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ABOUT TIME FOR AN ABOUT-TURN - JEREMIAH 2:1-13,23,32-35
PERILOUS SPIRITUAL AERONAUTICS
Jeremiah faced a situation not unlike our own. A nation which had shown very considerable godliness at varied stages of its career, and especially long before, one where the truth of God had been exhibited in a flaming manner, in a gracious mode, in song, in wisdom, in practical exhibit, in manifold, manifest miracle, over centuries, was falling.
What was it like ? It resembled, in our own modern terms, someone in a para-glider, those two wind-inflated wings spreading out with their little envelopes of air, billowing in the wind, while the pilot sits in apparent comfort, though possibly in some degree of contortion, with this and that mode, including the disposition of the legs, moving it to taste or necessity as it flies. If now the thermal uplift diminishes, if you move too far from the sudden hill, where the uplift is generated by the wind striking it and rising, as it anoints the cliff from the sea, for example, then instead of simply falling like a stone, equipped with wings, you may glide. You may softly land yet.
Gliding means using gravitation to spread your unpowered performance laterally, so that you can land in some chosen or slightly chosen spot, and so come down both intact and with some hope of an easy ascent to your base, up the cliff. You have been ABLE to glide because of your height. Some may go to 3000 feet, in a safety manoeuvre, or perhaps more likely, an effort to glide out to sea and use the height to manage the comparatively listless winds there, in order to complete the excursion in safety.
You NEED the height when you lack the power.
So Israel needed its past height, to enable the past power, in principles established, in morals spelled out, in modes and social customs ingrained, before it should fall like a stone. The height was so great, that the fall took some time, and there were episodes of uplifts from time to time, as in David, where there was a mighty updraft, or in some of the more uplifting monarchs, like Hezekiah and Josiah, each of whom provided a significant uplift, to delight the heart and help restore the nation.
Yet time told, and the general drift eventually brought the end of the northern kingdom, which had split off in a further and more sudden move to idolatry from the living God, to its end. It had sharply fallen from the first, as if in addition to the lack of uplift, there had been a partial collapse of one billowing wing, as they lost their spiritual way and became brazen like some striding prostitute, displaying her wares not only without restraint, but with relish. They had fallen for formal idols almost at once! They were now history's exhibit A, swept aside by some earthly tyrant, in fact the King of Assyria, and their land had been repopulated by an alien race, as if to wipe away the very memory of their vanities, ingratitude and self-absorption (cf. II Kings 17).
In that respect, it might almost seem kind, in retrospect, that there had been the division of Israel of the 10 tribes, in the days of Rehoboam, from Judah and little Benjamin; for now the latter was left. All was not gone; and Jerusalem with its prodigious temple, pattern of truth and mercy, remained.
Thus there was another opportunity, and the predicted place for the Messiah could thus till come through Israel as so often predicted, and so clearly in Micah 5:1-3, where Bethlehem was the stated town for that vast event (cf. Isaiah 51:16), one more important than any nuclear program of today, whether designed to dictate or to be restrained. Why was this so ? It was for this reason: Here was to be not merely power but glory, and not glory alone, but that of the Lord, the criterion for truth, the basis of love, the source of discipline and the maker of the manual, the Bible, which tells all man needs to know. Here was the Messiah, designated both in His suffering role, to save, and in His ruling role, to maintain when history had fulfilled its last rapt and rapacious chapter, and He returned. This He will do precisely as He came at the appointed date, in the first place, to save (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).
Let us now return to the day of Jeremiah, with Israel of the North, virtually deleted (some may have returned to Judah, almost as if immigrants! - as II Chronicles 30 might suggest from the attitude displayed by Judah's King Hezekiah. Devastation had ruined the feeble dynamics of deluded Israel of the North, but there was a godly King still ruling, now much later, in Jerusalem. Judah with Benjamin were now left intact. As to the North, and their spiritual pride and self-will, blatant from the first of the separation, had become so appalling that popular books no doubt could have been written, if it were the genre of the time, detailing precisely their evil exploits, dashing derring-do with morals and sexual-sensual-spiritual declensions until you might have mistaken them for parts of this our own land. Now Judah had been slipping swiftly with one of its billowing wings near to collapse, and the other in some danger. It seemed it was intent on following the North.
This you see poignantly, and yet acridly exhibited in Ezekiel 16:30-51. You have not gone as Samaria (of the North) did, the Lord told them; for they did not commit half of your sins! By Ezekiel's time, Hezekiah was gone and the high priest of spiritual madness, Manasseh his son had brought a sure fall to Judah, one which Josiah, a little later, interrupted with vast goodness; but he died young and soon the plummeting of Judah was to be seen, as a speck became a graphic and even stunning descent, and the tangling wires were hissing as doom came near, like a head-on collision in the roads of today.
The collision was between God and man, because mercy had been twisted and truth waylaid, as today, so that it could not be heard, because their concerns were not for it, but for themselves, and as to that, for the fulfilment of every proud and lustful urge, every fall from the god-like to the devilish, from heights of beauty to twisted fragments on the ground of unbelief. It had become death while living, for which the corpse was merely a signal when the time came, as if a cancer having been detected, and divine healing ignored, death was a mere formality.
Thus the landing was looking hard, and it began to resemble, in prospect, the absolute crash which had come to Israel of the North, over a century before. Even before good King Hezekiah and his massively squalid son Manasseh , they had been cursed with that equivocator, Ahaz, on whose sudden yielding to downdraft, we looked in Ch. 1, above.
Now even that tragi-comedy was past. Hezekiah's updraft was over, and Manasseh's plunge had brought the line of flight of the nation so close to the sea, that you could hear the gulls crying, sometimes sounding as if they wept, as well they might. It was a time, in other words, exceedingly like our own in this nation, spiritually.
