Jeremiah 14-17, Psalm 17
I recently attended a wedding. The bride was beautiful, as was the setting and the food. But, interestingly, this was the first wedding that I ever attended where it was conducted by a friend, called an “officiant”. It was heartbreaking that God was not exalted at all. He was not even mentioned, neither during the ceremony, nor even in one song. It was apparent just how far God has been removed from the minds and hearts of our nation. At this wedding, self was exalted. It was about their love, their commitment, their story. We read in Jer. 17:5, “Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord”.”
There are those who read Scripture in the Old Testament and mistakenly state that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, when we read portions of Scripture like Jer 14:10-12, “…Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will remember their iniquity now, And punish their sins…Do not pray for this people…I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by pestilence.” But people fail to realize that God sees the big picture, we earthly fathers see the little picture. God sees eternity as the goal, where earthly fathers seek for their children earthly things like a good education, good friends, a good job, a good income, a good spouse and children, a good house in a good neighborhood, etc. Jesus reminded his disciples in Matthew 23:9, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” He also tells those listening in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
When we read of God’s judgment we should never forget that His grace is never ending. He brings earthly judgment upon His people out of love. We read the familiar verses in Jer.17:9-10, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” We live in a world where everyone walks around claiming that they are pretty good and therefore if they were to die they believe they are going to heaven, God knows otherwise. Though God is 100% love and 100% grace, He is also 100% just. Each and every sin must be paid for, or justice would not be served. When those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our savior one day kneel before God, we will enter into heaven not by our good works but by the blood of Christ which was accepted as payment for each and every one of our sins. So when we read verses like, “And as it is appointed for men to die once , but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27) and in the story of Lazarus and the rich man, Abraham states in Luke 16:26, “And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.” Earthly fathers make the mistake of fixing their eyes on the horizontal, on the here and now. Our Heavenly Father knows that our time here on earth is short, but our time in eternity is never ending and therefore He does everything in His power to bring us to this realization so that we can spend eternity with Him. We just finished celebrating Father’s Day. May each of us fathers seek the One and Only Father for our guidance and wisdom as we lead our children, our spouses, and those around us to know Him.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: