Saturday, November 03, 2012

There is no Remedy


II Chron.36: 14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
15 And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

If I desired to rabble rouse I could say that America was a monster of iniquity. I could offer statistics on pornography and drugs. I could castigate the Hollywood crowd and the rock musicians. I could yell about Wall Street and the ocean of American greed. I could use President Obama as a scapegoat. I could load my shotgun and shoot at the gays and liberals and socialists and any other group of unregenerate sinners. That would elicit a chorus of “Amens” from the church crowd and the religious patriotic section. Public floggings of the fallen culture excites the ecclesiastical crowd who revel in their own so called morality. Like the lynching of a black man post Civil War it is an event!

But judgment must begin at the house of God, or in other words within the church of Jesus Christ. The verses I have posted tell a woeful tale about how Judah turned her back on the Lord and did horrible things. Their transgressions and idolatry were almost inconceivable, but yet God still sent them prophets and messengers calling them to repent. They were warned about great spiritual consequences and yet they not only refused to listen, they mocked God’s voice through His messengers. And they were not satisfied with just participating in the culture of the heathens, but they brought such practices into the Temple and polluted it.

Their worship became a stench before God and their sacrifices were abhorrent. But they still visited the Temple; they still worshiped; they still offered sacrifices; they still clung to the religious system they had constructed. And they still refused to even entertain the thought that they had strayed from God’s ways. Why? Because they were enjoying themselves. They had become accustomed to the culture and now were immersed in it. And the difference that should have defined temple worship was now little more than idol worship. And God’s presence was now in judgment rather than in forgiveness.

God’s protection was removed and soon the Babylonians began to overrun God’s people and would then enslave them. Instead of a free people they were imprisoned by the stranger. One of the prophets of that day was a man named Habakkuk. We know very little about Habakkuk, but he opens his writing with these questions:

Hab.1: 2 O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.

The prophet asks why doesn‘t God do something about these wicked Chaldeans (Babylonians) because they are wreaking havoc among God‘s people. He cries unto God and God does nothing? The enemy is spoiling the Temple and yet Jehovah watches and does nothing to defend His people? Habakkuk is perplexed to say the least. But then God reveals something to Habakkuk.

Hab.1: 5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

God says that He is doing a work among Judah’s people. In fact, it is a wondrous work that is so marvelous that Habakkuk will not even believe it. What work of glory will God do that is so wonderful that even Habakkuk cannot even believe it? Will God send chariots of fire to destroy the enemy? Will he smite the Babylonians with angels of war? Will he melt their chariots with the heat of His breath? How will God come and deliver His rebellious people? Let’s see:

Hab.1: 6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their's.
7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
9 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.

What?? Do you understand what God is saying? God says that He Himself is raising up the Babylonians, and God is behind their terror. How can this be? God is using the enemy to chasten His own people! That is the marvelous work God is doing? Yes, God can even use the enemy to rebuke His people and bring them into repentance. This is a work that confounds the wise and brings low kings. The Divine Sovereign does what pleases Him, and He answers to no man. His ways have never been our ways.

So often we have defined God and His ways within our own self serving perspectives. And even today, the rebellious church prays to God to deliver us from our enemies, and yet God is raising up enemies to chasten His people. But since we are hard of hearing and blind, and since we are consumed with our own lusts and interests, we call out to God who will not hear. His ears can hear, but our sins have separated us from our Father God. It is for our own good, but it is painful nonetheless. The modern Babylonians have overrun the house of God. They have set up their own idols, they have brought in damnable heresies, they have bought our hearts with gold and silver, and they have set up false teachers and hirelings.

And instead of recognizing our sin, we continue to treat God like our spiritual Santa Claus. And we set up all kinds of self serving straw men that serve as “persecution” but are in reality the natural flow of a democracy as well as part of being a practicing member of this fallen system. People who support immorality are our persecutors? People who are liberal feed us to the lions? People who are gay lay stripes upon our backs? But since we have built our forts with moral issues, that is where our opposition positions themselves. But we are never persecuted for Jesus sake, and in fact we now join hands with those who deny Christ. And we convince ourselves that God winks at it because it is under the guise of nationalism and politics, as if God is double minded.

So the Babylonians of today ransack us not with chariots and spears, and not with guns and bullets. They have quietly walked into our meeting places, captured our hearts with the gods of this world, and have relentlessly changed the faith into a religious structure filled with compromise idolatry, and all kinds of self serving desires. And persecution is now high taxes, or legalized immorality, or even friendship with unapproved nations, and we cry out to God for a return to 1776. But again, God is not interested in outwardly fixing what is wrong in this world. He is interested in seeing His people repent and thereby providing empty vessels fit for the Master’s use.

