Monday, October 20, 2008
A True False Test
We will begin with a true/false test.
I have used the KJV to make them all sound official
1 Whosover is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of judgment.
2 Help thou thy brother’s boat across, and lo, thine own has reached the shore.
3 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
4And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
5 'If a man says, I love God, and yet hates his brother, he is a liar.
6 'Whoever degrades a brother degrades me, and whatever is done or said returns to me
7 'A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city
8 'Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
9 'He who blesses most is blest
10 'Behold, how good it is for brethren to dwell together in Zion
How well do you know God’s Word and whether you are receiving a message from the Lord? This goes beyond a simple trivia test. It is the question of discernment and ultimately it comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jeremiah’s day, he came up against another prophet, Hananiah, who in the name of the Lord, was completely painting a different picture of the immediate future for the nation. We will learn to discern this morning as we see how Jeremiah handled this true false test!
How To Swallow A Tough Pill From The Lord… ch27
Jeremiah once again was asked by the Lord to be an object lesson. He was asked to place a yoke on his shoulders and it would also go around the neck. It was like the type you might see in an old movie or third world country used on oxen to plow the land. He wore this around his neck for months at a time! It was a yoke not so easy and a burden not so light. The message was to accept the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar and live under the invading nation, Babylon. It sounded like defeat and that is what God wanted the nation to realize. They were defeated in every way and it was time to enter a rebuilding process.
It is really hard to understand how God can use a godless nation to serve his purposes especially in the treatment of believers. We would never wish this upon anyone, but time and time again it often serves to make the church stronger and more resilient. The key is to remember that God is in control.
However, it was very hard to accept and no one really wants to go down with a fight and knowing their hearts full well, God’s challenge was clear. Don’t fight this, accept this message. You absolutely need these growing pains in your life.
1. False - Fight or Flight. This will end in the sword, famine or plague.
The challenge was not to get caught up in a false message of false prophets who preached lies and preached easy street. The message sounds convincing enough…’You will not serve the king of Babylon!’ v9 They were all getting together for a Summit like conference on the state of the nation and the message was clear. It is time to stand up and fight for what you believe in, fight for what is truly yours. However, it was futile and is good as it sounded, it wasn’t from God.
It was really convincing because at the time it was logical. The people could see that King Nebuchadnezzar’s hold on his own nation was breaking up and they were facing attack from the outside. Syria in the north was planning an insurrection and hey, if the other nations were going to do the same, this may be our time.
Don’t try to save the temple furniture, the pillars, the moveable stands,v19 ie: the symbols of your faith. Don’t try to cling to these things. All they really were to you were good luck charms. You treated them as idols…It is time to start clinging to me
2. True - Form
Stay put in the land and you will be able to live. Submit to the authority over you, accept it with humility v11
How To Correctly Identify The Voice of the Lord ch 28
So, five months later and Hananiah enters the scene. He has been watching Jeremiah for quite some time with this yoke that he was wearing around town. He is tired of Jerry’s unpatriotic message….sellout and succumb to the invading nation. So, he claims in the name of the Lord Almighty, that the yoke of the king of Babylon will be broke in 2 years….not 70! Well think how easily the people would gravitate towards that message…
So, who is right, who is speaking for God now is the challenge of the day.
Jeremiah’s response was incredible and full of grace. He responds by affirming, ‘Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied. He goes on to say that the one who prophesies peace is truly sent by the Lord.
Jeremiah is amazing to me. I really love how he responds in this situation. It is clear that he wants the best for the nation and he has learned long ago that this isn’t about him. God can speak through others as well
Boy, it feels good to not have this yoke on anymore. I definitely need massage therapy
However, once again God clearly speaks to Jeremiah and reveals to him that the yoke of wood will now be placed with a yoke of iron and Hananiah has spoken falsely. Its not a pretty message and two months later Hananiah dies. It was sudden, shocking and just as Jeremiah predicted.
