MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED
Hosea 4:6 seems to be a favorite text for many who enjoy &/or make a business of exposing the deep, hidden things of Satan (or things generally unknown). By justifying their "discovery" and revelation of conspiracies with this text, many raise vast sums of money to help bring the knowledge of the "hidden things of dishonesty" into the light of day.
Some people, even pastors, say that the Lord's people are destroyed because they do not know enough about the depths of the enemy's conspiracy. Though v. 6 may permit this thought on a limited scale, is its primary teaching, "My people are destroyed because they do not know enough about what is going on around them"? Is this verse a legitimate command to study the deep, hidden, conspiratorial things of evil in society?
If so, we are confronted with a conflict in the word of God: Hosea 4:6 & Matthew 28:19, 20. Whereas, Hosea appears to teach that the answer to man's ills is knowing about wicked men's secret conspiracies, the Lord, in Mat 28:19, 20, teaches that the answer to man's ills is going and teaching all nations the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded.
To hear some people use Hosea 4:6, evidently they have cut our Lord's words in Matthew from their Bibles, and are basing salvation (as do the secular humanists) in knowledge about evil (besides, it raises money).
Rightly divide the Word
It seems that there are those who suppose that rightly dividing the word of truth consists of knowing which verses to pull out of what places in the total of God's word to support favorite doctrines. This practice developed as "Bible Readings" at the turn of the century, but the word of God cannot be divided up into small portions of here a little, there a little without destroying both the "divider" and his follower. [EN1] (Note Rev 22:19 [Det 4:2; 12:32; Pro 30:6], And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy... Those who remove passages from their context take away from the words of this book.)
A Little here - A Little There
Here a little..., Isa 28:9-13. The ones Isaiah spoke to were babes; therefore, they had to be treated and taught as babes with a little doctrine at a time. But even small portions of doctrine were to them as a foreign tongue (Geneva Bible margin). Isaiah gives the reason that the people were unable to connect the whole of Scripture: that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken, v. 13. The implication is that the division of Scriptures into here a little, there a little (no continuity of texts, permitting about anything to be taught) is for a Divine purpose: the destruction of the sin-hardened people of God. One cannot take small portions of Scriptures, mix them all together and arrive at a proper conclusion; therefore, the context of my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge must be developed and maintained.
Obviously, Hosea spoke to the children of Israel, those called by His name, still inhabiting the land of Palestine (Hosea 1:1-2. In Micah, the people the Lord has a controversy with are identified simply as his people, 6:3, 3). What happened to this small group of people called by His name is preserved to show us how God works in the lives of individuals and nations. The application and substance of God's message through the prophets (Hosea &c.) are for all His people of all time, 1 Cor 10:11 (cf. Jn 14:15; 15:10; 1 Jn 2:3).
Who's at fault
The children of Israel, those identified as the people of the Lord, had departed from Godliness and stubbornly refused to forsake the pleasures of sin, 4:1-2. The prophet Hosea, speaking for the Lord to His sinful people, explains why and how the Lord is going to deal with those who departed from Godliness. He calls for repentance (6:1-3. Cf. 2 Tim 2:19), and promises the renewal of the covenant, ch 14 (note Whose work the renewal is, 14:4).
In order to properly understand v. 6, of course we must develop its context:
The great controversy
V. 1, for the Lord hath a controversy..., Hosea 4:1. [Feud, dispute-lawsuit, litigation, conflicts outside of the courtroom use this term also.] God uses two illustrations to describe His dispute with His people: Husband/wife & Landlord/tenant.
First, the Husband/wife relationship: the Lord compares Israel's unfaithfulness in the covenant between Him and their fathers to an adulterous wife. God's people (Jehovah's wife) even paid her lovers to come to her, 8:9, &c. Jehovah God establishes His right to "divorce" His wife and turn her over to the mercy of her pagan lovers.
Second, the Landlord/tenant relationship: under OT law, the covenant people did not own the land; they leased it from its Owner. Therefore, the land, unless it was within walled cities, could not be sold. The different tithes also established (& still does) the Lord's ownership over all the earth and the fullness thereof; therefore, He gives it to whomsoever He will. And thus God's laws concerning the land continually reminded them that they were only strangers and pilgrims upon it, Heb. 11. The conditions for their continued possession of the land was written into their "lease agreement," cf. Deut chs 28-32. Also within the agreement was what would happen for its violation.
Throughout the prophets, the Lord told the land's inhabitants that He had a legal claim against them, 2 Chron 36:15. They were in open, deliberate and hardened violation of the agreement, and thus the Lord had the legal right to remove them from His land. He "threatened them with court action" to have them evicted by a stronger nation if they did not return to the covenant-agreement (Hosea 9:15-17), and pleaded with them to return to their agreement. Furthermore, the people's refusal to heed the word of the Lord caused the Lord to say, thou hast destroyed thyself, Hosea 13:9. (For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind... 8:7.) Moreover, we are told that the Lord Himself is the One Who sent the enemies against His people; He sent them to destroy His people because they violated the covenant, 2 Kgs 15:37; 2 Chron 36:17, &c. Thus God's people had plenty of knowledge; the problem was that they refused to act on that knowledge. And, as they refused to act upon the knowledge they had, the knowledge was removed from them: the knowledge of the Lord and His law was lost in the House of the Lord, 2 Kgs 22; 2 Chron 34:14. ("But, Bro. Need, that is OT." So is My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Paul very ably describes those who separate passages from their context in order to make the passage teach a pet doctrine as dishonest, crafty deceivers, 2 Cor 4:2.)
Legitimate court case
Mat 5:25-26, advises to settle conflicts quickly and out of court because in court, the judge may force the guilty party to pay everything; therefore, the tenant should make peace with the landlord. Make an agreement with him before the tenant ends up in court. In fact, kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little, Ps. 2:12.
As one reads through Hosea, he sees the details of why the Lord cast His people from the land: no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land, 4:1.
"Truth: ...no truthfulness, either in speech or action, no one trusting another any more. Love: ...is not human love generally, but love to inferiors, and to those who need help or compassionate love... They both have their roots in the knowledge of God, of which they are the fruit... "Truth cannot be sustained without mercy; and mercy without truth makes men negligent; so that the one ought to be mingled with the other" (Jerome)... Such knowledge not only produces fear of God, but also love and truthfulness toward the brethren (cf. Eph iv. 32, Col iii. 12). Where this is wanting, injustice gains the upper hand." (1)
nor knowledge of God in the land, v. 1, cf. 6:7, But they like men have transgressed the covenant... (Like sinful Adam. See 1 Jn. 2:3-4.) Knowledge about God and His word does not mean one knows God. It is said that Karl Marx could quote the NT.
Because v. 2 goes on to properly define knowledge, we will develop its meaning as used in both v. 1 and v. 6. According to DBD:
1847 2. esp. in WisdLt = discernment, understanding, wisdom:.. b. in the highest sense, knowledge of God (incl. obedience) Ho 4:1, 6. (2)
Particularly distinctive is the prophetic concept of "knowledge of God" which is particularly prominent in Hosea (4:1, 6, 6:6; cf. Prov 2:5). Knowledge of God is derived from those outstanding historical events in which God has evidenced and has revealed himself to chosen individuals such as Abraham and Moses. These revelations are to be taught to others. "Knowledge of God" appears in parallel with "fear of the Lord" (Isa 11:2; cf. 58:2; Jer 22:16) as a description of true religion. The man who has a right relation with God confesses him and obeys him. To do justice and righteousness and to judge the cause of the poor and needy is to know God (Jer 22:15-16). On the other hand where there is no knowledge of God there is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, committing adultery and breaking all bonds (Hos 4:1-2). Such will bring destruction upon a people (Hos 4:6; cf. Isa 5:13). Knowledge of God is more pleasing to him than sacrifice (Hos 6:6) The prophetic view of the messianic age is of a time in which the knowledge of God covers the earth as water covers the sea (Hab 2:14; cf. Isa 11:9). [Emp added. Note that knowledge of God is equated with righteousness, or right living, Isa 45:8, &c. Ed.] (3)
Observe: Samuel, when confronting King Saul, summed up the Biblical definition of knowledge as used in Hosea 4: Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to harken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee..., 1 Sam 15:22, 23 (Hos 6:9).
Thus knowledge is knowing the Lord, knowing His law-word and doing His will [righteousness] as revealed in that word. A lack of knowledge is identified in Hosea as: 1) swearing, 2) lying, 3) killing, 4) stealing, 5) adultery, 6) whoredoms, 7) pride, 8) unlawful sacrifice (to the gods of the pagans, 4:12,), 9) unlawful training of children, 4:13, 10) intermarriage with pagans (unbelievers), 5:7, 10) permitting ungodly civil rulers, 8:4, 11) seeking guidance from sources other than the inspired word of God, 4:12, &c. [EN 2, 3.]
Furthermore, the Lord, through the prophet Hosea, identifies sin as whoredom, eg., a wife's (Israel) unfaithfulness to her husband (Jehovah God). Sin is basically God's people's refusal to recognize His sovereign authority over them, Rom 1:21.
God's warning is always over the same issue. That issue is not really immorality as such; rather, it is over His people ignoring His authority to tell them how to act and how to do His work; it is over God's people ignoring His law, Hosea 4:6; Mal 4:4; Jer 9:14; Isa 50:1, &c. The controversy is compounded because the spiritual leaders, much to the delight of God's people, say it is okay to ignore His law (my people love to have it so, Jer 5:31; Mal 2:1, 7; Isa 30:9-10). The leaders say, peace, peace when there is no peace ("We are in the midst of a revival!"), Jer 6:14. Can one blame the Lord for His hot wrath against the shepherds, Zech. 10:3?
Therefore, Knowledge (Hos 4:1, 6) cannot be separated from Godly action according to the law of thy God, v. 6.
One of the results of Israel's rejection of knowledge (and thus hardness in sin) was that the Lord would give them "spiritual leaders" after their own sinful hearts, 4:9. God's people rejected His covenant-law in their hearts, so He sent teachers justifying their rejection. These "leaders" would speak smooth things and deceits to comfort His people in their rejection of knowledge (cf. Isa 30:9ff), so the Lord could reward them for their doings. (But the Lord made it very clear, they destroyed themselves, Hosea 13:9.)