But allow me to return to me original premise. The western church is so diluted and so compromised, and it has so deeply embraced self, that I sincerely believe there is now no remedy. The time for repentance has passed, and the question comes forth, “Will Jesus find faith upon the earth when He returns?” The church is joined to its idols, and the path to return to Christ has long since been overrun by thorns and weeds. And as it was in the days of Hubakkuk, so it is today. And that is more tragic than we can realize.

Is.5: Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

Approximately one hundred years before Habakkuk the Prophet Isaiah spoke these words to the Southern Kingdom known as Judah. They were beginning to backslide even then, and God uses the word picture of a vineyard. God had cleared the land and planted His vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He placed a fence of protection around it and removed the stones from the dirt. God say He had done everything necessary to bring forth good grapes, but instead the vineyard brought forth wild grapes. They were not edible and were a disappointment considering all the work and care God gave to His vineyard.

The application is obvious. And in verse three God asks Judah to place the blame. Is it God’s fault for the wild harvest? Didn’t He do everything so He could expect good grapes? The rhetorical question reveals the obvious answer. God did His part. God was faithful to Judah and yet they were not bringing forth the fruit that would reflect God’s glory. They were bringing forth fruit that was not different from the wild vineyards around them. They were living like the surrounding heathen.

God has given the church His Spirit, and He has given us His Word. Every spiritual gift is ours, and not least of all He has granted us eternal life. What more could he do? But the church in the west has spied out the heathen and envied their lives. Slowly but surely materialism crept into the church until it was fully practiced and embraced. The Word became a tool for earthly deigns, and now men and women can stand before congregations with an open Bible and teach the opposite of what it says and have thousands believe them. The vineyard that God gave His life for and so carefully planted is producing wild grapes. Hatred and political divisions and nationalism fill the gatherings. Forgiveness and redemption are doctrines that have withered on the vine. And Jesus Himself has become a facilitator for the lusts of men rather than the Sovereign Lord over us all.

And like Samson, the church remains ignorant to the fact that we have lost our power. We have traded the sacred power of the Spirit for national, political, and economic power. Listen to the voices that demand money and jobs to be provided by the government. Listen as they eviscerate the candidate on the opposing side. Listen as the church tells fairy tales of national origin and watch as they become deeply and emotionally invested in an earthly kingdom. And it is all so sad. It did not have to end like this, but it has. And because the compromise and even apostasy is so deep, there is no remedy except the judgment of God. And let us not set up America as the target of God’s judgment while ignoring the stern correction that is now upon the western church. God’s correction must be recognized and even embraced by those of us who claim His name. But until we seek His face with brokenness and piercing repentance there is no remedy.

Our Heavenly Father, how we have taken Your sacred redemption and used it for our own purposes. Your Word no longer is a guide to our paths, but it is now nothing more than religious print. We have turned the worship that belongs to You and made it a source for our own entertainment. We have lifted up men and women and made then idols. We have loved this secular nation and spread lies about how You favor it. We have walked further and further away from prayer, and fasting is only now for losing weight. You have done so much for us and yet we follow after the temporal and desecrate the eternal.

We need to be broken wide open so that You can fill us once again and open our blinded eyes and our deaf ears. Help us, Jesus, for we have no strength to help ourselves to find You once again. There is no remedy…but You.


JMD said...

I can't tell you how many times I have heard Christians say they can't believe God has not destroyed (fill in the blank). How merciful he has been to me and to us and continues to be. I thank God for more time to begin to have my eyes open to the ways I have participated in the lusts and greed of Babylon.

Fish Foam said...

I keep seeing things in this same light, then keep telling myself I'm the one with the problem and it's not really that bad. I have written pages and pages of stuff I have not had the courage to share with anyone. It just seemed to extreme. But then I try to walk into churches and just want to cry and scream about what is going on, and not happening that I long to see happening. So I stopped walking into them. I love the people so much but I can't endure what they call Christianity. I also feel that there is not body I can participate in and be truly free to say the things laid on my heart to say. The other night I had a dream that I was in the most amazing "church" - fellowship. The Holy Spirit was really there and the love and power both present were like heaven. It is a dream.

Anonymous said...

Fish Foam,

You are not alone. And in the institutional church, there is no body as you desire.

However, in His time our Father will raise you, as a mature son, and give you people He has prepared to hear the Truth as He has shown you.

Patience and know this same Holy Spirit has knitted you together with other members of the Body fora time such as this.

Kim said...

I agree, JMD, I am so thankful that my Lord does not wish that ANY should perish and therefore has given ME additional time to clean up my life and get on the right path. I, too, would love to be a part of a church where the presence of God would be undeniable! Where, oh where, can I find that here?