2017-09-16

Does Grace free us from the consequences of sins? Jeremiah 7 in Modern Times

Grace is given to us freely through Jesus on our request to empower us to live the life we should. But some have mistakenly considered grace as forgiveness of our sins and abuse it as the license to sin, sinning without the penalty.  That could not be so as we can see how God would treat His people in the time of Jeremiah where they have the His Temple with them. God changes not and in the New Testament, we have Hebrew 12:6 "the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son".
In the time of Jeremiah, there was the Temple of God, showing God's acceptance of the people.

The people proudly proclaimed the power of their God (Jer 7:4)

  • Jer 7:4  Don't trust deceptive words like these, and say, 'The Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD,' 
and made sacrifices there too (Jer 7:21-23).

  • Jer 7:21-23  This is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: "Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat the meat. Indeed, when I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I didn't speak or command them about burnt offering and sacrifice, 23  but I did give them this command: Obey me and I'll be your God, and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you so it will go well for you. 

But at the same time, they continued to do evil in the sight of God, trusting their temple and their sacrifices to save them(7v9-10).
  • Jer 7:9  Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear by false gods, burn incense to Baal, follow other gods that you don't know, 10  and then come to stand before me in this house that is called by my name and say, 'We're delivered' so we can continue to do all these things that are repugnant to God? 
But God through Jeremiah warned them to change or else He would destroy them including His Temple(7v14).

  • Jer 7:14  Just as I did to Shiloh, I'll do to the house in which you trust and which is called by my name, the place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 

But if they only repent, He would let them stay (7v3,5).
  • Jer 7:3  This is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel, says: "Change your ways and your deeds, and I'll let you live in this place. 
  • Jer 7:5  but rather, truly change your ways and your deeds. If you truly practice justice between each person and his neighbor, 
Even so, God will be merciful and give us many chances to repent (7v13).

  • Jer 7:13  Now, because you have done all these things," declares the LORD, "I spoke to you over and over again, but you didn't listen. I called to you, but you didn't answer. 

However, there will be a time where it would be too late. Hence, wake up and change our way now.

Replace the word "temple" with "grace" and read Jeremiah 7 again. As they trusted in the Temple as we do with Grace today, we are to heed the warning of God. The consequences of our sins, the discipline of our Lord, are to awaken us to the evilness and the harms, to ourselves and to those related to us, of our sins.  If God just removes the consequences of our sins, we will have a distorted view of life, of right and wrong, and we would not be able to live rightly and realistically. We are not loved but spoiled, to become like a devil!

Repent and seek the Lord for the true grace that empowers us to live the life that we should.
See also "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This Common Definition is wrong.

Lim Liat (c) 16-9-17




2017-09-01

The Greatest Sin of Present Generation - Ungratefulness - Isaiah 28

A popular Chinese saying is "饮水思源", "Remember the source when we drink.". It is a reminder that no one is a self-made person. "I did it myself" or "I did it my way" are but pride and ungratefulness working in us and it will be our eventual downfall. God condemned the people of Israel in Isaiah 28 precisely of their pride and subsequent disobedience and illusion, ignoring the fertile land that God had provided for them to be rich. God established the Law of Sowing and Reaping and hence we reap what we sow. Sow in pride and ignoring God will reap in sins and destructions. Remember our Source and live well.
Isaiah 28 Mind-map:
Please note some verses were re-ordered and shortened to reflect the message clearer.


Isaiah 28 The Ungrateful Proud Drunkards & Their Destruction

The Lord Will Judge Samaria - The Northern Nation
  • Samaria/Ephraim was a rich land given by God

  • The Blessings
    • 1c its beautiful splendor,
      • situated at the head of a rich valley,
      • the crown of those overcome with wine.
    • 4b its beautiful splendor,
      • situated at the head of a rich valley,
    • others want it
      • will be like an early fig before harvest –
      • as soon as someone notices it,
      • he grabs it and swallows it.

  • Warning of Coming Judgement
    • 1a The splendid crown of Ephraim’s drunkards is doomed,
    • 1b the withering flower,
      • 4a The withering flower,
    • 2 Look, the sovereign master sends a strong, powerful one.
      • With the force of a hail storm ...
      • ... a driving, torrential rainstorm,
      • he will knock that crown to the ground
    • 3 The splendid crown of Ephraim’s drunkards will be trampled underfoot.

  • Drunkard State - Everyone including the Priests & Prophets - A Fully corrupted Place
    • 7 Even these men stagger because of wine,
      • they stumble around because of beer –
      • priests and prophets stagger because of beer,
      • they are confused because of wine,
      • they stumble around because of beer;
      • they stagger while seeing prophetic visions,
      • they totter while making legal decisions.Drunken Judge vs Wise Judge v6
    • 8 Indeed, all the tables are covered with vomit;
      • no place is untouched.

  • God's Standard & The True Crown - What it should have been in the 1st place
    • 5 At that time the LORD who commands armies will become a beautiful crown ... for the people
    • 6 He will give discernment to the judges.A wise & fair Judge to establish righteousness
    • and strength to those who defend the city from attackers.A powerful Commander to defend the city

  • Refusal for Correction & Their boastings - The Pride & Boastfulness
    • 9 Who is the LORD trying to teach?We can decide for ourselves.
      • To whom is he explaining a message?
      • Those just weaned from milk!
      • Those just taken from their mother’s breast!
    • 10 Indeed, they will hear meaningless gibberish,Don't nag at us.
      • senseless babbling,
      • a syllable here, a syllable there.

