Meanderings of a Minister


What Are You Standing On?
January 15, 2013, 5:42 pm
Filed under: Articles

What Are You Standing On?

I recently have been working on memorizing more of the Word of God, in order that, having hidden it in my heart, I might not sin against God.  One of the first passages I began to work on comes from Jeremiah 9:23-24.  From the New American Standard Version of the Bible, 1995 update, there verses say, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might.  Let not a rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts, boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.

As I have been working on memorizing and meditating on this passage for some time, it dawned on me what this would look like today.  In Jeremiah’s day, the people have stopped following God and had fallen back onto their own resources for their deliverance from the forewarned destruction imminent on the horizon.  For instance, they thought they were wise enough to deliver themselves from what God said was coming.  They thought they were strong enough to resist the destruction God said was coming.  They thought they were rich enough to take care of the destruction God said was coming their way.

God told the people not to count on these things as deliverance, but to count on understanding God and knowing God intimately.  They were to count on his lovingkindness that would drive them to repent and turn to worshipping Him again. They were to count on His justice, meaning He would treat everyone the same way and this would drive them back to Him in repentance after considering the destruction they wished on their sinful neighbors of other nations.  They were to count on His righteousness, or His wisdom and doing what is right.  This would cause them to compare their wrong to His right and drive them to their knees to ask forgiveness and deliverance.

Instead of reacting the way God wanted, they attempted to rely on their label as the “people of God”.  They tried to rely on the fact that they lived in the Promised Land.  They tried to rely on the law that they possessed.  They tried to rely on the fact that they bore a physical mark (circumcision) that was sufficient for showing their faithfulness.  God saw through all of this and said they had not had those same things applied to their hearts.

As I contemplate this and consider how this applies today, I am mindful that many people try to rely on external supports for their standing with God.  Like Jeremiah’s day, there are those that say, “I have been to every Bible study out there and have sat under the teaching of _______ (fill in the blank of your favorite preacher).  I can recite the books of the Bible and spell them all correctly.  I can explain theodicy, the trinity, and all other points of finer theology.”  They are leaning on their wisdom as an indication that they are right with God without checking their heart for pride, self-sufficiency, and the like.

Others say, “I gave my tithe and another 10 percent, plus I gave to help build the new church building, supported ten missionaries, sent Bibles to Russia, bought groceries for a needy neighbor.  I must be alright with God.  If I am not, then who is?”  They are leaning on their riches instead of looking into their heart to see if they are truly grateful to God for His provision and whether or not they look at their possessions as belonging to Him.  They look at their pocketbook instead of looking at all of the pockets of their heart to see if Jesus really is Lord.

Still yet others say, “I teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, clean the church, mow the grass, bake goods for visitors, and am at church every night of the week.  I surely must be good to God.”  They are relying on their might or work instead of looking for God’s work in them.  They may take pride in comparing their service to others instead of serving out of sense of gratitude towards God for all He has done for them.

So, guess after considering all of the available responses that fall short of standing upon the gospel, which states that we don’t do enough for God to love us; He loves us in spite of all we do, I am left to look into my heart and ask, “God, are you there?”  I am standing upon His word that promises He is and He is at work.  How about you?

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