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March 10, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Brian Hand continues a Seminary Chapel series entitled “Jeremiah pt. 1” with a message titled “Proclamation that Flows from Loyalty to God,” from Jeremiah 15:15-21.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform or continuing a series from seminary chapel and speaker today is seminary professor, Dr. Brian hand you would please join me in Jeremiah 15.
As we continue our series on proclamation of the word of God in the midst of a cancel culture.
As we heard over the last many weeks. Jeremiah's entire culture. Everyone around him that everything they could to silence him to shut them up with a combination of threats with mistreatment with simple contradictions statements that he was not really speaking the word of God to than that he was just giving them his own opinions. Rarely does one cross the will of the king and survive, but Jeremiah stood in the midst of three different kings were or in their presence.
Joya Kendra Joya Chin and Zedekiah and urged all three. To repent, instead he got Harry Dean from their followers. He was disregarded. He was threatened at best. God's word, which she was giving them was completely ignored at worst a threat in his very life. Three Jeremiah 15 beginning in verse 15, to see what the word of the Lord has to say to a cancel culture, O Lord, you know. Remember me and visit me and take vengeance for me on my persecutors in your forbearance take me not away know that for your sake I bear reproach. Your words were found, and I ate them and your words became to me a joy in the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord God of hosts, I did not sit in the company of rat revelers, nor did I rejoice. I sat alone because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my paying unceasing by wound incurable, refusing to be healed. Will you be to me like a deceitful brook like waters that fail therefore thus says the Lord. If you return I will restore you and you shall stand before me if you utter what is precious and not what is worthless. You shall be as my mouth they shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them and I will make you to this people fortified wall of bronze. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. There's always a reason to be disloyal to God. There's never a right reason, there's always a pressure that you're under. There's always some need some lack there's always some unanswered prayer. There's always some apparent silence of the most high. There's always a reason to be disloyal to the Lord. But there's never a right reason.
In the Old Testament loyalty to God is a theme that the prophets drive at and yet it's incredibly rare. Kings routinely abandon God out of their own pride out of a desire for some kind of external military claim or an allegiance or alliance with foreign powers of their own name would become greater. The people of the land themselves fell away so quickly and so often and so repeatedly there was always a good reason in their own estimation to turn aside to idols. There was always a a lack of rain or locust plague or some other reason to betray the Lord.
But there was never a right reason, Jeremiah chapter 15 pleads with this urgency in the midst of a cancel culture. You must be loyal to God to endure the kind of emotional contours that you will face in ministry.
It's not all downs by the way, some of it is ops, but in some senses.
The ups are actually a challenge as well because the good times buoy our spirit so much that the bad times seems so further away so much further down so much darker in light of the light that we have experienced at times. The passage begins in verse 15 by reminding us that one of the ways we retain our loyalty to God is by appealing to him in the midst of our suffering.
There different kinds of complaints made in the Scriptures. One is a complaint of unbelief constantly made by the people of Israel, they would find themselves under pressure, they would find themselves distressed and instead of turning to the Lord and pouring out the complaint before him in faith. They turn away from the Lord. And again, essentially said whoa that's always going to be if that's what it's like to follow you all have none of it will return to Egypt will run to idols will make golden calves if you will solve your problem. Maybe the gods of Damascus will if you will give us everything we want. Maybe the idols came from a lack so many others, but there's an appeal of faith that suffers the exact same crises exact same problems in the midst of ministry and brings its complaint before the Lord and lays it out says Lord you see what I'm doing. My enduring you see what I'm experiencing.
You see, the trouble I'm undergoing O Lord, you know, you know what I'm going through. Remember me visit me.
Take vengeance for me on my persecutors in your forbearance, your long-suffering. Do not take me away know that for your sake I bear reproach. What is Jeremiah begged God to know and remember him or remember your servant. Just look at me and some sign or some indication that you care. In the midst of my trouble.
Jeremiah needs God to take care of him.
That's what the term visit means it's not just to show up to walk in the door, but rather to visit him in a way that is assuring and again ministering to him. Jeremiah needs God to carry out justice against the wicked and to forgive his sin and he bases his appeal on the very last phrase of that verse. What is a say why.