One speaks to an aborigine, and he declares that he goes to a Pentecostal service because of its dramatic excitement; for he shows us, you can watch and see all sorts of things happening, and at that time, news of people barking like dogs was not at all unknown, and as for a mass involvement in 'tongues' which meant that hundreds might make noises and yet have NONE interpreted, in precise contradiction of the apostolic requirements on the point: this was taken for granted.
As to that, in our own day, Paul commanded in the Lord's name (I Cor. 14:37), by the Lord's inspiration (I Cor. 2:9-13), as with those other apostles called to it, and was commended by Peter in II Peter 3, as providing scriptures which were to go with the others of that category (II Peter 3:16), in this way giving pan-apostolic testimony to the truth of his words. Paul in turn, in I Cor. 1:2, makes it clear as a master-builder in the Church of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:10), that the points in view in his epistle to the Corinthians apply to ALL the Churches in ALL places; and no one attested Paul's resignation!
Resignation ? rather did he resign himself in service of Christ, not only to be bound but to die for Him (Acts 21:13, II Timothy 4).
Thus this anti-apostolic, anti-scriptural regime, in so many Pentecostal churches, this frank rejection of the word of God proceeds, that blessed word which makes it clear that only two or three with interpretation, one at a time, may speak in this fashion, if necessary. Even that was by toleration, for Paul declared that he would rather 5 words with his mind, in public, than 10,000 of those - I Cor. 14. It also shows us the beautiful principle that ALL things in worship services MUST be done to edification (I Cor. 14:26,28), and that involves explanation, interpretation, putting of ANY thing into language capable of comprehension. Are you going to speak to the air ? he asks!
This, however, is contrary to the psychological substitute which some bring onto the scene. It is not so uncommon, this forlornly babbling eruption of 'tongues', a permission or even a legislation in profound contradiction to the COMMAND of the Bible. It is often made, nowadays, on the part of those who claim this or that, and not seldom become popular and well paid: is it not as in II Peter 2, which predicts such things, advising to beware of rebellions, as people are going to make merchandise of you! That is, there will be a MARKET for spiritual trifles and truffles, heresies and features, and it will be subject to PURCHASE, at a price. MANY will follow, said Peter, in the last days, and in this and countless other ways, this is what is making such a plethora of pollution in the spiritual skies.
It is NOT for emotional release that tongues are authorised, but as Paul's quotation from Isaiah shows in I Cor. 14, it was foretold as a form of rebuke, a scathing parody of those who know nothing, cannot answer from the Book of the Lord, make excuses, go their own way, gabbling around about being unable to do this or that (Isaiah 28:11-12, I Cor. 14:21). They would even dare to play the fool like that ? very well, God would in His time SEND a bubbling babbling, a sign and a signal of spiritual declension and unwillingness to listen to the actual word of God. Seek spiritual things, he said, but rather seek that you may prophesy, and again, that you may love! (I Cor. 12-14).
It is NOT a question of grabbing 'blessing' here or there, as some seem now to put it, as if it were some prime real estate to be grabbed up, while still available, for it is sure to rise! It is a question of LIVING for LOVING and keeping the commands which help as in I Cor. 13, define love, and refine mere selfishness, whether spiritual or other. By all means be blessed, but no blessing is to be found in mere Samaria like striving for some sort of religious galvanising, instead of the covenant laid down in the word of God! USING the name of God for foolish frolics is scarcely a help! Indeed, this flurry and slurry as it often is, of the spectacular and the psychological, has become so absurd that it becomes a work of wisdom to discern its end!
Not seldom, people having loosed themselves from the restraint and refinement of the word of God, then go to the reductio ad absurdum, and begin to mix their drinks, having appalling scenes of irreverence, masquerading as liberty or relief, telling that the Lord says this or that, and inventing doctrines at will, till the clamp of Revelation 22, and of Proverbs 30:6 is as far forgotten as is World War I and its confusion, by many. They bark like dogs, laugh uncontrollably in public worship, and in many ways exhibit the precise opposite of the worship with reverence prescribed in Psalm 89. The fear of God becomes the flight of man, and his manoeuvring is at he pleases.
This innovatory exercise in illicit relevationism, which is the case with many, is part of the decline of today; but long before its popularity, you had the even more direct attack on the Bible, which plagued the churches. In this lurk, they would have many look for something more sophisticated and more scholarly, more spiritual and more sound, superior as in ancient gnosticism, but this was not so much experiential as intellectual chatter. So horrendous in ignorant pride was this movement, called Liberalism, that reaction from its obvious and tedious lusts, providing a source for more to be snatched as they left it. Thus this action led to a reaction, in giving an apt breeding ground for the sects, with their new books, leaders, exaggerations, innovations and imaginations.
This then increased the fall, and make it a treacherous thrust to the earth. To this, again there was more added to the incessant innovatory material of spiritual warfare. Thus while Liberalism continued for a time, then there arrived its evil derivatives, like birds pecking the failing wing fabric. Instead of diminishing the fall, these increased its rushing air: the neo-orthodox, the New Age and other reliquaries of the sensational (cf. SMR pp. 842-848, 858ff., 866ff., 684ff.). Each, both action and reaction, whether to sect or other idolatry, clay models of Christ grounded in the earth, devoid of history, without meaning or rationality, were invented by this false prophet or that, sometimes dealing not just with addition or reduction to the Book of the Lord. They might even soar in spirit into vapours unthinkable, while their craft rocketed to earth, adding or subtracting whole books at a time!
A new Bible, a new Christ, a new god, a new idol, a new name, a new combination of inspiration and vexation, this was the same basic line as with Muhammad*1A, who did some inventions in the 7th century A.D., thus fulfilling Christ's heavy emphasis on false prophets to come. In our own day, however, their name is legion, the innovators of the last century, hissing as the air escapes from the wings that support them, exceedingly temporarily.