V. 3, all the land and its inhabitants pay the price for God's people's refusal to glorify Him as God.
These words affirm not only that the inanimate creation suffers in insouciance of the sins and crimes of men, but that the moral depravity of men causes the physical destruction of all other creatures. As God has given to man the dominion over all beasts, and over all the earth, that he may use it for the glory of God; so does He punish the wickedness of men by pestilences, or by the devastation of the earth. (4)
Thus all creation, creatures included, suffers when God judges man's sin; He judges in the form of unseasonable rain, storms, droughts, earthquakes, &c. His judgment affects all of creation, not just guilty man.
V.4, Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another... V. 3 speaks of judgment against God's sinful people; v.4 says that in the midst of judgment, one can neither blame God nor others. Rather, each must look to his own sin (they destroyed themselves). How like fallen nature to view surrounding judgment against sin with the assurance that the judgment is the fault of others. The individual needs to check his own relationship according to God's Word. (We regularly hear of people who are willing to fight and even die to see civil government return to God, but they themselves are unwilling to do what they demand of those in civil authority. Such hypocrisy has not escaped God's notice.)
strive with the priest. "... the nation resembled those who are described in the law as rebels against the priest." (Keil.) The priests passed judgment upon sin according to the law, but the people rebelled against righteous judgment, Deut 17:12, 13. If striving against a priest is presumption worthy of death, how much more is presumptuous striving against God worthy of death, He 10:29? The people to whom Hosea was sent strove against their Maker with no more concern than if they were striving against a man of God or another person (cf. Isa 45:9).
V. 5, false prophets, men who profited by purporting to prophecy for God (eg. 1 Kg 22:24, 25), were numerous in Israel ("Prophets for Profit"). Led by these Profiting Prophets, the people departed from the law of the Lord. The Lord promises that both the prophets and followers will fall. And thus "...the destruction of the whole nation and kingdom is announced." Keil.
V.6, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge... (...nor knowledge of God, v. 1). The people of God, encouraged by their Profiting Prophets, refused to obey the law-word of God.
The speaker is Jehovah; my nation, that is to say, the nation of Jehovah. This nation perished for lack of the knowledge of God and His salvation... This knowledge Israel might have drawn from the law, in which God had revealed His counsel and will (Deut xxx. 15), but it would not. It rejected the knowledge and forgot the law of its God, and would be rejected and forgotten by God in consequence... (5)
God's people's lack of knowledge was exhibited by the sins previously mentioned. Their lack of knowledge: first, lacked Godliness according to the law-word of God, 8:1, 12, &c., and, second, mixed Godliness with worldliness, 8:5, &c.
Furthermore, My people are destroyed... will not stand alone because it is followed with the reason for destruction: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee... God wrote great things of His law to His people, but they counted it as a strange thing, 8:12. His people knew/know what was/is required of them, but they refused/refuse to act on that knowledge. God's controversy is over His people's constant refusal to do what His word says (& what they know to do); it is over their refusal to recognize and submit to His authority over their every thought and action.
The Lord continues by explaining the results of their rejection: thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Forget - neglect - neglect to look into His law-word to find out what pleases Him in order to do it. Forgotten implies such absorption in the things of this world that one neglects His laws. If we neglect what is dear and important to Him, He will neglect what is dear and important to us, our children. (Ps 138:2. Cf.Mat 6:33.) EN4
Obedience replaced by Sacrifice
Note Hosea 6:6 (I Sam 5:22; Isa 1:11; Jer 7:22, 23): His people ignored His Word, refused to obey Him, and then they substituted sacrifice in a vain attempt to appease Him. The Lord warned them of the results of disobedience through His prophets, but rather than turn back in obedience, they simply made sacrifices to Him in a foolish hope of appeasing His wrath and avoiding the results of their sin. Saul substituted a huge sacrifice for obedience, I Sam. 15. How many people attempt to cover their self-willed ways with giving or good works?
(Hosea 6:6 is not separating mercy from sacrifice. Mercy speaks of our relationship to others; therefore, one cannot obey God without showing mercy toward others. On the other hand, one can show mercy toward others without a proper relationship toward God. One of the main complaints the Lord has in Hosea is His people's failure to show proper mercy to the needy. Faith cannot be separated from godly action, James 2.)
As we note the following, keep in mind that Hosea is addressed to God's people.
1) V. 6 is not speaking of a lack of knowledge about:
First, the secret, conspiratorial plans of the wicked. There are many ministries today apparently built around uncovering secret conspiracies of the wicked who desire and work for a one-world government. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge is often misused to justify "uncovering" secret conspiracies and to influence people to give of their time and money and unite to help "uncover" hidden conspiracies. Using this verse in such a manner is totally contrary to the word of God, De 29:29; Eph 5:12.
Certainly, there is a conspiracy behind every evil taking place. It started in the Garden of Eden as a conspiracy against the authority of the word of God ("You don't need His law to tell you how to act and think. You can determine that for yourself!"), enlarged soon after the flood to include a desire for a one-world government, and is easily traced to the present time. What we see today in conspiracies is not new, nor should it surprise us.
Conspiracies of wicked men not the problem
The root cause of conspiracy is found in those called by the name of the Lord. The conspiracy is against God and His law, Jer 11:9. The conspiracy is centered in the church, and the conspirators are led by supposed men of God who turn God's people away from His law-word (primarily by ignoring the context of passages they teach). We will add that the conspirators against God's law conspire in the name of "We are NT Christians," in spite of Paul's clear admonition in Rom 13:8-14 (the true conspiracy says, as it did in the Garden, "You are no longer accountable to the entire word of God."), Ez 22:25. Thus the salt has lost his savour, and the light is under a bushel.
But the real conspiracy is against going into all the world, teaching the gospel to every person, baptizing the converts and teaching them all that the Word of God commands. Although this is the conspiracy that must be dealt with, we hear very little about it.
Therefore, knowledge about the world's conspiracies will do nothing to stop them. The only thing that will stop the conspiracy is Godly knowledge, ie., Godliness according to the total of God's word by God's people (cf. Ja 3:4, &c.).
Second, the word of God. There are many verses which command thorough, in-depth study of Scripture (eg., 2 Tim 2:15). But teaching and learning, thus knowledge, about God's word concerning every area of life is only half the answer. Biblical knowledge that pleases God must include action according to that knowledge.
The ungodly say that "knowledge is power," when, actually, it is godly action according to godly knowledge that contains God's power. Knowing and not doing the truth is hated by God and only adds to the judgment of God, Ja 4:17.
2) belief that knowledge will prevent destruction is anti-Christ.
First, knowledge alone about God will not prevent destruction; rather, it leads to deception, more sin and harsher judgment, James 1:22.
Second, knowledge about the secret things of satan (conspiracies) in the world will not prevent destruction. As previously mentioned, those conspiracies are not the problem; the problem is in the church.
Third, knowledge about sin will not prevent destruction.
The ungodly say that the lack of knowledge about sex leads to pregnancy, the lack of knowledge about sodomy leads to AIDS, the lack of knowledge about drugs leads to more drugs, &c. The fallacy of the foolishness of the lack of knowledge is readily apparent as pregnancy, sodomy and drug use increase as knowledge in these areas increase. The "in thing" now among young people is "bi-sexual" experiments with sodomy.
3) when my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge is used apart from its context (knowledge is defined as godliness according to the total of God's word), we fall into the same "education is the answer" trap which has the ungodly ensnared.
Hosea shows us that God's wrath came against His people, not because they didn't have knowledge (ie., know what to do; they had an abundance of prophets from God), but because they did not put action to their knowledge.
We must honestly say that our major problem is not that we do not know enough about the word of God or about what "conspiracy" is currently taking place around us. Our problem is that we do not take godly action according to what we know from God's word. If all people would act upon what they know is right, society would be transformed. (Note that godly action upon godly knowledge results in more knowledge, He 5:13, 14.)
4) the enemy well understands how anxious fallen nature is to separate knowledge from godly action, so he works to increase the separation through his false Profiting Prophets. The people gladly receive the smooth, deceitful words they love to hear: words that require no confession of sin, personal responsibility, self-sacrifice, dedication and/or work.
5) sacrifice without obedience is unacceptable to the Lord. Far too many people feel that their "spirituality" is measured by how many notes they have in their note books or Bibles, or how many "Bible facts" they can recall. Biblical knowledge is measured by how much of His Word we have in our lives. There is no knowledge of God apart from obedience, and thus, My people are destroyed for lack of obedience to my word, Ps 37:3; Rom 6:16; Heb 3:7-14; 10:26-33.
Today, Bible studies abound. It is popular to "take a scenic tour through the Bible," but very few want to be bound by consistency to its strict laws, statutes and precepts; very few want to know their responsibility to God. The appealing message for the masses is "this is what God owes you." This message not only draws people and money, but it draws God's vengeance, judgment and anger against the society that condones the message, Heb 8:10-13; 10:15-20.
It is important to note that the child of God will not be judged according to how much he knows, but according to how he applies what he knows. Knowledge about a subject will do nothing toward avoiding the consequences of not doing. EN5
6) what will stop the destruction of society? Knowledge and godliness in every area of life and thought. If just the Christians would be consistent in their stand (eg. remove their children from pagan, anti-Christian schools &c), paganism would fall. Modern Christianity is quite similar to our government's action toward Communism. Communism would have collapsed many years ago if the "West" would refuse its continual finance. Paganism would have collapsed many years ago if Christians would not support pagan programs.
God has a controversy with His people because they refuse to acknowledge His total and complete authority and law. His people need to settle the controversy quickly or it will be too late.
Yes, there is a conspiracy that is killing Christianity; it must be examined, revealed, dealt with and moved upon. It is the conspiracy against the Lord's words of Matthew 28:19, 28. Only when this conspiracy is conquered by God's grace will the conspiracies of wicked men in high places be nullified.
Hosea does not leave Christians in a hopeless situation. He points us to the wonderful grace of God: I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely..., 14:4. God, in His good time, promised to move and settle the controversy in the hearts of His people and in His favour. What a wonderful day that will be.
EN1 The "Bible Reading" method of study of God's word was a new method of study which took a theme and searched for Scriptures to support or teach that theme. "Bible Reading" can be extremely disastrous to Christianity because it permits one to ignore the context of the verses used to support the preconceived idea or thought being pursued. Thus through the "Bible Reading" method of study, the Word of God can be made of none effect and used to support any theory that the teacher wishes to promote.
