Saturday, April 21, 2012

The seasons are changing, it is the season of weeping and woe

I hope this fine spring week has offered you beautiful glimpses of God's creative intellect and His wonderful power. We always enjoy the march of the seasons. "He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down." (Psalm 104:19, KJV). Wherever we are in the world, reading this newsletter, we see and understand the times and seasons. We look for the robin, the crocus, the ladyslipper. The orderliness and consistency of the seasons since His ordination of them is a comfort.

Yet in Jeremiah 8:7 Jeremiah says of the seasons, meaning God's season, "Yes, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD." In the natural history of Israel, Barnes notes explains, "Jeremiah appeals to the obedience which migratory birds render to the law of their natures. The "stork" arrives about March 21, and after a six weeks' halt departs for the north of Europe. It takes its flight by day, at a vast height in the air ("in the heaven"). The appearance of the "turtle-dove" is one of the pleasant signs of the approach of spring."

As for the part of the Jeremiah verse which speaks to His judgments, Matthew Henry holds sway here: "Sin is backsliding; it is going back from the way that leads to life, to that which leads to destruction. They would not attend to the warning of conscience. They did not take the first step towards repentance: true repentance begins in serious inquiry as to what we have done, from conviction that we have done amiss. They would not attend to the ways of providence, nor understand the voice of God in them, ver. 7. They know not how to improve the seasons of grace, which God affords. They would not attend to the written word. Many enjoy abundance of the means of grace, have Bibles and ministers, but they have them in vain. They will soon be ashamed of their devices. The pretenders to wisdom were the priests and the false prophets. They flattered people in sin, and so flattered them into destruction, silencing their fears and complaints with, All is well. Selfish teachers may promise peace when there is no peace; and thus men encourage each other in committing evil; but in the day of visitation they will have no refuge to flee unto."

How perfect and prescient His Word is! What was true then is also true now. So many are in a season of backsliding sin, of wasting this season of grace. My statement goes toward the lost and Christians as well. The lines of demarcation are widening, and more Christians than ever are uncovered as pale, weak, lukewarm. It is the season of woe, because "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isiaah 5:20). It is the upside-down season. This is the season of proclaiming sin as good and Jesus as evil. Man becomes more like the animals every day.

In Numbers where God is dispensing instruction to the Priesthood, God said, "I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift." (Numbers 18:7b). It is a gift to serve Him. It is a gift to dedicate one's life to him. It is a gift to be close to Him. It was a gift to the people who needed priests. He also gave the Prophets as a gift and in the New Testament, the gift of prophecy is also a gift. (1 Corinthians 12:10; Romans 12:6).

I feel deeply for Jeremiah the Prophet, who was known as The Weeping Prophet. Jeremiah lived in a time when the People's pride was dragging them backward into sin and away from the LORD. (Jeremiah 13:15-27- "Pride precedes captivity".) He lived when the people's sins had piled up to the point where they were actually living in their last days. Jeremiah was the last prophet sent to preach to the Southern Kingdom. The searing effects of their sins had hardened them so much that no one ever listened to Jeremiah. He never had one convert. "Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward." (Jeremiah 7:24).
Unfaithful Israel, engraving by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
Jeremiah preached and spoke and prophesied, but yet he was hated and reviled. They did not listen. He had no friends. He had no wife even to weep with, for the LORD had forbidden him to marry, knowing the grievous deaths that would soon take place in His coming judgment of the southern kingdom. God was actually sparing Jeremiah THAT special kind of grief, but Jeremiah still cried out, "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! (Jeremiah 9:1). He is saying here that he mourns so deeply for what he knows, that he does not have even enough tears to weep for the people.

"My mourning for the sins and desolations of my people has already exhausted the source of tears: I wish to have a fountain opened there, that I may weep day and night for the slain of my people. This has been the sorrowful language of many a pastor who has preached long to a hardened, rebellious people, to little or no effect," says Clark's Commentary.