One example of this, within this author's personal experience, is provided in Biblical Blessings Ch. 11.
While the refutation of this folly was not too difficult (cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 10, SMR pp. 68ff., 377ff.), for when the Lord is with you, nothing is too hard, yet the very effrontery before the Ancient of Days of any teacher in any Church, treating without awe, His unparalleled prophecies, such as that of Deity's coming in human form to die, with the statement of date attached by Daniel, added to Isaiah's already bulging accounts: this appals the heart, as the spiritual rebellion surges like volcanic lava on its devastating way of destruction.
As one may see in the reference given, the heresy propounded, the illicit dive, the fictitious flirtation with evil, the derivation of the things of God here from the imagination of man, shown up as it was as entirely irrational and internally inconsistent: this was just a beginning in the case reviewed. Yet to add to this, itself an inflammatory disdain, an appalling contest, there was the machinery of slander. False charges were laid, as with Stephen. Why ? presumably because the challenge was too successful (for it was never answered at any time)!
This hideous assault on the word of God with a side-swipe at His servant, who stood by His word as the very LEAST a Christian might do, being called to His ministry: it speaks with eloquence of the state of the churches even then. Such teaching was by no means amazing, being pushed in many substantial cases; and it showed by its martial intolerance and appearance of casual presumption, the need for a reformation into the very area of foundation. No Church could continue like that; it becomes a mere memory of what used to be; and indeed, does not the apostle John in Revelation 2-3, make it very clear that such a destiny is by no means denied to some bodies which, once churches, decline like Israel of old.
Now the fall is all but pervasive. Large, and once imposing denominations can act treacherously to Him whom they name, divide, or threaten to divide; but often in the end, they do not divide, and why is this phenomenon so common ? It is because the majority, after due thought and process, think that after all, it would be quite good to stay put.
This they now frequently do, even if it means having those who do not procreate ŕ la mode or rather according to the divine design and model, but instead have homosexual or lesbian relationships going, appear in the pulpit, as pastors, or as bishop if you want that! So some stay; then others, shocked, still stay in apparently out of inertia! Meanwhile attrition occurs, and many leave, while most stay, and the work of degeneration because of the irrational derogation of Christ, continues to make of the 'church' a mockery, as aligned to the Master as much as two cars to wisdom, in a head-on collision!
Yet, as in all things for us, the Bible is clear, on this point as on the others. Thus I Timothy 1:10 is merely one of the array (such as that in I Corinthians 5-6) of commands and biblical perspectives, showing that this is one of those contests with the design of the Designer and the commands of the Creator which means OUT!
No kingdom member can unrepentantly carry on in this way, and repentance brings forth fruits worthy of it! This is the Bible. The other is the war on it. You cannot have it otherwise: WHY call me LORD, Lord, said Christ, and NOT do what I say! It is HIS opinion!
You travel with the Lord in His way, or you make of yourself a god, and travel in some other way, lacking however the tiny deed of title, which belongs to the One who brought you into being, and omitting the small considerations of orders, which relate to what your life is to be. Someone may say,
I do not want this, for I want my own way and MY choice,
not something from the lord of my life ?
Very well, then perhaps crucifying Christ afresh is in mind as in Hebrews 10 ? or perhaps calling 'Lord, Lord' and not doing what He says (Luke 6:46 shows His mind on that little art), has deadly apeal ? or else, perhaps building on the sand, the preference of those who disdain the rock as in Matthew 7?
But why go on ? for the world is busily bent on it, and the point is simply that our national condition, especially with many of the churches which were or are publicly respected, is moving as did that of ancient Israel, and then, the spiritual grounds for the divine action were most clear. Is there some desire to test the situation by such a monstrous imitation ?
This movement of alienation is so, even before you come to the sects which have their own bitter wars with the word of God (cf. Sects ... Index, and Sects file), and long after Romanism*1B shared with Islam *1A, its idolatrous substitutions for God, with its own creations! Thus, you see a state of national decline that makes the sound of the gulls even harsh on the ears.
It was so in Jeremiah's day with that residual nation, Judah; and it is becoming horrendously similar with our own nation today. Nor is it limited to churches.
Thus it is that any who could even dare to construct such an apotheosis as the SA Government's 1988 Circular to Principals*1C, as noted, with its erratic subjectivism and ludicrous assemblage of ideas, a mythology based on mythology, indicate the severity of the spiritual misalliance that with steady hand, seeks for its own will in the very face of God. It dares to subject Him to its illicit and irrational decrees, as if reason were a bauble, reality an enemy and presumption its pride.
In this way, and in this muddled model, man, mixed superficially in erratic oddities, acts as if he yet know all the depths and so declare how it all REALLY is; and at the same time, give to the God of objective revelation the farewell rites, as he writes what he will about the God he does not, because he will not, know.
If however you fail to know God, and decline to check the testable facts, this is a personal disaster, not a mandate to play God with the very name of God in some commando raid on the State! That it seems almost impossible to galvanise any major church into action, in such a war of inept official, governmental, pseudo-educational verbiage as is now enshrined, and has long been, set as if to nullify truth in youth: this speaks far more, perhaps, than all the rest.
To nullify the truth ? Of course, this is not necessarily the intention: it is however the direction of the result and the flow of thought in this mandate for Government control of religious thought in school settings. If testing in factual and verifiable format is to be EXCLUDED from religion, from all religion, by a pseudo-papal political farce, and debate in schools in this field is NOT to be rational and logical, while debate with the Government outside them is excluded, as is now assuredly the case in this State; and if a whole curriculum is to be based in part on this aberration of intellect and self-contradictory pronunciamento, then what do we have ? what is the precise pathology >
It is this. Now we have precisely the direction, albeit wholly vacuous, of the directive, as a parallel to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party: this is the alogistic misalliance of the Circular to Principals ... or call it whatever insidious name you wish! It is ultimately true that ultimate truth cannot be found, so that legends, myths, stories and the like are all that RELIGION has to offer ? That is flat self-contradict ion. It is also nonsense. You CANNOT say what you first exclude. You MAY not logically dismiss what you refuse to defend!
