‘’It’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me, but the bits I do.’’
Note 4 things in today’s passage:
- They contradicted the message (12): They did not like the words of threatened judgment and calls to repentance. They loved how they were living and did not want to change. Like many today, they wanted to have their ears ‘tickled’. They wanted to go to ‘church’ and be entertained. The just wanted to have fun. It’s interesting how we can rationalise more pleasant alternative interpretations of heart-searching Scripture passages. When we contradict what the Bible clearly says we are actually lying about God.
- They abused the messengers (13): They didn’t like the message and so they ‘shot’ the messengers. ‘Let these bad things happen to them’, they said, ‘Not to us!’ (There were other messengers whose sermons they did love: verses 30, 31. There were people preaching a false and powerless message. God saw this as ‘’horrible and shocking’’, but the majority of the people loved it. No wonder a former great leader of Methodism asked, ’’What evil have I done that all men speak well of me?’’)
- The rejected message does not lose its power because it has been rejected (14-17). It will come back to bite those who have slammed the door in its face. If someone tells you that there’s an escaped lion in your garden, but you refuse to believe them, your ‘unbelief’ will not prevent the animal having its way with you when you step outside. As we read earlier (6), the Babylonians were going to come and ‘’devour’’ (15-17).
- There is hope (18, 19). As we have seen over and again, even amidst deep darkness a bright light shines.
There are ‘hard’ sayings in the Bible. Be careful that you don’t deliberately soften them; that you don’t dilute them to taste. If you twist the plain message of Scripture you will be lying about God (2 Peter 3:16). Just because we don’t like the preaching of judgment doesn’t mean we won’t have it to face. We can mock the preachers all we like, but we will be ‘burned by their words (14).
I understand the Bible to teach that we cannot reject Jesus in this world and be accepted by Him in the next. This is a truth to face, and not push away.
Prayer: Lord God, please give me the willingness to listen to all you have to say, and respond as you desire.
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