"Bible Reading," though, did not develop and spread unopposed. As it developed in the late 1800s, Francis L. Patton, of Princeton Seminary, said:
... I particularly object to their [the "Bible reading" school of thought of which Mr. Moody was a leader, Ed.] arbitrary and unhistorical system of interpretation. . . But few, I fear, know the English Bible as they do. I advise you to learn their secret in this regard, but do not adopt their shibboleths; and I warn you against supposing that you have given an adequate substitute for a sermon when, with the help of Cruden's Concordance, you have chased a word through the Bible, making a comment or two on the passages as you go along. (6)
[Moody] was greatly influenced in his style of preaching by the English Plymouth Brethren evangelist Harry Moorhouse, who astounded Moody by preaching for a whole week from the same text. One of Moody's biographers described the addresses, all based upon John 3:16, as "not a sermon so much as a string of related texts of passages briefly commented upon to form what came to be known, rather oddly, as a 'Bible Reading.'" About that series of sermons Fleming Revell, Moody's brother-in-law, wrote, "D.L. Moody has great power before, but nothing like what he had after dear Harry Moorhouse came into our lives and changed the character of the teaching and preaching of the chapel." That the Bible reading was popularized if not invented by the Plymouth Brethren seems quite clear. Darby, as noted previously, preferred private reading meetings to preaching and carried out his most successful work through this form of teaching, very frequently in homes rather than in churches. Every Brethren teacher and evangelist used this method; its popularity is both contemporaneous with Brethren expansion to North America and coexistent with those millenarians which the Brethren were known to have influenced. Furthermore, as in Moody's case, the American ministers' adoption of the Bible reading can often be directly traced to an encounter with a Brethren preacher. (7)
"Bible Reading" greatly corrupted the term, Rightly dividing the word of truth (it is ludicrous to think that Paul intended [2 Tim 2:15] to equip Timothy so Timothy could support any doctrine he desired to teach. "A text without a context is a pretext," and "Bible Reading" encourages "a pretext"):
The role of the interpreter, according to the same Baconian assumptions, was not to impose hypotheses or theories, but to reach conclusions on the basis of careful classification and generalization alone. [Emp added.] The disposition to divide and classify everything is one of the most striking and characteristic traits of dispensationalism. C.I. Scofield, the great systematizer of the movement, epitomized this tendency. In "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth," an authoritative summary of his views, Scofield interpreted the phrase of his title from the King James Bible to mean that "The Word of Truth, then, has right divisions . . . so any study of that Word which ignores those divisions must be in large measure profitless and confusing." [Revell paper edition, Westwood, N.J., n.d. 1896, p. 3.] The work sketched out a series of distinctions: "The Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God," "The seven Dispensations," "The Two Advents," "The Two Resurrections," and "Law and Grace." Regarding the last distinction to take an example that became a source of conflict with other Calvinists who insisted on the primacy of grace in all ages, Scofield said characteristically, "It is ... of vital moment to observe that Scripture never, in any dispensation, mingles these small variations in Biblical language. So, for instance, Scofield placed great weight on the distinction between "the kingdom of God" and "the kingdom of heaven" and on the differences among in, with, and upon as used with reference to the Holy Ghost.
Dispensationalist leaders regarded these methods of dividing and classifying as the only scientific ones. Scofield, for example, contrasted his work to previous "unscientific systems." Similarly, Reuben Torrey regarded ideas basically as things to be sorted out and arranged. One of his major works, What the Bible Teaches (1898), is an incredibly dry five-hundred-page compilation of thousands of Biblical "propositions" supported by proof text. The closest analogy would be to an encyclopedia or dictionary. Torrey explicitly defended this utter lack of style or elegance. "Beauty and impressiveness," he said in the preface, "must always yield to precision and clearness." As usual, his model was the scientist. Torrey depicted his work as "simply an attempt at a careful unbiased, systematic, thorough-going, inductive study and statement of Bible truth. . . . The methods of modern science are applied to Bible study - thorough analysis followed by careful synthesis." (8)
Thus "Scientific Bible study" - "Bible Reading" is a matter of finding proper verses to prove particular theories as a scientist in a laboratory.
[OT] Moloch worship was thus a political religion... Moloch worship was thus state worship. The state was the true ultimate order, and religion was a department of state. The state claimed total jurisdiction over man; it was therefore entitled to total sacrifice... The Moloch state is the product of apostasy. When a people reject God as their King, and make a man or state their king (I Sam 8:7-9), God declares the consequences... The Molech state simply represents the supreme effort of man to command the future, to predestine the world, and to be as God... Molech worship seeks a no-theistic, a non-Biblical way to holiness... To surrender children to the state is to turn them over to the enemy. For the surrendered children, as the new Janizaries of the new Turks, to turn on the society which begat them and to destroy it is a judgment on the Moloch worship of their elders. To have other gods and other laws, other schools, and other hopes than the one true God is to invoke the whole weight of the law in judgment. [Emp added.] (9)
Thus, when "Christian" parents send their children to statists schools, they are sacrificing their children to Moloch, the state. The Turk Janizaries were children of Christian mothers and Turkish fathers. "Their mothers were often Christian captives who communicated a superior culture, but not faith, to their sons." (10) And this is all too often precisely what happens to Christian children in a statist school.
The judgment of God upon a "Christian" society for sacrificing their children to the state is the children turning against the Christian foundation of their parents. How can one claim to love Christ while sending children given to them by Christ to be trained in anti-Christ doctrine? In Moloch worship, the people of God openly commit adultery and whoredoms. Not only the prophet Hosea, but all the OT prophets soundly condemned spiritual whoredoms and adultery. Hosea reprimands and threatens the people for mixing Godliness and paganism, thus whoredom, chapter 8. Modern whoredom can be practiced by mixing paganism and Christianity in the eduction of Christian children, Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen..., Jer 10:2. Note that God's sinful people hired lovers, eg. they hired people to teach anti-God doctrine to their children, 8:9.
Obviously, one of the reasons God's people are destroyed is because they practice adultery against their legitimate Husband, Jehovah God; they have sacrificed and are sacrificing their children to Molech, statist education (parents proclaim how much they are against the ungodly state, yet let the state train their children!).
Furthermore, from what I gather (& have personally experienced over the years) concerning "Christian Education," much of what is going under its name is just as statist as the state schools. Unreserved submission to the state is statism, no matter who teaches such service.
Hosea 5:7: The Christian's love affair with the state (Moloch worship, whoredoms) has produced strange children, children who do not know if they are Christian or pagans. They profess Christ with their mouth, but think and act like pagans. From my experience with our "Christian School" here at Linden when I first came (which we no longer have), I must say that a "Christian School" does not solve the problem (which is one reason we no longer have it. The parents expected the school to solve problems they were unwilling to deal with). The problem is in the home. The parent's love affair with the world is passed on to the children regardless of where the children are educated (even home-educated).
As the separation of the ten tribes from the house of David was in its deepest ground apostasy from Jehovah, the prophets only recognized the legitimate rulers of the kingdom of Judah as true kings of the people of God, whose throne had the promise of permanent endurance, even though they continued to render civil obedience to the kings of the kingdom of Israel... (11)
Note that one reason the Lord gave them ungodly kings was His judgment for their hardness against His law-word, Hosea 13:11.
But here [Mat 6:33] He makes a plain and positive declaration, assuring us that if we be truly concerned about God's interests He will take care of ours, that if the Divine glory be our principal aim we shall not be the losers temporally. (12)
Why then are any of God's children reduced to destitution? Sometimes to correct them for their sins; sometimes to exercise their faith in the trial of patience. All promises of temporal blessings must always be understood with this qualification: so far as God sees that such bestowments will be for His glory and our highest good.
But let it not be forgotten that the above guarantee is given only to those who meet its stipulation. Which are we seeking first: earthly or heavenly things, the things of self or of God, making good in this world or making sure of an entrance in to heaven? "It is startling to see the tide of worldliness rising fast among Christians almost everywhere, with a corresponding ebb in the desire for spiritual prosperity: on all hands there are abounding symptoms of spiritual decay, which it is to be feared will be followed by increasing ambition for fleshly advantage. Our Master's question may well ring in our ears and consciences today: 'What do ye more than others?' Not what know ye more than others? We may pride ourselves on knowing the things of God, which the poor worldling cannot possibly perceive, but if we spend all our energies, crowd our minds, engage our affections, and tax our wits for present worldly advantage, do not the men of this world the same? If we content ourselves with just the Lord's Day observances and meetings, do not religious worldlings the same? If we do not bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in a godly walk, in a faithful testimony, and devoted service, what do we more than others? The most convincing book to the worldling is our manner of living, but if, withal, we are as hard in our dealing, as keen for selfish gains, as inconsiderate for others' rights in our bargains, as shrewd and tricky in running our business as the most wide-awake worldling, he will not believe the book, for its author is a living contradiction" [Emp added.] (13)
It seems that there are a great many people who pride themselves in how much they know about things "hidden" from others. The Lord compliments what things we do more according to His word.
(1) Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol 10, p 74.
(2) The New Brown-Driver-Brigs Hebrew-Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc, Lafayette, Indiana, p 395.
(3) Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Moody Press, p 367.
(4) Keil, p 75.
(5) Ibid, p 77.
(6) The Roots of Fundamentalism, Ernest R. Sandeen, 1978, Baker Book House, p 137.
(7) Ibid, 138.
(8) Fundamentalism and American Culture - The shaping of twentieth century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925, George M. Marsden, Oxford Press, 1980, pp 59, 60.)
(9) R.J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, pp 30-40.
(10) R.J.R., World History Notes, Thornburn Press, Fairfax Christian Bookstore, Fairfax, Va. 22030, p 120.
(11) Keil, vol 10, p 12.
(12) A.W. Pink, Sermon on the Mount, Baker Book House, 1962, p 257.
(13) E. Venn, 1901, as quoted by Pink, ibid, p 258.)
There are some tremendous anti-government movements going around today. As Christians where should we stand in these movements? Are these movements to call civil government to God headed for success or are they doomed to failure? Will we see relief from opressive government intervention and action if we can get civil government to turn back to God's Word?
I believe there are many places where we have the principle illustrated for us which should give some insight into this area. One of these places would be our Lord's exchange with the religious leaders in John 2. Notice in v. 16 what Christ is doing.