If however they had taken the manifest facts, or even faced some public debate, so speciously avoided so that no correspondence for over a decade even MENTIONS this in REPLY, they would be able to find the precise opposite to be the case. ONLY the Bible for millenia is able to continue unmolested in all its principles and pronouncements, whether in prediction or retrodiction; and all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put together many of the pronouncements of science of a mere century ago! Indeed, it becomes all but farce, as new ideas and approaches proliferate. THAT is the difference for TEST, for verification; and as to validity, ONLY what knows ALL can be appealed to for ultimate truth, and only GOD by definition has that. Choose a no-God model and you are out of the stakes at the outset, flying into flurries interminable*1.
To pre-empt the matter by mere inflated verbiage in the face of fact, this is education ? To make a statement about ALL religion and make this by mere political mandate, to be one stated BASIS for the entire curriculum ? this is as ludicrous as if some medical lecturer were to state that really, all disease is actually chicken pox, and comes from the same virus, or as if some other Hyde Park orator, were to assert that reality is merely and always a matter of following your chin, wherever it points. This inflated conflation of all religions into the base dregs of some - for man will invent almost anything when he avoids the truth as a part of his religion, as they did in the day of Calvary - this is the nadir of all logic, the endless shame of all irrational generalisation and in this, the mode of the government in South Australia, which alas grows now more and more into the State of Animated Suspension.
The declaration ? It was this, and that from the Premier: it is DESIRED that this be a State of FREE THOUGHT! Never was promise or pronouncement more eroded; for the very land on which it was made, is no more!
Yet this, again, one must ask: this is education ? Not at all, it is in essence mischievous miseducation, which refuses to move, even when the ground is taken from under its feet, and it is sustained by taxes, which keep it flying, for a little longer.
Here then, attested in just one State on this earth, is but one of the ingredients of this down-dive. What does it resemble ? It is like a pilot, who seeing the ground coming up at a great rate, has selected some abyss, and intent on avoiding the land in his dash to earth, has gone down with an endless zeal, as if to find of depth in disaster, the very ultimate. This he does, as if this could avoid the necessary and inevitable ultimatum in the end! Alas, it merely increases it.
Depths however of understanding, they are one thing; of depravity, these are another. Things tend to proliferate: lack of understanding and rebellion readily spawn superficiality and arrogance in those mistaught, these spewing out in their turn, as if from one drunk, illicit words, illicit deeds, which then cost the State in money, what it has already cost in spirit and in mind. It is as if they make their financial books, and then themselves audit them. This serves no good thing, but thrust in public by government, tainted yet maintained in secret privacy from all rational probe, it proceeds.
Alas, such inveterate preparations look too closely at everlasting shame such as is assigned to what disdains the light of the Lord, the way of His salvation and not merely avoids its presentation with due clarity, but assails its very basis, with baseless chatter ... while youth is battered. While one can only hope for the best for any, we see the para-glider of dismal descent, rushing to its ground, and then on to its abysmal place, without light, without logic, without truth or any possibility of it.
There was certainly little sign of spiritual justice in the day of Jeremiah either, yes and of equity, there was a large decrease. In fact, clearly deplorable misuse of power was a pressing concern, apart from all else.
The thing has been long forming, as we see in the words of Micah 7:3-4, who foretold so much, and traced by inspiration the course of things right up to the coming of Christ (Micah 5:1-3), and beyond:
"The faithful man has perished from the earth,
And there is no one upright among men.
They all lie in wait for blood;
Every man hunts his brother with a net.
That they may successfully do evil with both hands—
The prince asks for gifts,
The judge seeks a bribe,
And the great man utters his evil desire;
So they scheme together.
"The best of them is like a brier;
The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge;
The day of your watchman and your punishment comes;
Now shall be their perplexity."
It is convenient in this domain, to consider the words of Jeremiah's contemporary, Zephaniah, in 3:1-5:
"Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted,
To the oppressing city!
She has not obeyed His voice,
She has not received correction;
She has not trusted in the Lord,
She has not drawn near to her God.
Her princes in her midst are roaring lions;
Her judges are evening wolves
That leave not a bone till morning.
Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people;
Her priests have polluted the sanctuary,
They have done violence to the law.
"The Lord is righteous in her midst,
He will do no unrighteousness.
Every morning He brings His justice to light;
He never fails,
But the unjust knows no shame."
Indeed, Jeremiah in 5:30-31 we find a specialised situation which assailed poor Judah:
"An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
"The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end? "
Jeremiah was speaking to a nation on the very verge of ruin. The 'end' of phase was pressing even then, the ground was rising up because the glider was going down; and although the Lord offered marvellous escape provisions, relief routes as in Jeremiah 17, yet they would not obey: they knew where they were going, filled with illusion, trusting in urbanity, pleasing themselves.
SO they went.
That nation managed to continue to its devastation, its most precious items lost, its dignity deleted, its people mistreated, its children abused (Lamentations). It did recover after 70 inglorious years in exile. Judah then went on to crucify Christ. There are many modern imitators for this folly, for it may be wrought in mind and spirit, as well as in flesh (cf. Hebrews 10).
In view of these developments from the day of Jeremiah, and the parallel with our own day, it is well to give some closer attention to Jeremiah, and this we do in the form of a watchful regard to part of Chapter 2. Here we see the divine survey of things past and to come, and the reason for things that are to develop in a relatively small compass, but one placed on a large canvas. It will enable a point by point comparison with our day with a more intimate regard to the text , and thus unfold principles of uplift, for a degrading nation in a degrading world.
