Hear Clearly. Speak Boldly. Stay True to God's Word
Sunday’s sermon was a powerful, timely word out of Jeremiah 23:15–20 and Matthew 24 about the critical hour we’re living in. I probably won’t do justice to the wisdom shared by our pastor and her son but if you’ll allow me, I’d like to summarize what I gleaned from it as it sets the stage for this week’s blog . . .
This world is in an all-out physical and spiritual war that is escalating at alarming rates. We’re a little weary of being reminded of that, perhaps, but for those who might still be emotionally disengaged, the battle between Russia and Ukraine serves as a sobering ‘heads up’. God’s kingdom is on the move, the devil is on the rampage, sin is rampant, and mankind—if relying solely on conflicting reports and views and opinions of countless others—is running amok, not knowing who to believe or which way to turn. Add to this the rogue voices that erroneously claim they speak the Lord’s council, “promising men peace in their sin”, and the whirlwind of God’s fury against such . . . and well, let’s just say this world is a noisy three-ring circus. [i] The Lord calls it a mere beginning of sorrows. [ii] The crux of Sunday’s message, and of my blog, is that the Church needs to tune out the static. Hear clearly from God. Speak boldly His word that prepares the way for the Lord’s return.
What we have here in Jeremiah 23 is God’s end-time order of business unfolding before our very eyes. In the latter days you shall consider and understand it perfectly. [iii] Perplexing information will keep coming at us from every which way like heavy freeway traffic. Airways will be filled with the spoken Truth and with false messengers claiming that their counterfeit messages are also the word of the Lord— “Stay in your sins; nothing shall come of it.” [iv]
God’s handling of this pandemonium is interesting. The (false) prophet who has a dream, let him tell his dream; but he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. In other words, false prophet—go ahead, tell your revelations. Keep casting your futile words but leave off claims that they are “equal in authority to the Divine word”. [v] Church—stand in the true council of the Lord. Speak up above the din so people hear My word that sustains life.
What does straw have in common with grain? declares the Lord. Absolutely nothing—except that God allows the soapbox war on words to continue. For a season. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still . . . behold I come quickly. [vi]
God’s words are wholesome. They feed and sustain life. [vii] Counterfeit revelations are worthless straw. They bring no change. They produce no fruit because there’s nothing in them that nourishes. In fact, straw words pad sin’s bed, so people stay nice and comfy in it. These proclaimed revelations may be appealing, like eye-catching fall decorations made of straw, but their season is about to end. Woe to those who speak contrary to God, who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! Not only are they on dark, slippery ground with Him, They shall be driven on “till they fall therein.” [viii]
These false messengers are playing with fire, that’s what they’re doing. Is My word not like fire? declares the LORD, and like a hammer which shatters a rock? [ix]Straw is highly combustible, so serves as excellent fuel for the fire of God’s word. That fire brings change (repentance) by turning people from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. [x]It ignites hearts with passion. Brings forth fruit. Refines and purifies precious faith. Appraises the character and worth of each man’s work. If bottled up, God’s word becomes like a burning fire shut up in one’s bones. [xi]
His word hammers all resistance until obstinate hearts are softened and contrite before God. If consistently resisted, His word will eventually crush. [xii]
. . . he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. Lord, grace us to hear Your word. Speak Your word. Stay true to Your word.
[i] Matthew 24:4–5; Jeremiah 23:17, 19 – quote from Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary [ii] Matthew 24:8 [iii] Jeremiah 23:20 [iv] Jeremiah 23: 17 [v] Jeremiah 23:28 - Pulpit Commentary; 2 Timothy 3:13-14 [vi] Jeremiah 23:28; Revelation 22:11–12 [vii] John 15:4–5 [viii] Jeremiah 23:1, 12 – Matthew Poole’s Commentary [ix] Jeremiah 23:29 [x] Jeremiah 23:22 [xi] Jeremiah 23;28 AMP; Luke 24;32; 1 Corinthians 3:12–15; 1 Peter 1:7; Jeremiah 20:9 [xii] Luke 20:18