand up against and now we can’t ignore it. We have got to listen to this word from God.’
So the officials decided to invite Baruch to a secret meeting, where he could give them the rest of the story. Jeremiah 36:11-16 “When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD, Then he went down into the king's house, into the scribe's chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes. Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them. And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.” The phrase ‘were afraid’ here means ‘shuttered.’ These men literally trembled as they heard God’s Word. This reverent group of men represents God’s holy remnant. While an entire multitude can be passive and unmoved upon hearing God’s Word, those who are shut in with the Lord will tremble when they hear his holy word. Even today God surely has a trembling, influential remnant hidden away for this last hour. Just recently it was told of a prayer meeting taking place among several U.S. Senators, men who have heard the prophetic warning of God’s coming judgment and have shuttered at His Word. Now they are quietly and judiciously spreading the word among those who have ears to hear. We need to pray to the Lord for more godly men and women who will accept his word in these last days and tremble, especially of those in government offices.
These perturbed men told the king the words of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 36:17-20 “And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be. And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.”
Penknife Hearers.These who were perturbed went to King Jehoiakim, who was sitting in his winter house with his staff, warming himself by the fire. They told him that Jeremiah told them that judgment was at the door and it has been written down in the holy book and begged him to read it. Jeremiah 36:21-23 “So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. 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.” The perturbed men who trembled at the word of God were astonished at the kings brazen act and tried to intercede to stop the king. (V.24-25) “Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. 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.” The king and his staff had no fear of God’s judgment. In fact he wanted to get Jeremiah and make him pay for his prophecy. (V.26) “But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.”
In our society today, many judges, politicians and atheistic powers wield penknives to the Word of God and his laws and commandments. They’re ready to cut and burn God’s Word out of existence and think they can nullify God’s judgment by their acts of defiance and unbelief. But they will never succeed. When Baruch told Jeremiah what the king had done, the prophet instructed his servant simply to write out another scroll with the same prophecies. Jeremiah 27:27-32 “Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not. Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.”
God’s word came back more powerful than before with new added prophesies against the king. This king couldn’t stop God’s word any more than all the men and nations who have tried to do so. Communist Russia and China tried to destroy all Bibles and faith in God, but today there are Bibles flowing by the millions into these countries and they are even being printed there now. A few years ago the officials of Albania boasted that they had removed all Bibles but today the floodgates have opened and Bibles are flowing in and churches are springing up again.
This Bible despising king Jehoiakim represents a new generation brought up under godly parents. But somewhere along the way, Jehoiakim developed his own ideas about who God was. Something in his heart would not let go of the spirit of this world and he rejected the pure and true Word of God and he ended up backsliding in the midst of a revival in the land. This kind of young believer is seen everywhere today. Such Christians grew up setting under godly teaching and witnessed the love and power of God, yet the spirit of this world and love for it has gripped them and they have become addicted to the permissive lifestyle of the age. For example, many refuse in their younger years to give up worldly ungodly music. Now they mock the faith and old hymns of their parents. Many have taken penknife in hand, cutting those spiritual songs out of their lives and substituting new fleshly songs and music and they call it Christian rap, Christian rock and everything else like Contemporary Gospel Music.
Now, as adult leaders in the ministry, these so-called Christians have brought their penknives into God’s house and have lost all holy fear of God, despising the truth and spiritual things. They complain that the ‘old styles’ of worship and preaching are not acceptable or palatable because they are not contemporary enough for this generation. They want their own contemporary music and their own contemporary message for the age now knowing that God said to hold onto the old paths. Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 7:23-24 “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” Jude 1:3-4 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The results of this desire for and move to a contemporary gospel and worship music to please the worldly fleshly people who have rejected the old ways and that which is of the Spirit of God for that which is born of and caters to the flesh has been tragic. They say we are free, God has set us free and so we have freedom of worship, freedom of expression and freedom of speech in the church for this is a new day and a new move of God and we don’t have to follow the old ways, but are free in God to do it a new way. Proverbs 22:28 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Job 24:2 “Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.” Deuteronomy 27:17 “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.” These young Jehoiakims in the pulpit today are removing those Bible centered landmarks right and left, leading their sheep farther and farther away from God’s pure holy word.
Our future hope is in the few left of the older generation and those young people who truly love God and his word and who treble at his word and have not followed the way for the flesh and have not left what is right, holy and spiritual for that which feels good and pumps up the flesh. They are the holy remnant of today. They are the ones who have submitted themselves to be governed by the Word of God and are being fed and led by his Spirit.
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