AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH April 7,  2013

A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith      

 

Is it Love, is it Hate: it is not Fate!

but the love of God when declined,
 
leaves His hatred of sin unmitigated!

Jeremiah 12

 

 

THE PROBLEM and the TRIAL of Jeremiah

 

THE QUERY OF THE PROPHET

WHY does the way of the wicked prosper ? asks the prophet Jeremiah (12:2).

Speaking of those ostensibly religious primarily, and many such there were and now are,he declares this: "You are near in their mouths, but far from their minds." Now many have God near in their blaspheming, idly cursing and cavorting mouths, almost as a swear-word, and deem themselves sophisticated, blas or superior in view.

As to Jeremiah himself, his is not a merry time, for

"You, O LORD, know me; You have seen me,
and You have tested my heart toward You."

"How long will the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither ?", he queries.

This ? God seems to imply, this dislocated, disjointed mess in which you dwell, this is merely on the way to its dnouement (Jeremiah 12:5-6). Indeed, to Jeremiah personally He challenges in this way:

"If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you,
then how can you contend with horses ?
And if in the land of peace in which you trusted, they wearied you,
then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan ?"

This He exclaims, probing, thrusting into Jeremiah's saddened and reluctant ears, with the truth.

In other words, the whole place is corrupted, corroded, ideologically invaded, spiritually morbid, morally moribund. "I have forsake My house, I have left My heritage," the Lord declares. Indeed, there is now nothing less than actual hostility towards Him, a forsaking that however masked, is categorical.

THE QUEST OF THE LORD

"My heritage is to Me like a lion in the forest;
it cries out against Me: therefore I have hated it."

Jeremiah 31:3-8 nevertheless speaks of the ultimate to the 'married' nation, 'everlasting love'. This message is given more amply in Hosea in its entirety.

 

THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM IN ANCIENT ISRAEL

 

1) It kills itself;

it thrusts itself far from the Lord;

it invents heresies,

it produces myths, with all solemnity

it assails the minds of its young,

it has become gross in its corruption, just as our own land is now very close to doing, as if trying to copy the folly of ancient Israel. Indeed, it is almost as if it were trying to show how with vast overseas loans, it can cope, while it soaks up rottenness and corrupts as if it had a sheer fixation on it, with almost no limit to its licence and vast, fast movement from the first foundation's God, to any idea of their own choosing.

 

2) The great mystery, Paul exclaims in Romans 11:28-36, the now revealed marvel, is that all, Israel and Gentiles, are condemned, that each in part can return to the Lord, and the Jewish remnant added to the Gentile remnant, those redeemed in the one and the other, become as one in Christ! Then the plan of God for His nation of Israel, source of centuries of prophetic testimony and human basis for the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the only Saviour, only name given for it under heaven (Acts 4:11-12), will be vindicated as also the spread of this self-same spiritual blessing in the two part covenant with Abraham as seen from Genesis 12-22,  in various utterances from the Lord, to Abraham and descendants, concerning their race, their place and their international use to bring blessing to all nations.

The love is here our topic. It endures past devastations, past deviations of man, past apparent hopeless ruin; to the end it continues, and what an end (Micah 7, Revelation 7). What then of the hatred noted before the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the burden imposed before their return from Babylon (after 70 years as Jeremiah had correctly predicted - Jeremiah 25) ? and now in their second return (as in Isaiah 11:10-11, and indicated in Luke 21;24). Even in Babylon, the Lord had proclaimed, He would provide, and make a little sanctuary for them.

 

 

THE SOLUTION PART ONE

 

Ezekiel 11:16-21 with Jeremiah 31:31-34, provides a nascent hope:

"Therefore say, Thus says the Lord GOD:

"Although I have cast them far off among the heathen,
and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come."

Indeed, when the time comes,

"I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them,
and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh...
and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
But as for those whose hearts follow the desire
for their detestable things,
and their abominations,
I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,
says the Lord God."

There is NO CESSATION to the love of God towards this special people, Israel, which gives an illuminating example, for He is no respecter of persons, though He has His own deep plans of procedure; and His love is statedly of a kind which is everlasting. However, when the nation so

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consolidates with sin and evil,

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trumpeting its defiance and

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tilting back its nose in what are the caricatures of idols,
follies of heart and independence of spirit,
as if it had made the universe, and planned to toy with it,

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making up false pretences of truth like a side-show pretending,
and when it becomes actively evil in nature, 
despising divine mercy, asserting self-assurance:

THEN it becomes odious.

 

THE SOLUTION PART II

 

1) Love can discipline (Revelation 3:19, Hebrews 12), and when a cancer comes, it may need painful removal; but if not, it takes out the whole system

It was as if the whole body became a spiritual cancer, except for a small remnant (Jeremiah 15:11, Isaiah 11:10-11).   There is always this remnant which in the end overflows into abundance! It is sustained by waters which teem down and make furrows and runlets in the soil (Isaiah 32:15, Psalm 65:10, John 4:14, 7:38-39, Isaiah 44:1-7),  as in the heart. The two are ultimately and utterly diverse.

