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Jeremiah 23:21-25:38

As I read today’s text a passage from 1st Peter is brought to my remembrance,

For the time has come for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And if the righteous is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?
(1 Peter 4:17-18 HCSB)

God always judges His people first, and then He goes to the nations. We have been rocked by church scandal these past decades. Believers are either angry or embarrassed when things are exposed. But the scandal can be seen as a good thing, God is cleaning out His church and changing the dirty diapers of His people. Then after the church is cleansed, the nations, the people who are not his people, those who have rejected God are dealt with. We have nothing to fear if we are keeping attuned to the voice of the Lord. As long as we not only listen but actually hear what Thus Saith the Lord, we will come through stirred, but not shaken. The remnant God designated to survive the shaking out, as Mike has discussed in his comments about the good and bad figs, may not fit our understanding of what we judge to be good or evil, but our understanding is flawed if not inline with what God has decreed.

I find Mike’s explanation of God’s cup of anger very interesting and I see the judgment of God in a different light and not at odds with His Character, Mercy and Grace.

Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can keep standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like a launderer's soap. (Malachi 3:2 NET.)

We have read in our earlier readings that when man came face to face with God, He/She was always fearful that they would not live and were surprised when they did, why? Sin cannot stand in the presence of God, just like dirt cannot stand in the presence of a good through cleaning with soap. By its very nature, dirt has to “flee” when soap shows up and is applied. When we stubbornly rebel holding on to our sin, when God shows up the sin we so tenaciously hold onto will be washed away in the rinse. If we are clinging to that sin, we will go down the drain with it.

The judgment we see in the scriptures only come about because man is stubbornly clinging to sin which leads to death. He/She refuses to separate from that which is destined to go down the drain.

Grace and peace,

So what stood out to me in the OT is that God fills heaven and earth. Later it states God’s anger is like a mighty storm. Those slain will be everywhere. Now Jeremiah is speaking about the nation of Judah but could this also apply to the day of the LORD? Love that we are told to hold fast to the LORD’s teaching in 2Thes. Then in Psalm 84 we are reminded we are blessed if we trust in the LORD .

Verses 10 in the passage from Psalms really stood out to me. "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." God is so gracious and good that David says he would rather be with God for just a little bit than go to any other place. We should also be like that; to want to spend time with God and to look forward to being in his courts.

We need to remember that God's teaching is the only right one, and others will try to deceive use that they are right. We can do this by knowing God's teachings and keeping them close to our hearts.

Thessalonians 1 and 2 talks about the punishment of the unbelievers which leads us to tell others the Gospel in urgency. And lift them up with prayer for the Holy Spirit to work in them.
It also tells us to discern for false prophecy, to stand firm and hold to the God's Word.

Lord, thank you for choosing us from the beginning to be saved. Thank you for saving us by the truth that makes us holy through faith in Jesus. We pray that the Holy Spirit strengthen us to stand strong and continue to believe the teaching you have given to us and empower us in every good deed and word that will give you glory.

"Stand firm" that's probably what jumps out the most today as I have been struggling with some issues. I think my most difficult battle is how not to be discouraged. Having taught that lesson objectively and also recently learned a biblical perspective on false guilt, it is still a spiritual battle to stand firm and not be tempted to do what does not build up. I appreciate all the more the closing benediction, "16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word."

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

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