Desperate situations can lead to desperate measures. They can also lead to counterfeit repentance. That essentially appears to be the idea behind the latter portion of Jeremiah thirty-four. Now, at first glance, the counterfeit had some of the external markings of the true. After all, when you beginning reading verses 8 through 10 you hear what appears to be a bit of good news. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD” (vs.8a) came “after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them” (vs.8b). That’s a positive. But to be clear, this wasn’t a general declaration of freedom spoken to an already free people; this was an overdue announcement to people whose liberty was long overdue. Per Exodus 21:2, a reference God would implicitly remind the people of through Jeremiah (Jer. 34:13-14), slaves were only supposed to serve for six years and in the seventh year they were to go free (Ex. 21:2). But when we look at the words that come later on in the chapter (vs.14-15) it looks like Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem had not followed that command up until this point. So Zedekiah, the people of the land, and just about everyone in between (vs.19), likely induced to a point of desperation because of the surrounding Babylonians, sought to make amends for their dismissal of God’s Law. With the pomp and circumstance of a covenant ceremony, they cut a calf in two, walked through the halves (vs.18-19), and issued the following proclamation:
Tag: Grace (Page 1 of 2)
Often times it is the most zealous of believers that struggle with getting back up after they fall. For them, falling, in whatever form it may take, feels like debilitating failure. They know the holiness of God (1 Pet 1:16); they know the price that Jesus paid for their sins (Acts 20:28); they know how serious evil is (Prov 8:13); and, in light of all that, they can’t believe they made whatever mistake they made.
Many people struggle with this question. Some look at the world and see many people who blaspheme God or covet riches or teach false doctrine or exploit others, accrue wealth, live lives of relative ease, and think, ‘Why are those people so well off?’ For others the thought becomes almost paralyzing. They can’t understand why God would allow such a thing and they, in turn, have a skewed view of who God is in light of what they see. Some, in their misdirected struggle to answer this question, paint with an incredibly broad brush, change the question into a statement and essentially make just about all the prosperous wicked. They say, ‘anyone who is rich is greedy and should [fill in the blank] … give more away or pay more taxes or, once again, [fill in the blank]’. It’s not hard to see how that kind of reasoning not only fails to take into account the godly wealthy of Scripture (i.e. Joseph of Arimethea, Abraham, Lydia, etc.) but it dodges the real issue. The real question is, “Why does God allow the wicked to prosper if He is in sovereign control of all the happenings in this universe?”
Would you regularly give thanks for the church at Corinth? I don’t think that many Christians who are familiar with the problems mentioned in 1 Corinthians would. Granted, I may be wrong. But don’t forget – there were a lot of problems in Corinth! Division, lawsuits among brethren, the toleration of sexual immorality, the abuse of Christian liberty, the mistreatment of the Lord’s table, and the misuse of spiritual gifts, are just some of the problems found among them. Yet despite that abbreviated list of infamy Paul could speak honestly under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and say,
“who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)
Who will confirm the believer till the day of Christ? A quick glance back to verse four reminds us of that answer. For starters, Paul had addressed his thanksgiving to God (vs.4a), He is the one who bestows grace (vs.4b) and secondly, God is the one who calls believers into fellowship with His Son (vs.9b), and part of what makes that grace so amazing is that it is completely sustaining – it confirms believers till the end.