This is how I feel. Is it how you feel? Do you weep for the people and nations that sin, who allow sin to drag their hearts to destruction? Do you rejoice in gladness for the warnings and grace the Lord bestows, but weep for those who refuse to heed? Knowing the brutality that awaits them in the Tribulation, punishment for living a brutal life of sin against Jesus? I do. I weep especially for all those who believe they are saved and are a sanctified Christian, but will discover to their horror at the rapture that they were not called up. They were left behind. "My sorrow is beyond healing, My heart is faint within me!" (Jer 8:18). Jeremiah could clearly see the people's pride and sin and he could clearly see the coming consequences, destruction of the nation and destruction of many hearts.

I ask you this, gently, lovingly: at prayer meeting, we weep and cry and mourn for Aunty Tilly's big toe, but do we weep and mourn for souls? Sob, tear our clothes, wish that our very head was a fountain that we could shed many tears for them? We speak of His love these days and His joy, of peace in knowing Him. All these things are good. But where is the grief? Where are our weeping prophets (Christians) today?

Jeremiah begged them not to succumb to the false gods who lulled them into security and which did not make them feel guilty or convict of sin. They did not listen, and they were destroyed. It shall be so again. Prepare your hearts. Jesus is coming soon. Don't be left behind.


7 comments:

  1. Yes, Yes. I agree. I know what you say because I feel it too.

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  2. Super good!!! I hope you don't mind, my bookmarks are full, I am going to copy this article to my notepad and print it out when I can get ink. This will go with all my paperwork that the Lord has led me to accumulate and leave for the left behind. Honestly, I am so tired of crying, been crying over this since 2004 when I learned my new season of life and assignment from God as a Watchman and sounding the warning to deaf ears. Now I understand fully why I never remarried after my earthly husband's death, but Praise God, We will be together again soon. Thank you so much for all you have done for the Kingdom. Kathy McInvale,

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kathy,
      No problem, use as you wish. No strings attached and no holds barred! Thank you for your encouragement.

      Jeremiah: he never married in accordance with God’s command: “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place” (Jer. 16:2). As marriage was obligatory upon the Jews, the prohibition of it to Jeremiah was a sign that the impending calamity was so great as to override all ordinary duties. He didn't marry not but because it was not advisable, on account of the calamities and distresses which were coming upon the nation; which would be more bearable by him alone, than if he had a wife, which would increase his care, concern, and sorrow. (Barnes Notes & Gill's exposition).

      What a happy reunion you'll have with your husband! You can call him "brother" and worship a risen and glorious Christ in person, together!

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  3. Hi Kathy, DITTO, Except the date, 2006 my Husband passed away and it took me until 2010 to get back with The Lord, and now i am firmly with Him and alerting others to what is coming soon. I have been feeling SO SAD for the ones who do not want to wake up...I FEEL I COULD SHAKE THEM...but there is an old saying 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink!' AND THERE IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF THIRSTY HORSES!
    Poor Jeremiah and Bless Him for His ENDURANCE TO THE END.
    We are also blessed to have Elizabeth's Blogs, that keep us well informed in a well written and enjoyable format.
    Rebecca Bonnell

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  4. Hi Elizabeth,

    What a blessing this post was to me, thank you. I'm going through Jeremiah now and have been really struck by the parallels between Judah and the USA.

    I know the text is speaking specifically about the southern kingdom, but I also know the Word speaks in types and shadows, and there's no denying that the stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart nation we live in is a mirror image of God's people before they fell into captivity.

    May God have mercy on our nation, and may we be found worthy to escape all these things and stand before the Son of man.

    Maranatha,
    Ian

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  5. Hello Elizabeth, Thank you for your exhortation. I take it personally. I feel that I haven´t cried enough lately for the lost souls. You motivated me to ask the Lord to give me a heart that is atuned to his and to renew my calling as an intercessor. We learn so much in the season of brokenness. It happened to me a few years ago and as result I wrote this essay to share with others what I had learnt through the process. If you like, this is where you can find it in my blog. I also enjoyed your post sharing the way you study the Bible. Have a blessed week. Jean-Louis. http://thelightseed.blogspot.com.br/2011/06/seasons-in-christians-life-brokenness.html

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jean-Louis for your kind words and your visit here. I just went over and read that essay, it surely is a terrific word and the section Plowing with the Word, prayers and tears was very, very good for me to read.

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