For your sake I bear reproach or the reason you need to remember me as I'm enduring everything that I'm enduring for you.
I could give up immediately. All of this hostility and all this persecution would evaporate. I can walk away from it all and instantly I'd be accepted by the world, approved by the world, lauded by the world. I suffer everything that I suffer for your sake, so it's difficult when persecution occurs while we are in ministry that makes persecution a distraction in an obstacle. It's even worse when persecution occurs because we are loyal to God that makes persecution and injustice in your mind turns to the Lord and essentially says, but aren't you a God of justice. Won't you do something you see how that in the heart of an individual is allowed to fester instead of it being expressed with faith leads a person to disloyalty or could lead him into a a fixed and imputable loyalty to the Lord that he will not give up Jeremiah experience mockery abuse, false imprisonment, slander, contradiction, threat of execution and dismissal. What you think it feels like what is it feel like to be telling people the truth and he called a liar what is it feel like to love someone and address the sin in his life and have them say you're a hater of big.
It intolerant exactly the opposite. Lord, you know not doing this out of my own glory or for some kind of a claim actually care for the souls of somebody else just brushed aside what is it feel like to speak God's word to be treated like you're just giving your own opinion, what is it feel like to give an urgent saving message would be ignored and waved off as irrelevant and worthless. Sorry to say which are about to find out if you haven't already, you cannot remain loyal to the Lord, you can't do it in minutes of a cancel culture and failed to experience this kind of hostility and opposition, but the solution to that and that in the way that our loyalty persists, is not do it on our own, not to just try harder but rather to appeal to the Lord in the midst of our suffering. I've always felt a little bit of symphony sympathy for the out of town or at a football game. You know the guy. These he hunkered down in the stands pulling the the blanket up sometimes over his teams colors because he's in an absolute ocean or sea of the other teams colors. He tries to hide his loyalties so that no one will even notice what's going on.
Contrast that skulking friend to the out of town or who proudly wears his hat, shirt, pants of his team. He is waving the team flag even in the face of everybody else around him what's going to happen.
You know the cheering. It's a little more aggressive. A little louder. People stop cheering at the field and for their team and more against him right there around him. He arise. It arouses the iron hostility but he keeps going and always truck tell a true loyalist get you tell somebody who's a fanatic there we be fanatics in our loyalty to the Lord and only manager in a cruel or unbridled since been a sense of just not giving up and continuing to waive his flag is not ours waive his flag.
His word in the midst of a cancel culture passage tells us in the very next verse that we are to seek our joy in the word that is the only way that we can remain will, as we look to his word for joy. Look for not getting get joy from that cancel culture they're doing everything to do the opposite from affirmation. The only place you can get affirmation from is looking to the Lord himself. In verse 16 Jeremiah says your words were found, and I ate them.
Your words became a joy and the delight of my heart. The Kings oppose me the priest oppose me common people of the land oppose me. The officers of the court oppose me, but your word gives me joy, and it once again he follows all of this up with a statement or of the basis on which that joy arises at the end of the verse four. I am called by your name. How does he get joy out of the word of God because it's a word written to children like we are to people like we are the very people of God himself.
So the grief of suffering is not the only emotion we experience in a ministry of loyalty. There are heights of joy as well. Jeremiah Felton indicates the source of joy in the sustaining power of the word and in his relationship with the God of that word.
We are called by God's own name. By the way in Jeremiah's case it's a quite literal statement. Jeremy appointed by Yahweh. He's called by God's name, not just in the sense that obviously he is a prophet of the Lord, but is also called by God's name and that his parents pointed to their faith. Apparently in Jehovah by giving Jeremiah a name you are appointed by we bear names like Christian or Little Christ pastor Sheppard called after our chief Shepherd our bearing God's name should instill in us an incredibly deep loyalty that encourages us in difficult times. The summer before my wife and I were engaged. She was over 800 miles away in Wisconsin while I was working every conceivable job I could pick up sometimes 16 hours a day because I had plans. We were engaged, yet that was coming and I had plans well is also summer in which you just because of some chronic trouble that I'd had in size.