  • Using a Foreign Force to teach them since they were not hearing God's words- God used Others to get them to listen since they refuse to listen to God.

    • 11 For with mocking lips and a foreign tongue
      • he will speak to these people.
    • 12 In the past, he said to them,
      • “This is where security can be found.
      • Provide security for the one who is exhausted!
      • This is where rest can be found.”
      • But they refused to listen.
    • 13 So the LORD’s word to them will sound like
      • meaningless gibberish,
      • senseless babbling,
      • a syllable here, a syllable there.
    • As a result, they will fall on their backsides when they try to walk,
    • and be injured, ensnared, and captured.

  • The sin of the Northern Kingdom ... We did it ourselves and we don't need God to teach us where in reality they are blind and drunk in their evil deeds.
The Lord Will Judge Jerusalem - Capital of the Southern Nation
  • The Southern Kingdom is similar too
    • 14 Therefore, listen to the LORD’s word, you who mock, you rulers of these people
      • who reside in Jerusalem!

  • They trusted their own intelligence but was deceived. They Made a Treaty with Evil to Protect Them! It was a deception. It was useless
      • 15 For you say,
        • “We have made a treaty with death,
        • with Sheol, we have made an agreement.
        • When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by
        • it will not reach us.
        • For we have made a lie our refuge,
        • we have hidden ourselves in a deceitful word.”

  • God's Leader & True Protection
    • 16 Therefore, this is what the sovereign master, the LORD, says:
    • “Look, I am laying a stone in Zion, an approved stone,
    • set in place as a precious cornerstone for the foundation.
    • The one who maintains his faith will not panic.
    • 17 I will make justice the measuring line,
      • fairness the plumb line;
      • hail will sweep away the unreliable refuge,
      • the flood waters will overwhelm the hiding place.

  • The Warnings
    • 18 Your treaty with death will be dissolved;
      • your agreement with Sheol will not last.
      • When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by,
      • you will be overrun by it.
    • 19 Whenever it sweeps by, it will overtake you;
      • indeed, every morning it will sweep by,
      • it will come through during the day and the night.”
      • When this announcement is understood,
      • it will cause nothing but terror.
    • Their wisdom is foolishness. It has the deceptive appearance.
      • 20 For the bed is too short to stretch out on,
      • and the blanket is too narrow to wrap around oneself.

  • The Judgement
    • 21 For the LORD will rise up, as he did at Mount Perazim,
      • he will rouse himself, as he did in the Valley of Gibeon,
      • to accomplish his work,
      • his peculiar work,
      • to perform his task,
      • his strange task.
    • 22 So now, do not mock,
      • or your chains will become heavier!
      • For I have heard a message about decreed destruction,
      • from the sovereign master, the LORD who commands armies, against the entire land.
    • 23 Pay attention and listen to my message!....

  • The sin of the Southern Kingdom is that they don't trust God to protect them and make a treaty with evil nations to protect them not knowing such plans were useless.
God teaches the Principle of Agriculture - Sowing & Reaping in Order over Time
  • 26 His God instructs him; he teaches him the principles of agriculture.

  • Plough
    • 24 Does a farmer just keep on plowing at planting time?
    • Does he keep breaking up and harrowing his ground?

  • Level
    • 25 Once he has leveled its surface,

  • Sow Seeds
    • does he not scatter the seed of the caraway plant,
    • sow the seed of the cumin plant,

  • Different Seeds in Allocated Spaces
    • and plant the wheat, barley, and grain in their designated places?

  • Reaping & Crushing with the Right Tools
    • 27 Certainly, caraway seed is not threshed with a sledge, nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin seed. Certainly, caraway seed is beaten with a stick, and cumin seed with a flail.
    • 28 Grain is crushed, though one certainly does not thresh it forever.
      • The wheel of one’s wagon rolls over it, but his horses do not crush it.

  • God's Laws operate. Changes do not happen without randomly and without reasons. Changes follow an order over time. We reap what we sow.
The Lord Instructs & Guides -Always Consult the Lord First
  • 29 This also comes from the LORD who commands armies,
  • who gives supernatural guidance and imparts great wisdom.
Summary
  • The Sin - We do not trust God and do our things without God.
    • When we are successful we said we did all by ourselves and hence rot in pleasures to our destruction.
    • When we are in fear, we make our plans, even with evils, ignoring God, but those plans fail to work.

  • The Law of Sowing & Reaping
    • 1 The Blessings
    • 2 The Success & Pride - I Did It Myself
    • 3 The Drunkard State - Decays And Decline Set In
    • 4 The Warning - Pending Doom
    • 5 The Refusal To Repent And Change
    • 6 The Judgement From Foreigners
    • 7 The Repentance
    • 8 The Restoration

    • Ecclesiastes 3:2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to reap ...

    • Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
  • Always Consult the Lord First and then Obey His guidance and follow His Words
Reflection:

As adults, we even asked, "Why should we pray and give thanks to God for the meals we are taking? Did not we worked very hard to pay for and cook the meals?" Yes. We did. However, we are but at the last link of the long food chain. It is God who created the ingredients and provided the environment for their growth. It is many others who work to produce the food. The last link of a chain does not make the chain. Never forget the Source. Always be grateful for the contributions of others. That is the reality and enables us to live life better.

Lim Liat (c) 1-9-17