How To Bloom Where You Are Planted! ch 29
The message that Jeremiah now gives to God’s children in exile is not welcomed in the least and there is always one in the crowd who takes considerable exception. Shemaiah all too quickly speaks in the name of the Lord as well and contrary to Jeremiah. He calls him a madman and really misses the beautiful essence of his message. He just gets totally fixated on the idea that the nation is to just accept their position. Maybe if he was living today, he might be thinking, ‘we are not Switzerland and we will not put up with this overbearing, overweight tyrant Nebber!’
The message is to make the country they are living in better. Be agents of transformation and seek peace. Pray for these people and for this nation, pray that this nation will prosper.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:11-14
I think more often than not the message for us as God’s children is to remain faithful especially in a situation where we just want to give up. God is looking for his children to bloom where they are planted. So, often and all too easy our human nature tells us to say, “God take me out of the situation, I need a new job, new work environment…God you don’t know the people I work with.
We tend to get energized by a new possibility, new opportunity. All too easily we allow ourselves to get stuck and God says, stay faithful my child, lean on me even more than you knew possible.
You want to prosper spiritually - call, come, pray and listen
You want to have hope – call, come, pray and listen
You want to have an inside track on your future – call, come, pray and listen
By the way, this is not a half hearted exercise, He wants you to seek with all of your heart. Get serious, get intent, go all in and pursue Him like a madman, like Jeremiah.
We can learn about God ways and His will from three different places:
1. Through history. There is nothing new, it has all happened in some way, shape or form and history repeats itself. We can see all the same mistakes and errors being made and learn before going down the same road again.
2. Through current events. There is always truth out there and we can learn so much from what is happening now and the incredible fluctuation of the markets about the volatility of the world.
3. Through Scripture – God has spoken and we can learn so much from His voice in area of our life.
What voice will be the most predominant in your life, in your decision making? There is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord in the land… Amos 8:11 Be the one like Joseph who had the vision and who stored up the wheat. He was ready, don’t go through the famine without the Word of the Lord in your heart….Psalm 119:11
God will never speak to you in a way that contradicts His Word.
How To Discern Truth from Error.
1. Humble yourself. It was AW Tozer who said, “There is a close relation between humility and the perception of truth. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Psalm 25:9
2. Trust God. Remember in Ephesians 6:16 God gives us the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one and many of those flaming arrows come in the form of lies and deceit.
3. Check the Word. God never contradicts the testimony of His Word. Most people often go astray when they lift a text out of its context or get so focused on one verse to the exclusion of all others that speak to the same subject in other places in the Bible.
4. Pray! God gives wisdom generously to all who ask as James 1:5 states. Fear of the Lord is also the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Remember to allow God to speak to you, do not try to force it and wait patiently for Him to respond. It is amazing how clearly He speaks to us when we read His Word on a daily basis.
5. Think it through - If it is too good to be true, it usually is. Especially when someone is trying to sell you a completely new revelation of God or some type of inner circle…
6. Cover the whole matter though the Holy Spirit. It is the HS that brings the enlightenment to the Scriptures and turns the foolishness of man into the wisdom of God.
Questions For Discussion and Small Groups:
1. What has been a tough pill from the Lord that you have had to swallow?
2. What were the assurances that God gave you to enable you to see your way through your own personal exile?
3. What are your ‘checks and balances’ that keep your relationship with God honest?
4. What was a recent lie or false truth that you were able to expose about God in your life?
Answers to the test!
1 Whosover is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of judgment. True
2 Help thou thy brother’s boat across, and lo, thine own has reached the shore. False This is actually from the Hindu religion
3 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. True Proverbs 27:7
4 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. True Proverbs 27:27
5 'If a man says, I love God, and yet hates his brother, he is a liar. True '1 John 4:20
6 'Whoever degrades a brother degrades me, and whatever is done or said returns to me - This is from a poem by Walt Witman
7 'A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city – true Proverbs 18:19
8 'Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. – True – Deuteronomy 28:5 This is part of the charge Moses and the Elders gave to the people of Israel as they prepeared to cross over into the Promised Land.
9 'He who blesses most is blest – False - John Whittier
10 'Behold, how good it is for brethren to dwell together in Zion – False – Psalm 133:1 dwell together in unity