THE PLEASANT PAST DEVOTION
There was a time for Israel, as for many now, when there was a certain sweetness, a kindly disposition towards the Lord, but it soured. Imagine now, if even a little earlier than Jeremiah, in the days of Ahaz, as in Ch. 1 above, there had been the heart and mind to believe and receive the good peaceful mercies of the Lord, and trusting in Him according to His word, to use the wonders He offered. ANYTHING, make it high going up, you recall was the offer to tricky Ahaz, and make it low going down: ASK! But he would not, because he did not want to trouble or tempt the Lord. Trouble the One who OFFERS by accepting! What sort of thought is that! If the LORD goes TO the trouble of offering with such strong appeal and reassurance, is it too much to ask!
If however he had asked for revival such as was to be found in the days of Jehoshaphat before him, or indeed was going to come in those of Josiah and Hezekiah to come, then what changes might have been. Where faith is absent, so is the work of God limited for man! He chooses to perform prodigies for faith, and to discipline its absence. If Ahaz had sought that a new spirit would come into the lives of the people (and IF he had been ABLE to ask for that, a new spirit would already have been in him, it would seem! and those who heard would be in a different clime), and that he himself be given strong, godly leadership, be made adequate for the challenge and that he be given counsellors of wisdom, and that righteousness return to the nation, IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED.
The offers of God are to our day, no less; and as man seeks and finds in the Lord, or in knowledgeable ignorance makes up his religions and shoves them down the throats of children, directly or indirectly, so does history unfold.
Indeed, one can see the sad process even in England. There was once the thought that the British were an amazing race (you see it clearly spelled out in Dorothy L. Sayers, in her fiction work, Thrones, Dominations, later completed by another writer, Jill Paton Walsh) where ruled the concept of dear old Britain with no theories about it all, just tolerance, sad graciousness, marvellous tact, allowing outlets for ranters and all that, but asking them not to step on the flowers or break the fences in their enthusiasms, showing the world a better way than Left or Right. This concept was written as if between the wars, as Hitler took back the Ruhr and then on a little; and there was Lord Peter Wimsey, being gracious, diplomatic, tireless, quiet, thoughtful and refined, the spirit idea of what was needed to GOVERN the thing.
Govern it ? But for what do you govern a car when the occupants are nice, and speak loudly out of the windows into the wind occasionally, and are tactful, and forbearing, and do not nudge each other too hard, with the elbow ? The question, for all the good manners, and even if you can manage it, good breeding, is WHERE YOU ARE GOING ? To what point do you drive.
To be sure, the Hitlers, Stalins and Mao, vast tyrants whose deadly drives and multiplied massacres some dare call leadership, endless exemplars of all that is base in man, million-murder maestros of the FALSE direction, proponents of evolution, leaders misled, imagining force is the finale and thrust the theme: they are as wrong as an incensed and spoiled child. Their theories do not, as they did not, work: China today has simply totalitarian capitalism and irksome neo-feudalism for the rural masses, with lords centralised, but represented by Party outposts, with desperate poverty showing the worst of such materialistic preoccupations. So do they physically oppress, while they assume their minds are valid while removing any possible ground for such a concept, fluttery, flighty remnants of oddities that arrive from nowhere, for no reason, and then go on to do the stuff which makes heaven on earth become in fact hell.
Whatever scientific theory was even infinitely wrong ? Science can manage that, but politics makes a welter of it*2.
Going somewhere ?
While Christ has been declined by increasing numbers of those brigades dedicated
the gods of forces*3,
¨ who appear bent to the ignoring of the divine creation,
¨ the intelligence in it, the wisdom and the provisions of truth,
¨ along with the necessities of peace in the realities of mercy, found in the personal God
¨ who invented man's spirit and power to choose, and his very willingness to will,
¨ whether in acknowledged perversity or realised sacrifice:
yet no aristocracy is at hand to ... represent Him.
Having forsaken heaven, and having no place on earth, they plunge, guideless in their witless guile, to the abyss. The ground of grace being forgotten, the fact of it, amid the wind of the unguided missile, decreases like altitude!
You see something of that endless vacuity in the sombre and literally grave scenes in Ezekiel 32:17ff.:
"It came to pass also in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
'Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt,
And cast them down to the depths of the earth,
Her and the daughters of the famous nations,
With those who go down to the Pit:
"Whom do you surpass in beauty?
Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised."
'They shall fall in the midst of those slain by the sword;
She is delivered to the sword,
Drawing her and all her multitudes.
The strong among the mighty
Shall speak to him out of the midst of hell
With those who help him:
"They have gone down,
They lie with the uncircumcised, slain by the sword."
'Assyria is there, and all her company,
With their graves all around her,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword.
Her graves are set in the recesses of the Pit,
And her company is all around her grave,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword,
Who caused terror in the land of the living.
'There is Elam and all her multitude,
All around her grave,
All of them slain, fallen by the sword,
Who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth,
Who caused their terror in the land of the living;
Now they bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit.
'They have set her bed in the midst of the slain,
With all her multitude,
With her graves all around it,
All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword;
Though their terror was caused
In the land of the living,
Yet they bear their shame
With those who go down to the Pit;
It was put in the midst of the slain.
'There are Meshech and Tubal and all their multitudes,
With all their graves around it,
All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword,
Though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
'They do not lie with the mighty
Who are fallen of the uncircumcised,
Who have gone down to hell with their weapons of war;
They have laid their swords under their heads,
But their iniquities will be on their bones,
Because of the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
'Yes, you shall be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised,
And lie with those slain by the sword.
'There is Edom,
Her kings and all her princes,
Who despite their might
Are laid beside those slain by the sword;
They shall lie with the uncircumcised,
And with those who go down to the Pit.