He never undermines the power of Caesar. What he is doing is breaking the hold of the tradition which violates the principles of God's Word, which the religious leaders taught.
I think this ties in with the OT. If I understand Scriptures properly, God gives civil rulers after the heart of the people (Jer. 5:31; Hosea 4:9; 8:4; 13:9; Obadiah 15; and many more give this principle).
What he seems to be doing here is trying to win the hearts of the people to God the Father, and away from the false teaching of the religious "big wiggs" of the day (v. 18).
They sought to kill Him over and over because what He was doing and teaching was contrary to their traditions and teachings. His actions and words were freeing people from the religious leaders power over the people.
Assyria, Babylon, and Roman captivity was only a result of their turning from God the Father, to their tradition.
His call was not to undermine or overthrow Rome, and Caesar, but it was to call God's people to turn back to God in spirit and in truth.
Watch this book. The conflict is the truth which he is (both in word and in deed) coming face to face with the religious leaders traditions which they teach for doctrine.
Here the message of Christ is not how unjust and wicked Rome is. His message is always how wrong the religious leaders were as they ignored God's Word for their traditions. His conflict was not with the Roman Legions but with the Legions of false teachers which were leading God's people astray.
The truth he gave did not undermine the governments authority over the people except in a few clear cut cases. Such as, render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's." Showing that anything which belongs to God cannot be given to Caesar.
The truth he gave conflicted with the religious tradition of the day. Again, God gives leaders after the hearts of the people. The people want to make void the law-word of God so he provides leaders who will permit this.
The main job of the church is not to preach out against the sins of the government although we should let our voice be heard against sin which will include the civil government's sin.
Here it looks like the major calling of the church is to lift up our voice and call God's people back to the spirit and truth of God's Word. Good civil
government must begin with good SELF-GOVERNMENT.
I don't think our message is to be emphasized against high taxes, it's to be against the covetousness of God's people which result in high taxes. The failure to give God what belongs to Him will result in the civil government demanding much more.
Our job is not to undermine the authority of civil government. Our job is to undermine the lies of traditions which have made the laws of God of none effect and resulted in ungodly civil government, Matt. 15:6; Mk. 7:13. Also against, the lies which say that unjust government is the problem. I Sam. 8, shows ungodly oppressive civil government is only a result of God's peoples indifference toward God and His law- word.
Christ came to lay the ax to the root of the tree. The root of "Big Brother" is God's people looking to sources other than God. Scripture is not a cry against high S.S. tax, but against children not respecting and not honoring their parents which has brought on the high ungodly tax. Our war is not against the modern welfare program but against the indifference of God's people to the laws of God which provided for the poor. Our war isn't against the high defence budget but against the people turning from God which permits the enemies to prosper (Deut. chp. 4). Our war isn't against the ungodly personal lives of our elected sevants, it is against the ungodly personal lives of God's servants.
We see in v. 16 -- They persecuted Christ because he undermined their tradition. They wanted someone to speak out against Rome and tempted Him several times to do this.
We see in Lk. 20:19, 20 that he said NOT ONE WORD which could be used against him before the civil government (Lk. 23:2, 14). They tried their best to get him to make a rash statement against the civil government, yet, He ALWAYS avoided it by bringing them back FACE to FACE with their rebellion against God's laws by their traditions.
He didn't come to call civil government to repentance but to call God's people to repentance which will result in civil government repenting. This is the genuine "grass roots" movement.
The only accusation they could come up with against Christ was that he claimed to be King. Yet even this was clarified by His statement that His Kingdom was not of this world. His desire is to rule within the hearts of men, not over them in military might as the religious leaders desired of Him in throwing off the yoke of Rome. In Jn. 18:36 observe that he did not say His Kingdom was not in this world. His Kingdom is in this world and is to be advanced not with swords but with the power of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of men.
For us in our day?
Again, our call is to stand against tradition which has been passed down from the "Fathers" and which is contrary to the spirit and the truth of God's Word.
The truth without the spirit won't work. The spirit without the truth
work. The two must work together (Jn. 4:24).
Always keeping in mind that Christ didn't come with a message against to civil government (such as against high taxes, abortions, license of wickedness, unjust laws, etc..) There always has been and always will be wickedness in high places and there was plenty in HIS day (See "Lugwig's Handbook of "NT Rulers").
His message was to God's people to turn back to Him. The religious leaders stood against that message and put Him to death for it. Now, John the Baptist spoke out strong against wickedness in high places and lost his head over it. But his main message was to God's people to repent. We also must speak out aginst wickedness in high places, but our only hope is in HIS people returning to HIS law-word. Only a godly self-governed man will give a godly civil government.
I believe we see in Jn. 2:13-19 that His (and our) job or calling was to cleanse the Temple, to call God's people back to God, and His authority to do this was His authority over death (authority to call them to Himself.)
They would not answer the call of God to Himself, choosing their tradition over Christ and the Word of God. God judged them for this and used the ungodly Rome civil government to do this judgment (5:18).
The call of Christ was for the people to honor the Son even as they honor the Father. His call was not for Rome to turn to the Son. It was for God's people to once again glorify Him as God over every area of their life, Jn. 5:19-23.
It is for God's people to start pleasing God rather than themselves and until they return to God there will be unjust oppressive Ceasars. They are the natural result of God's people forgetting God.
As we follow Jn. 5 on through, notice where just judgment comes from. The job of the judge is not to make the law as he does today. His job is only to compare the person's actions with what the law says.
The will of the judge creeping into his judgment will result in unjust judgment. Christ, the perfect God/Man, will be able to judge completely apart from any human emotion and totally according to God's Word.
The instruction from our Lord in v. 39 is to search the Scriptures--the
In v. 43, notice something which is pointed out. I realize the context is that they will refuse Christ, yet someone else they will receive. But let's look at an application here.
The natural man today will readily get involved in doing all kinds of things except one. V. 23,"that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."
The natural man will love to try to straighten out Rome, Caesar as long as it doesn't require him to honor our God as God, Rom. 1:21. The natural man enjoys, trying to get another person straight and to honor God as long as he doesn't have to. The enemy will even encourage the natural man to try to get these others to honor God because he knows that this will bring no change in the situation.
The ONLY THING which will bring any change at all is when God's people return to glorifying God as God. Anything else will bring judgment, and that judgment will be just. Therefore any patriotic movement which is not grounded in a return to God's Word as our final rule for ALL actions, thoughts, and instructions in righteousness, is doomed.
VV. 45-47, our Lord hold Moses up. He points out that He is not the only one
accusing them (religious leaders) of turning from the Father but Moses did also. In fact, Christ won't have to accuse these people who rejected Him. Moses already has written of Christ. Christ is not bearing witness to Himself (v. 32). Moses already has bore witness to Him so there is no need for him to bear witness of Himself (Deut. 18:15).
Oh my, how gullible man is. We point our finger everywhere. We blame our ills on everyone. It's the civil governments fault. It's my neighbors fault. It's Bro. Need fault, (and nine times out of ten, there may be a reason for blaming it on Bro. Need or these others).
There is an endless list of who we can blame for the ills of our day but when it all boils down, it's God peoples fault for not honoring Him as God and His principles of life as revealed his law as our final authority (v. 47). II Cron. 7:14 places the illness of our land upon His people's refusal to turn from their sin. Not on the heathens sin.
Let me call our attention to especially vv. 46, 47 -- I think this is very significant for today. Notice what our Lord said. "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But If ye believe not his writings how shall ye believe my words."
This is a powerful statement inserted here in this confrontation with the Jews. Look at what he says, "IF WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE WRITINGS OF MOSES (five books of the law) THEN WE CAN'T BELIEVE MY WORDS," the words of Christ.
This strikes a death blow to antinomianism. This indicates that when the law of Moses is laid aside as no longer in effect it is impossible to believe or understand the Words of Christ. To me this says that when we say "The law of Moses is dead, of none effect for us today" then the Words of Christ are dead also. I see no way to avoid this from this passage.
Is this one reason why the teaching of the Word's of Christ do not have life changing power today? If we believe that the law of Moses is not for Christians today, then this would also mean that the words and teachings of Christ are not for us today.
Our LORD ties the two together here in a way which cannot be avoided. In v. 39, He makes it clear that a understanding of the OT is necessary before one can understand HIM and His message.
So we see:
1. Without the OT background we cannot understand what He is teaching.
2. Without believing that the law of Moses is for us we cannot "believe" or
understand the teachings of Christ. All of His teachings were based in those laws.
a. "But I believe the law of Moses. I would stake my life on it being true and
Answer: Matt. 15:6; Mark 7:13. "Making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things ye do."
Notice Matt. 15:1-20. Our Lord is quoted much stronger over there. The scribes (experts in the law) and the Pharisees confronted Christ because His disciples were transgressing the TRADITION of the elders by not washing their hands. Christ countered here with v. 3, they were transgressing the law with their traditions, and in doing this were making God's law of none effect (v. 6).
None Effect (Strong #208) without authority, not binding, void. To render void, deprive of force and authority. Opposite of "to confirm, make valid."
V. 8 -- Our Lord goes on to say that to try to worship God apart from obedience to the law leaves their heart far from Him. In fact, makes their worship in vain.
V. 12 -- This offend the Pharisees. They did not want to hear anything which undermined their tradition.
V. 14 -- Here is another hard saying -- "Let them alone. If they do not want the law of God, if they desire to have their tradition over what the law says then leave them be."
We see that these scribes and Pharisees believed the law of Moses. The problem was that through tradition they believed the law was not for them. They believed the law was no longer binding (of none effect) upon them but rather their tradition was. The law lost its authority over them by their traditions.
This brings us back to Jn. 5:45-47. Christ is addressing the same attitude of Matt. 15. See Jn. 5:15-18. Christ violated a tradition. The law permitted the losing of an animal so it could drink. The spirit of the law permitted the losing of this bound person, yet their tradition prevented this.
These men here would have staked their lives on the law of Moses. In
they had desired to kill Christ because they felt he broke the law of Moses, v. 18.
But here Christ tells them they do not believe the law of Moses. Why?
Because if they had or did they would believe Him and His Words.
So going backwards here, turning this inside out The modern movement which says the law of Moses is not for us today has also made the Words of Christ of none effect (He gives both sides, 46 and 47).
I believe Christ here makes it very clear and plain. It is impossible to have one without the other. Christ's war was against the tradition which would void the law. It wasn't against Rome or Caesar. It was against the teaching that the law of God was no longer binding upon men, rather the tradition was.