I had sinus surgery is something I would want to repeat Mick actually carved into the bones that are in your head and you know there's no way to really salve stuff that's going on deep in your head when they damage bones in their my only joy at that time came from letters that I would get Woody how do you think I treated letters from my then girlfriend may hundred miles away. Jack got another one now you pull it out and you reread it in the midst of pain. When everything is in your eyes are watering from you know you get punched in the nose or something that discards right in your eyes are watering your rereading the letter you're scrutinizing it to cheat when it sees what she's meaning here and there is joy produced by something as simple as human communication.
How much more when your God has given you a word that is designed to can maintain your loyalty to him and give you joy in the midst of ministry. The passage continues. Verse 17 how do we maintain loyalty by studying our heart against loneliness. Jeremiah says I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice is not saying that joy is a bad thing, but rather that the people that were around him were all reveling in the wrong thing so he couldn't take pleasure in that they were all throwing out the equivalent in their day of our four letter words and use and sprinkling the conversation constantly with them and they were constantly dwelling on topics that were unclean and impure. They were constantly chasing after the eye idolatry of the wickedness of their own world appropriate to their own day and he watched them. He says I can't participate in that. I sat by myself sat alone. Once again he gives the reason because your hand was upon me you had filled me with indignation and that's in indignation or a being stirred up in his own heart against the wickedness of the land we see is evil being done is I can't participate in that it's wrong and Laura makes me upset that they're doing that with your name. It makes me irritated the petulant petty human sense, but a genuine holy irritation. I'm indignant that truth is being trampled that righteousness is treated with such scorn, indignant without loyalty to God. The loneliness that you face in ministry will be overpowering. There times you just don't have that many friend by way it's a good time to build friends right now with allies around you in seminary minute. You can call on ladies, you can call on in the future people that you know trust in the Lord and when you're down dwelling.
Some others are up in a Galatians all of you are capable of restoring each other because were not all in the doldrums. At the same time we can raise each other up in the next time he falls will raise him up at that point. So build those kinds of alliances now, but you must recognize a lot of places that you go in this world and even in this country are essentially alone and even within your church to some extent you can be alone. Why because a pastor has to carry certain burdens that he just can't lay on other people or privileged information that you carry about things going on your congregation. You can't share sometimes even with your deacons and their troubles and burdens that you are enduring that make the loneliness crowd in on you and you will use that as an excuse to abandon God if I just compromise in these few ways I could immediately be surrounded by friends I can enter right into what they are doing and have a great alert looks like you're having a good time. Jeremiah sat alone and continue to pursue loyalty to the Lord listed his friends were short as allies were few, all because he did what was right but he had the greatest ally of all and he focused his attention on that confront your confusion and your perplexity. Verse 18. Why is my pain unceasing.
My wound incurable. God is not afraid of our questions of the confusion that we feel at times and doesn't even rebuke them as long as it once again. They are asked in faith and submissive to him, but Jeremiah is confused at this point. Why am I suffering.
Why is my wound incurable, refusing to be healed. Why do you do this, Lord, why would you make CH Spurgeon William Cooper go through depression, why, why allow that kind of pressure and mental disturbance to plague some of your choice servants. All you have to do is alter their body chemistry just a little bit and goes away.
Instead you bring this to bear on them.
Why would you allow the Taliban to overrun Christian schools and mission works and kill your servants. Why there's nothing good coming of it, Lord, why, why would you allow false and malicious accusations to persist against pastor schools and counselors who love you and love your people. Why do you allow wicked rulers to come to power who do everything they can to overthrow your church, why are they governors why are they senators wire the presidents and premieres. Why do we get debilitating diseases of mind and body. Jeremiah does not call God a liar. In this passage, but he does come close in the statement.
Will you be to me like a deceitful brook like waters that fail the imagery that he brings to mind is something that were not super familiar with is that of a wadi or a ravine can even see the rain but all of a sudden there's a torrent of water rushing toward you to be incredibly destructive. At least there's water there but you know half an hour hour couple hours later it empty your deceitful brook Lord, or will you be to me like a deceitful brook where II turn to you because I'm parched. I'm in desperate need and I find your empty no answer to the prayer in response.
While we are busy proclaiming the message of God's eternal righteousness and justice. He allows evil to run unchecked in this world.