'There are the princes of the north,
All of them, and all the Sidonians,
Who have gone down with the slain
In shame at the terror which they caused by their might;
They lie uncircumcised with those slain by the sword,
And bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit.
'Pharaoh will see them
And be comforted over all his multitude,
Pharaoh and all his army,
Slain by the sword,'
Says the Lord God.
'For I have caused My terror in the land of the living;
And he shall be placed in the midst of the uncircumcised
With those slain by the sword,
Pharaoh and all his multitude,'
Says the Lord God.' "
He is GOD and not able to have non-infinite substitutes, far less those who ignore His moral code, invent ideals and muddle them with the religions of other peoples, whose venom increasingly becomes a part of an undirected national character. As the First War departed, and the residue remained, we see the trend of many in England, for example. They wanted character instead of Christ - it was more convenient ? therefore must they lose it. There is no insurance when God is exempted, or made a word, whether for emotional blasphemy or idiotic mutations from the mind of His own product!
Direction and meaning is needed, and for that truth, and for that, objective, self-declaring truth, and for that, the Maker of man, and for that the evidence of it, and for that the Bible and Jesus Christ, the age-old and the sudden salvation, consummating all on the Cross and the resurrection. This last was not only that of a corpse, a relatively small thing as done often enough by Christ in His own life-time, but the deployment of a power which was one of the main precipitants of the decision to slaughter Him (John 11).
With that power over body, so eloquently shown in its place in Mark 2's report, there was power t o pardon and so an end to the hideous pretensions of those who themselves with to arrogate the power of God for their own diminutive and often signally and scathingly exposed purposes, as seen in the Bible (cf. John 11, Jeremiah 5, Psalm 50).
All power and all truth is much too much for the digestion of rebels from reality.
Reason however requires this truth, and this truth requires through verification, its validation (cf. *1 below). To withhold it is merely to be like some failed logic student, determined to be original even if every single canon of logic must be broken to achieve it! It is amusing, its results are tragic, and its end is death for the nation, with disruption for the world that so defiles itself with dereliction of duty, omission of truth and so, mangling of mercy.
Let us however, return to the case and the presentation as we find it in Jeremiah 2, and follow the score for the opera, the divine opera, the works of God in the face of merciless confusion on the part of man, as He offered mercy. There, it was still to come, very shortly after Jeremiah spoke; but for us, it is long since past, and it enables us to sense the flair of the thing, and to compare with more objectivity of regard, and less presumptive innocence and assurance, the case of our own generation, land and history.
First, in His challenge, having reviewed the former sweeter times, He poses for them a question.
II THE CUMULATIVE CONSEQUENCES
i) What Injustice has the Lord done ?
What charges can you bring to defend your slippage into sin, your proud foot or your slack hand ? What rubbish has replaced reality, what ruin has glorified itself, like a Parthenon of idols, a dead skeleton, an overworked shell! Cite it then! Say it, and prove it, come to the court and maintain your cause, showing how divinely divulged promises lie unmet, how the Lord said one thing and did another, how you sought with a full heart and a willing spirit, like David of old, and behold, all you got was a broken covenant. Come, show that it was God and not yourself who failed! Is it so ? Is there one single, far less singular case ? Were you not TOLD, and did you not with overwhelming ingratitude FAIL to bother, until it became a bore to pretend!
Come, then, show it wrong if you can.
ii) What a delinquent memory! 2:6-8
The Lord brought Israel to an inheritance prepared, moral truth was not foreign, it did not need to be imported, the power of God did not have to be imagined, the land was built on it, the laws were made for it, the truth shouted at the street corners, the offer of life was made plain as if on page one headlines in the papers, the land was built on the ways of God; and it flourished in His goodness. This is history and it is fact, Jeremiah announces to the people.
iii) What disorderly disdain 2:7-8
But what serpent's teeth of ingratitude molested the nation! What careless disregard or sniggering evasion came, what ennoblement of folly and what amours of the ways of other lands, destitute of wisdom, while the spiritual capital was spent as if it were the height of wisdom to become spiritually broke!
Like a building on sand, with replaced foundations, the land prepared to tilt, made ready for ruin.
Moral collapse, inventiveness misapplied to making false gods, foolish desires forsaking truth, these were the new ways, as if national sport or pastime, while preachers without divinely inspired messages, novelty-makers came masquerading as men of God: these were heeded then, as now they are in this our own land.
Yet for all that, such speakers were and are without God, not even knowing Him! Other religions, snippety-bits of forlorn follies were elevated, as in South Australia's Education field, as if they could stand. What are these absurd pontifications, these productions of an unanointed papacy, if possible more absurd than any other, claiming the mastery over all, and teaching its own will, without basis, defence or willingness to be confronted in public debate.
What is this cartoon in literary format, this Circular to Principals of January 5, 1988, clinging to life like some corpse elevated and set on pillows, embalmed and then unwrapped to serve another life-time by pretence! It is mere babble, a clowning comedy, which does not seem to realise its post, a bomb on religion, which to be sure, some may conceivably be glad to have, feeling frustrated anyway; but when it comes to the truth, this is mere delinquency, so to speak and so to libel Jesus Christ. NOTHING of the verifiable scientific type, they say, is in religion, for it is myths, legends and meaning stories, a value compendium or something such. That is mere perversity, talk into air, relativism becoming absolutist, the usual philosophic parody of reason, where no one else CAN know, but you DO know and tell them why it is that none of them CAN know.
Thus do they, by inference if not intention, play God.