He did say to let those alone who taught tradition over the law of God. Our job is not to straighten those out but to teach those who will listen. We must present the truth and allow God's spirit to move in their heart. God help us to accept the Scriptures as they are meant for us today.
For us today? We can gather a much larger crowd today by preaching or standing against "Caesar," Rome, civil government, than we can by standing against the tradition of the elders. Just try calling God's people back to God and see where the crowd goes.
Remember Paul as he preached Christ. He was mistaken for the Egyptian who led a rebellion against the government. You will find that the uproar was because Paul taught the Scriptures contrary to tradition (Acts 21:38; 24:14).
Of course we have this very much alive today. Anything contrary to
traditions will create an uproar.
1. We need to wage war against tradition in our lives. Searching and praying for God's will. Seeking the mind of Christ in every area.
2. I know of people so convinced that tradition is correct that they would kill the Lord Himself if He came back teaching something contrary to the notes, which the "elders" have passed down.
3. Until we can get back to accepting God's Word for what it says, there will be no conviction in the Words of Christ. The power in the Words of Christ is based in the OT law. To void one must void the other.
4. It is much easier and we can get more support by pointing a condemning finger at Caesar or Rome because then Christians can ignore their responsibility to God.
5. We must still cry out against sin, whether in the unsaved, the saved, or in civil government. Wherever sin is found it MUST be cried out against. But the only answer is for God's people to return to God and His Word as their only authority for all areas of life.
All of the wickedness we see around us has always been there (read Ludwig's Handbook). The problem is found in the hearts of God's people who refuse to honor Him as God.
DOCTRINE OF THE GOURD
(Jonah 4:6-11. See Jonah 4 for edeted version of this message that I used in Church.)
As I have contact with several pastors as they write, phone and face to face conversation, I have noticed a common theme among those who try to present the whole council of God to their people: God's people in general display an unwillingness to listen to any message which does not sooth them and make them feel better.
They love messages against the sin outside the church, yet a message against sin and irresponsibility towards God within the church will make them very uncomfortable. Such a message many times will cause them to seek a messager which will not confront them so harshly. Thus any message which will place the destruction and judgment of America anywhere except where it belongs is welcomed with open arms.
America is gone; within five years it will be nothing like we know of or have known of in the past. Yet because it is happening so slowly, the people are accepting it; because it will require sacrifice to change, few will do it.
There have been calls for the Soviet Union to write the government school curriculum. Also, the goal of the Indiana government school curriculum is to prepare our children for the one world social order as a global citizen (is the buzz word), yet, even Christians don't voice any protest.
God's people like strong hell-fire messages which will blame the destruction of America upon the abortions, whoremongers, drug pushers, sodomites, Communist in high places, false religions, cults, or even the occult. Books by the truck load are being written and bought like crazy which exposes conspiracies of all kinds. Conspiracies to overthrow God. Yet, these conspiracies have been around forever, Ps. 2. Conspiracies ARE NOT the problem. The problem is that God's people won't glorify Him as God, Joel 15:6-9; Rom. 1:21.
They like messages which separate the law of God from the grace of God. "The law was for another time, not today. We are under grace now--." This permits compromise of all kinds.
God's people like messages which will deal with their inner self. The messages which will allow them to cope with theirselves, their neighbors and with society in general.
As a whole, God's people do not want a message which places the destruction of America upon their indifference toward God's law, Hosea 4:6. We dislike tremendously to be told of our resposibility to God's law over our own desires or over the desires of society. We dislike being told that it is our indifference to God's: church, law, and people which is bringing judgment. We would much rather hear about how abortion or the IRS is bringing destruction upon American.
The cause of the destruction is sitting in Bible-believing churches. The cause is in the pulpits which claim to be God's men, not down at the Southside Bar and Grill or at the abortion clinic in Indianapolis.
It lies within the heart of God's people. The controversy lies with His people not with the heathen, Micah 6:2. It is His people that God is refusing to walk with not the world, Amos 3:3. The cause of His controversy and refusal to associate with His people is found in Amos 2:4; "because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments and their lies caused them to err,--" They love the message which does not require preparation for the future so they can just take care of the now.
This doctrine not only teaches the problem with America is big government, IRS, or the bankers, it also teaches us to ignore the problem, stick our head in the sand and it will go away. His people love the message that everything is okay and will continue to be as it was in the days of their fathers as they pursue the desires of their heart, the American dream of pleasure and prosperity, Zeph. 1:12 (besides, we will be gone before any major problem develops).
Let's call this "The Doctrine of the Gourd." People will travel hundreds of miles to learn about this gourd. They will spend untold dollars on accommodations. They will buy books by the score and bookstores thrive on this doctrine of the gourd today. They will import speakers from the farthest reaches of the earth, California, who will preach this doctrine. They will flock to the churches and give their money to those who will promote this "Doctrine of the Gourd."
I spoke against this doctrine and some well known promoters of this doctrine of our day, and some folks got upset. If I would have spoken against Robert Schuller they would have said, "amen," yet this Doctrine of the Gourd is so well dressed up and smells so much better in its new dress that when I spoke against it as presented in its new clothing, it caused problems.
Now, let's consider Jonah, 4:6-11. Here we see Jonah so angry over God destroying his gourd that he wished to die. If a man had killed the gourd, Jonah might have taken out his anger against the man.
This Doctrine of the Gourd made Jonah feel better about himself. It protected him from the hot sun. It might even have shielded him from the wind and it helped him to relax. It provided refreshment. It really doesn't cost him anything in sacrifice. It didn't cause hard feelings and it didn't create any friction over authority.
I'm afraid Christians love this Doctrine of the Gourd because it allows them to work rather than serve God. It allows them to go on about their own business while Nineveh goes to hell. It allows them to dismiss Nineveh with "they are wicked heathens, God will catch up with them one day and then it will be too bad for them. One day He will rule them with a rod of iron and I will help so why get involved now with influencing them to turn back to God."
Also, I might add, this Doctrine of the Gourd can be preached by Billy Graham behind the iron curtain. It can be preached by the missionaries on the field. It will attract politicians to it because if offends very little. It easily gains state approval because it is no threat to them. It makes people love everyone, even loves those who are trying to overthrow God.
This Doctrine of the Gourd allows the pursuit of worldly pleasures and possessions. It permits folks to go their own way and do their own thing as long as they feel better about theirselves and God. It allows Nineveh to go too hell with a clear conscience, sitting in front of a TV set watching a ball game or a dirty movie. We see this doctrine in absolute control of the church today. People want a "Bible Doctrine" which will make them feel better, which will benefit them, and this is it.
This Doctrine of the Gourd doesn't require holiness and responsibility toward God. This doctrine permits dressing like and acting like the world. It allows the flesh to control, Rom. 13:14; I Pet. 1:15- 16.
This doctrine doesn't tell about responsibility for Nineveh or to God. A responsibility of a holy and separated life which God can use to reach them, I Cor. 15:34.
People like to hear this doctrine. They like to hear about God's Gourds. They want to hear about the material blessings that is their's in Christ. They want to hear a message on how God can benefit them and help them cope, not how God can turn a situation around no matter how hopeless it seems if they will only be faithful in their responsibility to God. We enjoy a message which gives rest from the hot sun and effort. We enjoy a message which permits sitting down and enjoying the benefits of salvation while we wait for God to judge Nineveh.
We love this Doctrine of the Gourd. Many will drive for miles to hear it and will flee from a church which does not present it. People don't want to hear about their responsibility to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Human nature doesn't want to have to lay aside what it desires for what God desires.
Far too many of God's people will search high and low for these gourds, for the message (or church) where they feel comfortable. If a preacher doesn't make us feel uncomfortable about our relationship with God then something is wrong. God's word exposes sin and gives the remedy. The word of God will make us uncomfortable about our indifference to His Word and His will. It will make us uncomfortable about society around us, and calls for us to depart from iniquity, Acts 2:37; I Cor. 15:34; II Tim. 2:19; 3:16, etc..
This Doctrine of the Gourd will expose Nineveh's sins. It tells us how bad Nineveh is yet it will not say that the answer lies in the heart of God's people. This doctrine will allow us to sit back and even pray for Nineveh to go too hell (be destroyed) because it doesn't place any responsibility upon God's people to return to God in obedience. It will place the responsibility everywhere except in the individuals relationship to God and this relationship revealed in his actions, Ja. 1:22.
There are many of these gourds growing around us. Remember, this was God's Gourd. This was something provided by God for Jonah's benefit. God raised it up in order to show Jonah how foolish he was in being concerned over it. It emphasis: 1) how much God owes to man -- He doesn't owe us a thing. 2) how much benefit man deserves from God. 3) how much benefit salvation is for man.
Salvation is to equip us to live a holy life of right priorities in obeying God so God can reach those around us. Salvation is a life of responsibility to God not of responsibility of God to man, I Pet. 1:18- 20.
This Doctrine of the Gourd doesn't preach holiness and separation. It avoids the law of God and presents grace in contrast to law. It provides another way of sanctification other than obedience to God's law-word. It permits a man-centered, self-centered, me and mine gospel. It permits sitting back and letting the world go to hell and hopes it does it soon so the Lord will have to judge it, yet, Jonah is the one who faced the judgment for being unconcerned about Nineveh.
The Doctrine of the Gourd had nothing to do with the glory of God. It will do nothing to bring Nineveh closer to God or even bring God's people closer to God in obedience. It sat back and complain because things didn't go his way. This doctrine is based on how much it will make me feel better about myself, and about Nineveh going to hell, and about God. With Jonah it brought exceeding gladness, it will bring large crowds and big bucks. It is well supported and flourishes for a day. Yet, there is a worm prepared and the gourd will die.
This "new" self-acceptance," "make me feel good," "what is in it for me," gospel will wither and die. It will work no better today than it did for Eve. It was solely for Jonah's benefit and cost him nothing. Salvation without cost and responsibility is not scriptural. He is the only one who would benefit from it yet look at his concern over this gourd.
Jonah, a prophet of God, yet, he is caught in this trap. Much more concerned over the things of this world which would benefit him than he was over the things of God. If he got caught in this "trap of the gourd" then how much more of a danger for us. Have we swallowed this doctrine? We get excited and even enjoy the messages against the sins of Nineveh, yet, we don't like to hear about our responsibility to God and His law, or to His Church or to His people. There is death in this gourd, I Ki. 4:39.
Are we more concerned with the gourds of this world (even those which God provides for our benefit) than we are over the kingdom of God and Nineveh? Which will cause us more heartbreak, grief, and anger, the lose of the gourds which God has provided for our comfort, or the loss of Nineveh?
There is a worm prepared which will destroy those things which is valued above service to God -- over the advancement of His cause, over the love for His word, His work, His church, His people, His law.
The people of God have relaxed in the shade of this gourd and I'm afraid the worm is already at work eating away at this gourd which has prevented the accepting of responsibilities before Him. This is indeed sad. Jonah, a great man of God, yet, he was more concerned about this gourd than he was over seeing Nineveh repent, turn and submit to God. Angry, even unto death, over a gourd. This is crazy to say the least, yet we find ourselves here all to often.
This is probably the saddest thing about this book. A man chosen of God, for God's glory. A man who was to reveal God's glory to the world around him by his obedience and love for God. A man publicly identified with the God of heaven. Yet, he was more concerned about his gourd than about a nation going to hell. More concerned about his own well-being and comfort than he was about a nation. More involved in something which was given to him by God for his own comfort then he was in a cause for Christ.
Human nature desires that God spare our prosperity far more than we desire He spare that unsaved person next to us. Because if there were more concerned about that person there would be a HOLY life before them which God could use to reach them.
Before we get too hard on Jonah, let's look at something here, I Cor. 4:7, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
"Jonah. why do you get so angry over that gourd as though you by your own might caused it to grow?" And may I ask, "Why do we get so involved with the things of this world as though it was by our own might that we accomplished them?" We are experts at getting head over heels involved in these vain things while Nineveh goes to hell, as a NATION sells out to ungodliness. We are experts at sitting in the shade of our gourds while those around us perish.
We are experts at pursuing the temporal things, the things that are seen and that benefit us while Nineveh perishes. II Cor. 4:18, "while we look not a the things which are see, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Every one of us have our gourds. We claim them as ours, although they are God's. We set under their shade and wait to see what God will do to the heathens around us. We get far more involved in them than we do in the souls of men. Any threat to that gourd which we find pleasure in, will get far more of a response from our emotions than will the fate of the wicked.
The vanities of this world, the gourds that give pleasure. We are far more interested in them than we are: about advancing the kingdom of God; about bringing glory to God with all that we say and do; about obeying God's law-word so that Nineveh can be reached for God, BY GOD with His mercy and grace.
What is that gourd? What is that temporal thing that causes more interested than in advancing God's kingdom and reaching Nineveh? Nineveh could only be reached as Jonah accepted his responsibility to obey God's word.
It could be the job, home, pleasures, habits, TV shows, leisure, families, or as with Jonah, PRIDE, "My way or no way at all." The list is endless, the things which gets more concern than Nineveh. The things which prevent seeking first the kingdom of God, seeking first obedience to Him and His Word, seeking first pleasing God. More concerned about than seeing Nineveh receive God's mercy and grace.
God has a worm prepared for that gourd. For that which gets attention above Him and His will. It is far better to give that gourd to Him willingly than to see the worm strike and it wither up. It's time to apply the meal of God's Word to that gourd.
We can run and protect the gourd all we want to. We can condemn the preacher for attacking our gourd, if we please. We can fight off the predators against our gourd.
We can take every effort in the world to see that our gourd lives on, yet, there is a worm prepared and it will eat the gourd.
The same God which provided the prosperity, health and strength, those things for our comfort, can remove it just as fast. They can be removed overnight when we allow them to prevent our concern for Him and His Word, and our responsibilities.
God's people love this doctrine, yet we must stand for the truth of God's total law-word.
Pastor O. Need Jr.
REBELLION AGAINST KING JESUS
(II SAMUEL 24)
Here we have a strange statement on the surface. We see God moving David against Israel. Why?
First, David was a godly king except in the matter of Uriah, and then he is the standard of godly repentance. David is held up as the standard from his day until Christ's. All kings are measured by Him and Christ fit in His place.
Second, God moved David, I Chron. 20 gives this record. In v. 1 we see it was Satan who stood up against David. Here are a couple of points. a) God tempts no man yet Satan is sure permitted. I believe this shows that Satan CANNOT move against a person without God's permission (Job). He had it here from God. b) No man can stand against Satan. Satan is restricted by God from His people. Also here, he can do ONLY what is permitted by God. No man can stand apart from the mercy and grace of God, Lam. 3:22-25. If He withdraws this for just a moment then we will surely fall to the enemy of our soul, just as David did here.
Third, why did God permit this? II Sam. 24:1 says God was angry at Israel. It wasn't David which brought this on, it was Israel. David, a godly ruler, is influenced by Satan with God's permission to do something which would bring the wrath of God upon the people.
There are more points here than we can count.
Fourth, what brought this on? I believe again in I Chron. we are given an idea on this. I Chron. 21:1 follows close upon Chp. 20:1. Time wise, I do not know, but the Lord seems to put 21:1 close after 20:1 where we see a very quick reference to David staying at Jerusalem. Here at Jerusalem he fell into trouble, II Sam. 11:1. We can follow the story. David tarried still at Jerusalem when he should have been leading in the warfare. At this time he allowed himself to get involved with a married woman. He compounded the sin by murdering her husband.
God's man points out his sin to him and David repents. Ps. 51 is a record of this repentance. Probably one of the greatest passages in scripture for true repentance. II Sam. 12:11-12 we see God's chastening judgment upon this sin.
II Sam. 11:1 through II Sam. 24:1 takes place between I Chron. 20:1 and 21:1.
Therefore it covers quit a bit of time but God views them very closely.
We see II Sam. 12:11-12 starting to be fulfilled in chp. 13 with Amnon committing incest with his half sister, Absalom's sister. Absalom seeks revenge and slays Amnon. Absalom flees the country then is brought back by Joab and reunited with the king, 14:33.
In chp. 15 we have Absalom's attempt to win the hearts of the people away from their king. Now, I think David brought this on because he did his sin in secret and tried to cover it, yet God exposed it to where everyone knew about his sin. This probably helped Absalom win their hearts. Absalom's plan worked, he overthrew the king and David had to flee for his life. The people set up Absalom as king in David's place, II Sam. 19:10. Absalom continues on in fulfillment of II Sam. 12:11-12 when he sets up a tent in the view of everyone and goes in unto his fathers concubines. This would be in keeping with the eastern practice of whoever possesses the wives of the former king is recognized as having the claim on the throne. The situation with Solomon and Abishag is a good example, I Ki. 2:22.
Absalom continues on in his rebellion against the anointed king over God's people. He grows stronger and forms his army to peruse David, II Sam. 17. War ensues and Absalom, the rebel, is killed, chp. 18. The people who supported Absalom in his rebellion against the proper king quit the fight after his death which they were losing anyway, 18:16.
David is brought back but there are still some very hard feelings between Israel and the house of David and in 20:1 we see Sheba starting another rebellion against David. Joab peruses him and cuts his head off and the rebellion is put down, 20:21-22.
Chp. 21 talks of a three year famine but his famine is due to the unjust practices of Saul which is avenged and settled in this chapter. Chp. 22 is a victory chapter with 23 giving the last words of David. It reviews the mighty acts of his men. Notice these men were raised up according to their mighty deeds for their king.
This bring us back to II Sam. 24:1. As we said, all of the above from II Sam. 11:1 to II Sam. 24:1 is covered between I Chron. 20:1 to I Chron. 21:1. I believe this is very significant because 24:1 clearly says that the reason behind this numbering of Israel is the Lord's anger against Israel. What was the Lord so angry about that he permitted Satan himself to move against David?
There could be a couple of reasons, ONE COULD be the Lord was angry because of his peoples rebellion against David. This is sure what is indicated by I Chron. 20:1. Satan himself is permitted to move against this godly king (His sin had been repented of, he had been chastised and he had renewed fellowship with his Lord, II Sam. 22) probably around 12 years after the rebellion with Absalom. Everything points to God allowing Satan to entice David into this sin so that the Lord could judge, chastise His people for their sin of rebellion against their king. From the principle in passages such as Jer. 3:10-13 we see this implication. God gave Israel 12 years to return to their proper king and when they still didn't he judge them through David's sin.
Fifth, what did the Lord permit Satan to do? He was permitted to entice David into sin. From I Chron. 21:2-4 we gather the purpose of the numbering was for war. There are a couple of things here: a) This was an act of presumption on David's part. Joab reminds David of this. vv. 2-3. See Gen. 15:5. God promised to multiply more than they could count, now David is going to count. b) Here David shows he is numbering for war. He is counting his forces in preparation for action. In times past, numbering had been done and even commanded. Yet here the context is showing that David is checking on his physical strength to see what he can do rather than checking with God to see what he should do or if he should do it. David sent Joab to do the numbering showing this was for military purposes. Jer. 17:5 cursed by the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departed from the Lord.
Sixth, Joab protested loudly. He clearly tells David this was a trespass to Israel, I Chron. 21:3. Now, Joab really isn't the best man to be pointing out sin. He had plenty on himself which he was yet to answer too. Yet he knew what David was wanting to do was a clear cut sin. He knew it would bring down God's anger upon His people. David, though, was blind to this. God was angry at Israel. He permitted Satan to entice David and along with this enticement was blindness.
Israel had sinned. She had rebelled against the one God had anointed as her king (I Sam. 13:14; 16:1-13). She was going to be judged for that rebellion. I think Ps. 2 gives us a proper application of this. The Lord God has his anointed KING today and that KING is Jesus. This KING is Sovereign. He has laws for not only his people but for the whole world. If those laws are violated the rod of iron will break them in pieces like a potters vessel. He has total complete authority and anytime anyone violates that authority we have rebellion against the Lord's Anointed.
Now, this brings us to some conclusions which we can look at and be in total consistency with scripture. (1.) God's people rebelled against God's anointed. (2.) God gave them probably 12 years to repent and return to Him in their hearts. The indication here is that they didn't return to their king. (3.) David was godly king yet God allowed him to be provoked to number the people. This was done so that the people could be judged for their sin of rebellion against the authority of God's anointed. (4.) The choices given to David confirms the reason he was put in the place to do this, I Chron. 21:12. a.) three years famine. b.) three months of an enemy invasion with the enemy having the upperhand and able to destroy the armies of Israel before them. c.) Three days of pestilence at the hand of the sword of the Lord. Notice all three of these were directed against the people. Again David's choice confirms this, v. 13, as he casts the people upon the mercy of the Lord rather than the three months war. David's sin in the matter of Uriah was just between him and God and his family paid the price. In this sin, the nation pays the price showing it is a national judgment.
(5.) Following on through we see that 70,000 men were destroyed. Death was the penalty for rebellion, witchcraft and the Lord says, "The death of 70,000 men is enough to pay for their rebellion and witchcraft." Of course, there had already been 20,000 men killed in the rebellion, II Sam. 18:7, but evidently this was not enough to pay the just payment for the rebellion. The context here indicates that the reason David was moved to number the people was to complete the judgment against the people for their rebellion.
(6.) ANOTHER WAY this could go would be the people in their hearts still had a problem with David being the rightful king. Maybe the reason being what they remembered of Uriah. But David had made that right and God in His mercy did not enforce the death penalty for what he did, II Sam. 12:13. Therefore the people did not have the right to not forgive him.
We might point out here, that God alone has the authority to pardon the guilty. He could easily have enforced this penalty against David yet He didn't. We do not have the authority to allow those who are deserving of death under God's law to escape. Also we do not have the authority to execute God's law, the civil government has this therefore they will be accountable to God for not enforcing it.
II Chron. 21:16 shows us that the elders were clothed in sackcloth along with David. This shows us this was a NATIONAL sin which brought about David being influenced by Satan to sin so the results would be judgment again the NATION. Therefore, for whatever cause, it was God's judgment against a nation which caused Him to allow Satan to provoke David.
Now, let's get down home. What is our message here? I think the total message would be that no matter how godly a person may be in authority, rebellion against the Lord's Anointed by His people will bring judgment. As long as God's people are in rebellion against their God (Rom. 1:21) and His Word; as long as they refuse to recognize His authority over their individual lives, over their every action which would include over His church, there will be judgment against the people.
If God's people faced this terrible judgment for refusal to recognize their proper king(David), can God's people today expect any less when they refuse to recognize that King Jesus rules right now and we are accountable to Him and His law-word? What can we expect when passages such as Eph. 1:20-23 are removed from our theology? The principle is clear here, this attitude of rebellion against King Jesus and his law leaves our leaders wide open to direct "attacks" by Satan himself.
In this we see that getting godly people in authority will not spare us from God's judgment. David was a godly man yet the Lord allowed Satan to provoke him so as to bring God's judgment upon the people. The judgment was brought about because God's people rebelled against their God. Therefore it is impossible to have peace even under godly rulers, apart from God's people glorifying Him as God over every area of life. There can be no peace until God's people recognize King Jesus' claim of total and complete authority over them. Only when HE reigns in them, in their their work places, in their homes, in their finances, in their spare time, in their churches, can there be peace.
Notice here, King Jesus did reign in David but he didn't in those under David, therefore, God allowed him to be provoked to sin so He could judge those under him for their rebellion. It is impossible to have godly rulers without a godly people of God. The only hope for a godly society is Holy people. Read all of I Pet. chp. one.
Another thing, sure there are conspiracies. Conspiracies are not the problem. The conspiracy started in Gen. 3 and it is the same basic one from there on. Ps. 2 identifies this conspiracy as an attempt to overthrow God to remove the law of God from everyone and to exist apart from God's law. Absalom conspired against the throne yet that was not the problem there. The problem was that God's people rebelled from under the Lord's anointed, David. The problem today is NOT the conspiracies we see going on around us. The problem is that God's people have rebelled from under their KING and His law-word. Conspires ONLY succeed because God's people refuse to quit their rebellion and submit to their KING and His lawful authority. The answer is not to expose conspiracies as many would have us believe, even using scripture (we hear ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free used to justify exposing conspiracies).
I received a piece of paper and on it were many things exposing conspiracies. Also on the paper was a statement saying that an informed and aroused public is the only thing that can stop these many conspiracies. This is repeated hundreds of times yet this does not make it right. Knowing about Absalom's conspiracy would not have help a thing. That conspiracy did not draw God's anger. The thing that brought the wrath of God was His peoples rebellion against the Lord's anointed. To think that exposing and acting against conspiracies today will solve the problem is to be deceived. This is the world's method which needs to be avoided. The only answer is for God's people to return to God's authority for their every action. God says he laughs at every conspiracy which is meant to overthrow His law-order and in Ps. 2, He invites His people to do the same as they "kiss the Son". Let's not give them more credence than they deserve.
No doubt we need to be informed about conspiracies, if for no other reason so that we will not become partakers of their evil deeds. We need to cry aloud against any attempt to overthrow God's law and order. But let us not be deceived, God's people reap what they sow, not what the wicked man sows. It is the people of God sowing to the flesh which allows this corruption to prevail, and until God's people stop sowing to the flesh and conform to God's Word once again (I Jn.) they can expose corruption all they want to and act again it, but that corruption in high places is not the problem.
Another thing, Joab stood against David's desire to do this evil thing, yet he could not prevail. Why? Because God had determined to judge His people for turning from Him. Only a return to Him by the people of God (not the leaders) could have spared them, which brings us to;
THE PEOPLES SIN PERMITTED SATAN TO GET TO DAVID in order to provoke him so God could judge the people through David's sin. Here is a very interesting observation. Is this a reason we see so many of those in authority today, seemingly completely given over to Satan? Is he allowed to stand up against them so that God can judge his people's rebellion against him? Is their any use exposing these satanic conspiracies apart from calling God's people back to Him?
Let's turn this around. If the people of God had been in right relationship with their Sovereign Lord, would Satan have been permitted to get to David to provoke him? What does II Chron. 7:14 teach?
Consider for a moment. As God's people have rebelled against His authority have we not seen a rise in satan worship, and satanic cults even in high places? This shows us that the answer for victory over satanic conspiracies is not in exposure and action but a return to the Sovereign Lord God and His law-word by His people. This alone will remove the power from these satanic conspiracies because they get their power from God. If God would cut off their source of power then they would soon fade. They have their power from God and God gives it to them to judge His people for their rebellion against Him. Again, this is consistent with scripture. There are far too many scriptures along this line to refer too in this short study. Hosea 4:9, and there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doing.
Now, look at something else. What would you think the devil would do to keep us from seeing this? What kind of "rabbits" would he present for us to peruse to keep us side-tracked or thinking that we can succeed by exposing and acting against conspiracies? Don't think he doesn't know that an obedient, submissive people to their Sovereign Lord would cut him off from provoking their leaders and those in authority. He has access to them because God's people are in rebellion against their King, King Jesus.
One last thing, getting godly authority is not the answer. David was a godly man yet here satan was allowed to stand up and provoke him to sin. The purpose was to judge God's people for their sins. The only answer is a return of God's people to their Sovereign Lord and His Holy Word. Only this will result in a peaceable life for His people.
Also here we see that even if all the government officials would get saved we would be spared from pestilence, the sword of the Lord! We should pray for their salvation and try to reach them or even try to get godly men in but the ONLY answer is a return to the total law-word of our God by His people. Hope in anything else is false hope. The hope of godly judges is also useless unless there is a return by God's people to their King and His laws. Rebellious people against their God will always result in rebellious leaders against their responsibilities. (If God's people wont respect justice, God's law, how can we expect the world to respect justice?)
We should pray for those in authority as we are commanded to . We should call them to answer for their ungodliness if for no other reason but to be obedient to God and to be good citizens. We should be involved as good citizens in every way we can in our system. In fact, we see from Hosea 8 one of the reasons Israel was destroyed was their failure to chose godly leaders.
What we really should be doing though, starting with ourselves, is submitting totally to the Lord our God; praying for God's people that he will open their eyes to their rebellion; casting ourselves upon his mercy that he might shed his grace upon his people that they will get into proper relationship to him and his authority. After all, this is a cause of why satan has free access to those in authority. See Joel 1 and 2.
This, of course, applies to individuals. As we try to ignore his claim of authority over our lives, families, jobs, finances and even "our" churches, this give satan access to those in authority over us, that he might provoke them to to sin, bringing God's judgment against us.
Where do we look for our victory? The arm of the flesh or the arm of God? The sin in God's people permits satan to provoke those in authority to sin that God might judge His people for their sin. That hidden unconfessed sin is not hidden from God. It can be hidden for maybe years before it is caught up with. It took about twelve years here with David.
Let's mention also that a church can have sin as a group of people. That sin, of maybe rebellion against a pastor, can be dormant for several years, yet if it is not dealt with it will permit satan to move against the pastor to bring God's judgment against the unrepentant church. Sin cannot be ignored.
EDUCATION, IT'S INFLUENCE WITHIN THE CHURCH
As we read and study the OT prophets, we notice a consistent trait which runs throughout these great men of God. The more we consider these things the more impressed we are with how these men were so much different than what we expect today.
As we read about these men who wrote these prophecies we are inclined to believe they were very insignificant in the world's eyes. We read of Amos in 1:1; and 7:14-15; who was called from among the herdsmen, and this would be typical of the kind of men God used. David was laughed at because he did not measure up , I Sam. 17:28.
Of course, there were exceptions. We have Moses, yet it took 40 years for him to unlearn what he had before God could use him. We also have Paul, yet he counted it all as dung in Phil. 3. In fact, Paul confirms this in I Cor. chps. 1, 2 and 3, where he points out that God doesn't use the wisdom of the world. God uses just the opposite, and uses the very things which seems foolish to the world and to the natural man.
As we consider these things we are impressed with where we of the fundamental movement are today. We seem to be moving to the point, if we aren't there already, where we put as much emphasis on education as the world does. Many of those who profess Christ today turn a deaf ear to those who are not from a 'top name college' or have the right set of letters behind their name. No doubt a major reason these prophets were ignored was their lack of obtainment in the world's eyes.
We continually hear of the need of more education rather than more obedience to our Sovereign Lord God as the answer to our ills. Have we allowed the emphasis to be placed on education rather than obedience to God's law-word and prayer (godly character)? Look at what has happened within the last 50-75 years. We have seen society remove itself from God's Word very rapidly. Is it because Christians have lost their influence in society by allowing the emphasis to be removed from what God can do for (through) His people to what His people can do for Him?
Christ is the light of the world and we are children of light and commanded to walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8). Our light is to shine and the way this is done is through obedience to our Lord in every area (Jn. 3:20, 21). Here we see then, as in many other places, God places the emphasis on knowing His Word and obedience to it, not on education nor on any other of many modern day emphasis.
Now, here with the minor prophets, these men were insignificant in the world's eyes. (I Cor. 1:19, 25, v. 27; But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence, But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and santification, and redemption, That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.)
Notice here the major principle, the more emphasis that is placed on education the less likely God is to use the person. Here is something we see that has taken place even in 'our' movement. We had men like Bob Jones Sr. and D.L. Moody, who had God's mighty hand upon them and they set the world on fire with little or no education as we think of it.
They felt the need to start schools of higher learning to train young people to do the same. Now watch what happened. Did this move the emphasis from the mighty hand of God to education to do 'His work?' Maybe they do build 'large churches' and 'draw large crowds.' But, how much of it is from dependence upon the power of God, and how much of it is dependence upon the education in worldly ways or training to use the reasoning powers?
We have heard preachers say, "At one time the 'world' looked down on us because of our lack of education. They can no longer do that because we have our education facilities now." But look at what has happened to society. We have our education now, but have we lost our impact upon society? There are more Christian colleges than ever before and more kids being trained now than ever. But when was the last time a hell, fire and damnation preacher spoke before a joint session of Congress? Have we educated God right out of the program?
As we've pointed out, unless a person has a "Masters," "Bachelors," or "Doctors" degree after their name, then he seems to lack any influence. He is not educated enough to know what he is talking about in the eyes of today's religious circles.
Certainly, Paul and Moses were top notch educated. Calvin and Luther also were at the peak, but they seem to be exceptions. David was a shepherd, Peter and John were unlearned men. In fact, the 'establishment' marveled at their abilities because they were unlearned men (Acts. 4; esp. v. 13). Today we seem to emphasis education as much as the world does. The more education a person has, the harder it seems to be for God to use them. We can keep the emphasis on education if we want to, but has it removed the utter dependence upon God's power from the lives of his people?
Let me suggest a searching question for us. What will we allow to interfere with our child going to school next week? What will we allow to interfere with our child going to church next week? What will we allow to interfere with their/our time with the Lord and His Word? What will we allow to interfere with our time to go to work tomorrow? Or to go too school?
This may sound like a paper against education. No, this is a work against what we see replacing the necessity of a consistent walk with God. When a person can keep them both in proper balance, then higher education would be an advantage, but we meet very few who do. If they are not kept within the proper balance then that person is operating without God and the person's power to effect society has been compromised. Have we fallen into a well laid snare of the devil? When we place the same emphasis on education as the world does, then it sure seems we have. Again, here with these minor prophets, we see that these men were completely unqualified in the world's eyes and even in God's peoples eyes.
Why were these prophets unqualified in mens eyes? Because they did not have the qualifications which were held so highly, they didn't have 'what it takes.' Therefore, those to whom they spoke and those they tried to warn, dismissed them as 'unlearned.' And, being unlearned, even though they sounded their warning direct from God, the learned ignored them with, "They don't have a P.H.D. so how in the world do they expect us to heed them." Here then the people wouldn't "heed" the word of the Lord through the foolish things of this world and the result was total destruction of the nation by the heathens.
What is the application here for us? The "educated" will beat us down (both the learned 'Christians' and the learned heathens will do this), pointing at us and saying, "What makes you think you are qualified to tell us what God says from the principle in His Book. We have been trained in that and what you are saying sure isn't what we were trained in."
I saw an interview on TV 4/13/87 with David Hunt concerning his book, "The Seduction of Christianity." In this book he warns of the new "gospel" of self-acceptance, positive think, and etc.. He tried to contact and warn some of the big name "Christian leaders" of our day concerning this false doctrine. He said the response he got from them was "Who are you to tell us we are wrong?" He pointed out that rather than these leaders listening and heeding the warnings, they only became more committed to their false doctrine. Now, whether his doctrine is right or wrong is completely beside the point. The point is that their standard of judgment was not the word of God, but whether he was qualified in their eyes or not.
Is this not what happened in Jn. 9 as the blind beggar tried to talk to the religious leaders? They cast him out of the temple because, as an unlearned man, he tried to instruct them after he met the Lord. Here they refuse to listen to God's word because the speaker was not from their 'school.' They refused to heed and refused to change. God's wrath came upon them as sure as it had upon the nation in the past. It sure seems this is the background here in these prophets and it looks like the situation of our day. The more education the speaker has, the more others are impressed to hear him out and if he doesn't have what the hearer hold important, then the message many times is dismissed. The truth only hardens them more into their error.
We need God to deliver us from this untoward (Acts 2:40; Lk. 3:5; Phil 2:15; I Pet. 2:18 crooked, twisted and perverse) generation which wants to substitute education for God's word, power, and provision. We are in a twisted generation. A generation of people who have God's values all twisted up. O my, how we need the Holy Spirit to 'untwist' us and set us straight according to His word.
It seems the 'learned' don't see how in the world God could use anyone who is not at least as 'learned' as they are. It confounds them even to the point of ignoring the unlearned. Is this not what Paul warned us of in I Cor. 1:27?
The supervisor of a local Christian school, told me as we came back from a meeting in Chicago, "When I started in ACE, the emphasis was on Christian character in the teachers, now it is on education." Therefore we see that even here we have been caught in the lie about education. Did not satan say, "Eve, you can be like God if you eat of this tree of knowledge?"
It's like a dog chasing his tail. Whatever is emphasized in the church and school as qualifications, will be reproduced in the kids. So now rather than reproducing Christian character, are we reproducing kids that see education as the all important ingredient for success and prosperity.
According to the word of God the result will still be death, whether saved or unsaved. Anytime the power of God is replaced by anything (education here), death is the result, Rom. 6:16. God's people today are becoming as dependent on the same means of success as are the devils kids. Promotion, 'hype', and education. It may grow in numbers but when the power of God is laid aside how much of it is his work?
Once again, education is good but only for those who can keep God in his proper prospective and priority. Can we place the same emphasis upon education as does the pagen crowd and still depend 100% upon the mighty hand of God? Sad to say, few can.
Also, this man mentioned that a large majority of Christian school teachers remained in one place for a very short time before moving on, and this is especially true if they have been to college. Is this true because they feel their present position is beneath their level learning? Therefore they are continually searching for something better. Is not this what we see in the world's realm? The cry for more money and better positions which will better reflect their qualification.
The philosophy from the government education system has spilled over. "Look how much college we have had. We deserve more money." This philosophy says education determines our income level rather than character, abilities, commitment, hard work and obedience to God's Word. This idea has entered into every area of thought today including the area of the Christian school movement. "I have all of this education, therefore, I deserve better than this." This is humanism and it is as contrary to Bible principles as it can be.
Quoting from the Humanist Manifesto I & II, we read under point "eleventh:
Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonable and manly attitudes will be fostered by education and supported by custom." Might we say here, that any training which does not equip man to face the 'crises of life' in terms of applying God's word is humanism.
If education can honestly be viewed with the attitude "This will better equip me to SERVE God and my fellow man." Then it is a godly education and can be used for his glory. Was this not the final illustration which our Lord left us with in Jn. 13? The word of God doesn't call for schools to train young people how to be leaders. That is humanism to the core. No place in his Word does he require schooling to be used mightily by him. What is needed though is training in the importance of being a servant as our Lord instructed in Matt. 23:11. We do need training in the importance of humbling ourselves before God as mentioned in I Pet. 5:5, 6. We do need to learn how to get ahold of God in prayer, Lk. 18. We need to learn how to meditate on him and his word, Ps. 1. We need to learn how to obey Him in everything, "by faith."
We do need to learn the absolute necessity of studying God's Word for ourselves as God directed in II Tim. 2:15 and 3:16. There very definitely are things which can be learned for God's glory in higher education. But the theme which must be at the center is "How can I better serve God and how can I better glorify God by applying his word to every situation?"
The question might be raised, "What about education in the sciences, arts, or even math or history?" This also should be centered in "How can these areas glorify God? How can I serve God with these areas which I have an interest in?" Anything less, according to the word of God is sin, humanism, and comes from the orginial lie "You can be like God with enough knowledge, I Cor.10:31."
If it can be viewed with "Here's what God can do through me," then it can be godly. If it is looked at with "Look how much more qualified I will be to serve Him," then it will be humanism. Our education DOES NOT QUALIFY US TO BE USED BY OUR LORD. Only our submission to him and the principles of his word qualify service for him. He may be pleased to see that we obtain an education, but when we look at that education as our qualification for service in any way (whether in the 'world' or in the 'church') we have estabished education as our god. The result will be death! Our qualifications must be based in Ps. 1. God's formula for success is centered around HIM and obedience to HIS word (Ps. 119:97-105).
A large majority of the great men of Scriptures that God used in a mighty way were men with very little "formal" education in the world's eyes. We want to be like these prophets of old with God's hand on our lives, yet we want to mix in the world's means with God hand. Jer. 17:5 shows us this cannot work.
God must give us the boldness to return to His ways, even with this TREMENDOUS pressure to try to do "His work" with the world's means. That is depending on the arm of the flesh. The world's way get results. No one can deny this, but what is the end result?
God help us to get back. He must open some eyes of parents so we can redirect the emphasis to Christian character (as found in his word, especially Proverbs). Ps. 1 is still in our Bible and strangely enough, it does not emphasis at all the need of education in order to be like a tree planted by the river. Nor to do a great work for God.
We need God to open the eyes of some leaders as to what they are doing by placing so much emphasis on education. And in doing this, de-emphasizing the mighty hand of God. To emphasis education as we do today, is to emphasis what I can do for God. God doesn't need anyone to do anything for him. He needs people who realize their helplessness without him and then he can "do" through them. We need to be emphasizing what God can do through a person who is "sold out," completely dedicated to HIM. My, how easy it is to get caught in the same philosophy that is in control today. Only the supernatural intervention of the grace of God can once again show HIS people that our strength, might, as well as victory over the enemy around us, lies only in the obedience to HIS total word. The ability to fulfill Matt. 28:19, 20 lies in his grace alone working through his obedient people who put the principles of his word into their lives. Have God's people turned away from serving the Lord and now are serving the gods of the heathens around us, Deut. 29:18?