2) The answer is obvious, when the question is put precisely. The more the love, the more the hatred of what destroys the creation, in this case, mankind (very largely as in Genesis 6); and then Israel. Whose hatred ? that of the afflicted nation, the misled people, those inveterate and wallowing in flight from the Lord, from their God, whom they choose not to know.

Alas, when devastation is the only answer to a deafened and disbelieving people, wilfully and continually so, ruining themselves and their world, inveterately, perhaps greedily, even the next generation, even gleefully: then it comes, however long the prolongation in love and mercy. Eventually it is kinder to remove it and purge it before new generations are actively ruined by the bombast and mischiefs of heart that the nation provides, and the evils grow more and more, as if a mutated crop went on  ruining not only itself, but the crops on associated lands, as well.

 

LOVE, FORCE AND FAITHFULNESS

 THE SHORT-CIRCUIT FOR INITIAL WRONG WIRING

 

Consolidation in this way with the evil, aborting righteousness and delivering sin wilfully and continually and wrong-headedly, becomes a hateful thing, like a plague virus. If you could OPT for a plague, so potentially ruining also your neighbours, it would be a mortally hateful thing; and so it is here, spiritually.

The underlying love of God, like the concern of a doctor during an amputation, does not alter; but the necessity of action is not removed by the enduring love, and the condition becoming hateful, what consolidates with it to the end, becomes part of the disease, and is to be destroyed accordingly. Where love has entry, it enters. Where it simply becomes a mockery, a ground for machination, a site for slander, an opportunity for libel of the Lord, a thing for fun, as real things come to the bloated minds of the possessed, then it does not enter, and there is no place for it, and what has ruined becomes its own ruin, despising the love of God and running into the gloom of the darkness of its removal, incorporating in the same.

Such is the nature of liberty and of love; if it does not force, then the results are not removed by the wilful ignorance of love's remedy. The love is for all and toward all (John 3:16-18), but THIS is the condemnation (John 3:19), that despite the light of the way, provided freely, at vast cost, and lovingly, darkness preferred becomes darkness gained, and this is an anti-God, self-imposed remedy (John 3:36), one that ruins in self-imposed woes.

IF there is any place for it, love is always available. When God is found then the covenant is bound (John 10:9,27-28, Matthew 26:28). Just as God freely plighted a covenant, conditional in elements and areas, but sure to the end with Israel (Genesis 17:7-9), and so had an EVERLASTING LOVE for it (Jer. 31:3-8), so for another special people, to which the remnant of Israel will come, is there an everlasting love - those of the Messiah, the Christians (Romans 5:1-12, 8:35-39I John 5:11-12, John 6:37, Ephesians 1:11, II Timothy 1:8-12), FROM everlasting!

 

 A RESULT OF THE SOLUTION 

 

1) Yes, you can say to  a person, GOD LOVES YOU (for God SO loved the world, and  came not that it be condemned but saved, and one is in the world). This is the generic. Love hopes all things, and this is the basic and underlying background.
 

2) But whether this love is the end of the matter, or the love is short-circuited becomes a personal question. When the person in view proceeds long enough and far enough into consolidated individual disbelief, what might be called "disfaith", then in the faith-free end, love may be successfully diverted,  and the one involved enters the ranks of discard, all hope of love and reconstruction voided by rejection. Since the divine mercy is passionately seeking (Luke 15), then the rearguard action to divert it, leaves merely this:

"They have no excuse for their sin."

as Christ said of the informed unbelievers. These were those who would not believe and so would not receive, and so would not be cured (cf. Matthew 13:15). This we read in John 15:22:25. Indeed, in that very site, the divinely inspired comment concerning the matter focusses the HATRED of the people for Christ, on the part of those rejecting Him, which is the noose they prepare for their own necks, while seeking the removal of this Christ (done very slowly and hatefully on the cross); and it declares  this.

But this happened that the word might be fulfilled
which is written in their law,

"They hated Me without a cause," John 15:22ff..

as also in Psalm 35:19, 69:4, and reflected in 109:3-5.

Indeed, as Christ declares in John 15:24, in this entrenched dismissal, "they hated both Me and My Father." The alternative ? they would through His redemption received (cf. Matthew 20:28), have "had no sin"! Such is imputation, vicarious deliverance, and redemption.

Love is elemental in God, and force does not eclipse it. In its eventual evacuation, there is only odium, for in Him is its source, as of liberty and truth, which have no other foundation, source or being.

 In God, hatred is not a termination of love but of its applicability, amounting to death, despite divine desire, and an index of state, not of love's originating desire (Isaiah 57:15-16, Matthew 23:37) but in man and others made free spirits, of hate's irresolvable lust.