They are but air, and spiritually communicable diseases are fostered as the land is laid waste: it was so then, just as it now remains the case here. The results are social ruin, a lavish supply of loutish lumps for young people, selfish scavengers, foxes, wolves, frenzied dancers and not faithfulness: it is this, without faith, without focus, without foundations that do not crack, which infests, infects the land.
iv) Then reverse charges 2:9
There is no charge against the Lord, whose sacrificial system then, as Calvary now, which has entirely replaced it, has spoken of His mercy, if only faith were directed to Him (as in Deuteronomy 29:14-20). However there IS a charge BY the Lord! The case for complaint rests, but the case for divine displeasure does not, and cannot rest; and it is failure to rest in Him which produces the restlessness, the researches into the best ways to handle sin, instead of stopping and awakening and reviving with the Lord Himself, the greatest of all physicians! This was not just for then; for just as the results of life eternal were beginning to be shown in the land (as in Psalm 17), so now the results of national weakness, like cracks in the tail plane of some vast new aircraft, appear. There is no solace, no solution without the Saviour, nor has there ever been from the day man flirted and fell for sin; nor is there any other Saviour, search the world as you may.
III THE FREE SNOW WATER TRADE FOR CRACKED WELLS
Who has heard of such a thing ? False religions ruin many a nation, and they go like those on a snow mobile, rocketing down a prepared track, surging to disaster, overturning in their haste. They did it then, they do it now.
In our day, they may add Buddhism to Islam and vice versa, the worship of what declares there is no God, or the worship of what adopts the Old Testament prophets and then denies their message of redemption: this is nothing. Here however is a nation which changes its Glory, power with glory, goodness with righteousness, freedom with faith, the definition of Deity by Himself, in the God of revelation - and we in Australia have long been blessed with its very consummation in Jesus Christ of Calvary. And for what is the knowledge of God exchanged ? - then as now, it is for unprofitable myths, man-made parallels to the pollutions of those who have elsewhere never constructed their nations on the God of truth!
Let the universe lament, the heavens weep! Desolation is decreed for madness, and it is not by the pursuit of it that relief can come! TWIN EVILS arrive, like an earthquake and tornado together. The people have forsaken the Lord, they decline to know Him, inventing this and that philosophic muddle, religious fraud, and turn their backs on the Lord! With itching ears they have no ability to stand sound doctrine, like whimpering dogs (as for our day in parallel predicted by Paul in II Tim.3-4). Formalism for the many is about as far as it goes; fact in faith, reality in worship is bled white in the land. Now many churches invent new horrors of malpractice, yet people stay.
Not only have they forsaken the Lord (2:13), the fountain of living waters, the free source of power, vitality, validity, meaning for man, truth, mercy, pardon, the love that instituted human love (I John 4); not only have they forgotten the security of adequate spiritual water supply, cool, abundant, melted snow in its purity for the spirit: but instead of this, what have they bought for themselves ? Is it not mere dug-out containers, cracked ones at that, that could not hold the water of life, even it they had it! Doubly desecrating, they are doubly ruined. They do not find life (John 3:36), and the containers for their misled minds and sullied spirits could not hold life even if it came. They are a bundle of ruin, a people without relief, awaiting divine judgment like students who come to examination with no knowledge of their subject: and OUR subject is the LORD HIMSELF!
Ah, that they would remember Him who remembers them! that they would come to the source of spiritual water like the woman at the well in Samaria, and however hot the way, however desecrated the land, find in Him the fountain of living waters (John 4:14), waters that do not stop with you in time or place, but well up to eternal life and flow from you to bring abundant blessing to others (John 7:37)! If Israel was amiss, what of those who reject the Lord incarnate for their myths, legends and the like, which as in S.A. in its schools of the government they even officially declare to be their idea of religion, forsaken, soiled, the very exemplar of where not to go!
How CAN you SAY, I am not polluted ? asks the Lord (Jeremiah 2:23), and the basis for the charge is there, as it was then so now. Not polluted! they cry, while they continue with songs of seductive harlotry of religion, baseless beliefs, madness that knows what none can know, even by its own evaluation, and then declares this wonderful find from the void, so that what they say is hidden from their eyes, being all a void, becomes a standard and a rule, imperial, proclamatory, sure!
How brilliant is their ruin, how the dame of ruined morals pouts here way into oblivion! Is it thought for one moment that this evasion of truth, which declares truth as if it were some rote, will live except as a species of death, like the faded perfumes and smeared powders of slithery seduction only for the debased!
Had not that land of Israel, and has not this our land of today, been like a virgin who forgets she was married, and days without number, now flouts her wares, unwary, without wisdom, a derelict! She who had virtue now becomes a teacher of immorality, a senile snare! As the lives of many are befouled by this corrupt teaching, whether by false prophet direct or fallen kings then, or by fallen governments who love to be elected now, is it not one ? Blatantly in this land, many declare their wickedness and fallen churches nod, as if sleep were their vitality, and unwisdom their doctrine!
What, they ask, is it really necessary to change ?
and they yawn, and turn over and sleep some more.
Is anything really needed about the religious backgrounds of academies of schools ?
they seem to mumble, as they seem not even to see those seduced by specious dreams, so often pushed upon them like 'ecstasy', feeble drugs for enfeebled minds, blinds for darkened houses ...
Do we really need to open up our minds and think at all ?
their ways seem sleepily to suggest.
Yet is it necessary to revert in things religious, from the scientistic to the scientific!
Does it matter so very much ? Surely we have loved to stray,
they seem to say by their deeds, and will stray all day, yes this and the next!
So do we find horrid grounds for unwelcome parallel to this day, from the day of Jeremiah, as he charged, in Jeremiah 2:23,32-35.
Humanism harrumphs over the ludicrous pretences and pretensions this creates,
being a creation itself of a mind which was created that it might have reason
and become aware of its provisions,
and so operate in a system penetrable by reason,
and be able to give reasons, even if necessary
choose them erroneously, for unrighteousness.
This it does, and produces its idols,
as if being able to reason made anything right by mere desire,
and stark irrationality were a comrade,
believing system the spawn of non-system, non-system the spawn of nothing,
and all the spawn of whatever it is that spawns,
this itself unspawned in a spawning world,
which gained such prodigious powers from nothing,
which does not exist, but
which nevertheless is the apparent limit of their vision!