In fact, this world system is so geared towards wickedness that many of those who do the most evil prosper. The most why Lord.
Fortunately, there are lots of other passages that answer that Arthur Asaph asked the same question the Psalms and the Lord reminds him go up to the house of the Lord.
Just take a look at the end of the wicked their joy, their pleasure, their prosperity is gone.
In a moment yours will last forever stay loyal to me in the midst of a difficult age and a a a nation that hates you, we have to renounce her self focus and self-pity or we get nowhere.
Verse 19. Therefore, says the Lord. If you return and it is important for us to realize this is not the Lord now turning and addressing the nation of Israel or Judah God is not saying if y'all returned to me that I'm gonna do something is actually turning to Jeremiah the prophet, who's just been crying out to him and he says if you return to me these are singular I will restore you know what Lord I'm the one is doing what's right. I would have it, your whole ministry thing persecuted for your namesake and got actually puts his finger on something going on in Jeremiah's life. It is very dangerous because it puts us on that knife edge of making a decision to betray the Lord and walk away.
And that is self-pity and self focus you please look back very quickly at the text and notice the eyes in the first four portion the eyes the Mees and the mice Lord, remember me. Visit me take vengeance for me.
My persecutors take me not away for I bear reproach. I ate them media joy, my heart, I am called I did not said nor did I rejoice.
I sat upon me me with indignation. My pain unceasing.
My wound incurable. We be to me now. Check the first person in the second portion of this passage I will restore you my mouth. I will make you and is now God speaking. See the problem with some of the difficulties even when we bring them to the Lord. At times, as we bring them to the Lord. But instead of being willing to listen to him.
Really, what were interested in is is airing our grievances can only do that for so long before takes over and runs your life and then all of a sudden you can justify any kind of betrayal or disloyalty because look how bad I've got it in the Lord's staying to Jeremiah you need to turn to me.
It's not a strong stern rebuke, but it is nonetheless a firm rebuke. Get your eyes off of yourself or you will betray me cannot remain loyal to the Lord why you're looking at your problems which are suffering. So go ahead, pour them out to the Lord in a legitimate complaint of faith, but you must return to the Lord, then renounce yourself focus and self-pity take courage for the long endurance. Why, because what is God going to do when you stay transfixed on him. And when your heart is steadfast. I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze. Oh, you're not weak.
Jeremiah they will fight against you they will not prevail. I am with you to save you and I will deliver you, says the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless galaxy Jeremiah going exactly what I needed to hear, or I would fail the threat that we could betray the Lord in our ministry. In the midst of a cancel culture Israel and former students that I taught care about and walked away from the Lord. I look out here and beg that none of you will be in that position before. Again, that as you go out and experience this kind of pressure.
Instead of caving into it. You will look back to passage like this is a jeremiad every reason to walk away, humanly speaking, none of them were the right reason. Late in the war, Benedict Arnold actually spoke with a captured American soldier released the apocryphal tale goes and he asked the soldier what was the Americans do with me. If they catch me which they captured soldier replies, sir. They will cut off the leg, which was wounded when you were fighting so gloriously for the cause of liberty and bury it with the honors of war. It will hang the rest of your body on to get it. There's actually a boot monument at Saratoga is paid for the boot monument says specifically in memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army was desperately wounded on this spot a monument to the bottom portion of one leg was the only portion of them that was loyal in our lives would be great if we meet in God's presence we find out loyal loyal loyal loyal. It's good to see you.
You stayed with it. You remain committed and it was worth it. Father thankful for this testimony of your word and don't place any confidence in our flesh Lord doesn't matter how long we have walked with you so far. Each one of us is always on the knife edge of betrayal because of the sinfulness of our flesh spirit keep us loyal to you by your great power constrain even the aberrant and wayward thinking of our mind and the strain emotions of our heart, lest we turn away from you. Do not allow the troubles that we face to to investor or looms so large in our minds and I that we betray you and walk away, but instead may we be fixed upon the God who is in upon the so great ministry that is given. Pray for pricing it would listing to a message preached by Dr. Brian Henn, a seminary professor at Bob Jones University. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the series proclaiming the invincible word in a cancel culture here on The Daily Platform