So do these dabblers delight in the charisma of a race which invents itself in the mind, and disdains the actualities of reason and evidence alike (cf. SMR pp. 140-150).
In this odyssey of vacuous adventurism, they move like dancers, whose toes becoming sore, collapse into negation of all that is not man, and affirmation of all that is, making circumstance king, and its provision illegal; for it is forbidden in this State, to REASON evidentially and cogently in the realm of God, in the schools which it ... supports ?
It was so in ancient Israel, this vacuity, this irrationality, this worship of their own wills, this sewing of it all up together, as we noted in Jeremiah 5:30-31; but social consensus is neither the lord of reason nor the arbiter of actuality. It does not work, however passionate its desire, and what is lost is not to be gained by mere self-affirmation.
God is thus axed quite as really as in the crucifixion; and as to that, both that same crucifixion and this derivative model are foretold, as you see in Joyful Jottings 22 -25, SMR Chs. 8-9, and Romans 1, II Timothy 3-4, II Peter 2, Jude. The Jew bowing - leaves the way to the Gentile, who bowing, leaves the way to such gods as those of mystic humanism, where mist is mandatory (cf. SMR pp. 750Bff. at 731). Each makes way for the other, and the one may despise the other, before engaging in so stark an imitation that it seems almost plagiarism; so that both fall, and all of these partners in spiritual degradation, just as Paul foretold in Romans 11.
But then, from both Jew and Gentile, some arise from the darkness of denials that affirm self and man, and ignore the Maker, in practice, theory or both; and some show themselves in their day, awake to the Lord, and are done with the drunken somnolences which are the death cry of dying nations. This too is similar, in both cases, that where this does not occur, yet the approach of calamity often appears to them a quaint idea, impossible to consider, so vast are the confidences of man in himself, and so unwilling is he to test the realities and note the result. If at other times, psychatrists for this mode, become a sort of social convention, a cover-up for spiritual inadequacy, as note of Jung in SMR Ch. 4, this too becomes part of the spiritual sin and syntax.
One result then becomes increasing sure: saltlessness, unseemly substitutes for truth, misuse of these prodigies of creation, multiplied in the human frame, of that marvel of analytical ability, the human mind, of that mirror of divine freedom, with its appointed limits, the human spirit. For all this, as it reaches its crest, there comes an end. Its precise ingredients were long ago foretold, and before the eyes of this generation, precisely unfold, because not 'religion', but the truth, told by God in the Christian Bible, IS testable, and man himself is testable, and the result, without mercy is detestable.
Forsaken is the Lord by many, but is He by you forgotten ? Remember Him then this day, in the midst of follies unspeakable, and bring with you words as in Hosea 14:
"Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him,
‘Take away all iniquity, receive us graciously,
for we will offer the sacrifice of our lips.’ “
When you know the Lord, you do not need the drugs of irrationalism, the flirtations of sick spirits, the delusions of delinquent minds, the misuse of authority to disadvantage those not yet fallen, the refusal to debate, even on the part of the Government responsible, as in this State of SA which, though advanced in the race to this abysmal end, is yet not wholly atytpical.
When you know Him, ypu are fearless because there is nothing to fear, and can dare to be faithful because faithful is He who calls you, and choice is His land, fertile His faith, and beautiful His salvation! As to His life, being the Life Source, it is endless, for it has no limits, and imposed our own, the Eternal Existent One, on whose eternity alone, can anything temporal stand, delimited by its Maker and created in its endless seeming integral designations, by His mind. This is the eternal life which Jesus Christ exhibited, both in pardon and resurrection, and it is to this that man is invited, to soar not on inflatable and falterings wings, but in the sure celestial realm of the Maker.
They had then, as do we now, to consider the fruit of it all (Hosea 14:3-6); so find the Lord where He may be found (Isaiah 55), and drink of His divinely healing waters freely. Before the waters is the blood, and in the blood is the ransom for your souls (Matthew 20:28), and with the ransom is the realisation of truth, for He is not only the way and the life, but the truth also! (John 14:6). He omits nothing.
Close with Christ, and being with Him, rejoice in Him, and let forgetfulness be erased.
Note: For more on the South Australian religious sacrilege, long pursued by successive governments, see y.html. See also, The gods of naturalism have no go!
See More Marvels ... Ch. 4,
SMR pp. 50ff., 91, 1080ff., 1186A,
Divine Agenda Ch. 6,
Bon Voyage Ch. 2, *10A, *11A.,
Lord of Life Ch. 3.
See Highway to Hell, SMR pp. 1032-1088H and Indexes on Romanism.
See That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 8.
See also for similar declension and that self-contradictory absolutism which makes ranters out of even official sources, in the Victorian case, documented in 1977:
LEAD US NOT INTO EDUCATIONAL TEMPTATION
See in addition:
DESIRE OF THE NATIONS Ch. 3,
THE MAJESTIC MIGHT Ch. 6, as marked,
with That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 8, at the point
where the actual document of the SA Education Department (now the DECS)
is considered as from 1988, with its critique throughout that Chapter.
See further, Ch. 16 of The Child, The Youth and the Eternal Youth, February 2006.
See for example:
TMR Ch. 5, Barbs ... 6 -7,
The gods of naturalism have no go!
Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host,
Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation,
REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER,
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy.
Aviary of Idolatry,
97 (the exploiters, the fanciful,
the Communists, the de-godders and the realities),
Tender Times for Timely Truth
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 2; SMR pp. 925ff.;
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic
5 (the shape of things)
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 6 (and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern),
with News 98, News 37.
For the concept of 'god of forces', a biblical phrase, see:
SMR pp. 49, 233, 809, 877-878, 911, 1077, 707ff.