Yesterday’s study focused on Jeremiah 6:14. This article continues the thought and theme by looking into verse 15. After condemning those who cried, “Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14), God’s words continue. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed; neither could they blush. Therefore, they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord” (Jer. 6:15).
God’s words were quite powerful in this verse. Those who preached falsely about peace were so arrogant they were not ashamed when confronted with their error. God said they could not even “blush”! The word “blush” in this verse means the same as we use it today. It has to do with one being hurt or ashamed of what one has done. Godly sorrow will produce “blushing” when we are genuinely hurt and ashamed of the sins we have committed before God. One who “blushes” over his sin will make a genuine effort to repent and leave that action in the past (II Cor. 7:10). In the context of Jeremiah 6, the people had preached falsely, and they didn’t care about that. They were confronted with the truth, and they did not allow it to affect them. They weren’t embarrassed at all! The apostle Paul said he knew some whose “end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. ” (Phil. 3:19, ESV). That kind of sounds like the people Jeremiah faced. Can you blush?
Have you ever been told that you ought to be ashamed of yourself because of something you have done or said? If not, then this is part of the problem we face today - just like Jeremiah’s generation faced! Friend, there are actions we do and words we speak that should cause shame in our lives. The apostle Paul said that after folks had become Christians, they then looked back on their former lives with shame (Rom. 6:20-23). This is normal and right to be embarrassed over sins we have committed. Now, is this us? Can you blush?
Just like in Jeremiah’s time, we have raised a generation of people who do not blush over sin and wrongdoing. There is an older generation telling the younger ones to “accept your truth,” whatever that means. There is an older generation telling our young ones not to worry about sin because “no one has the right to judge you” and “do what you feel is right.” Since people listen to this, then they have no concept of what is right or wrong. When the truth is preached, they do not blush. They are not ashamed. They simply parrot their mentors and ask, “Who are you to judge me?” Or they tell the one who loves them and exposes the truth (Eph. 4:15, 5:11) that he needs to “clean up your own yard and stay out of mine.” Can you blush?
If we can’t blush, if we do not feel shame and hurt over our sins, how will we ever repent of our sins before Christ (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38)? Truly, those folks in Jeremiah’s time stood in rebellion against God (Jer. 6:14-15), as do we if we will not stop and consider the seriousness of our sins before a sinless God (Rom. 3:23)! Can you blush?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
I Samuel 16:7 tells us that God does not see things the way man does (Ps. 139:2). There is no denying this fact if we know anything about the Bible and what it reveals about the mind of God. Today, instead of writing a long article detailing the teaching in these verses, I thought I would make a chart that contrasts God’s wisdom with man’s wisdom.
Please study the chart below. Note the contrasts between God’s wisdom and man’s, and then decide who you will follow.
A good name is better than riches (v. 1).
Riches are the most important thing -- better than one’s reputation.
Our death day is better than our birthday (v. 1).
The day of death is the worst day of one’s life (with only a few exceptions, such as an incurable, painful disease).
The house of mourning is better than the house of feasting (v. 2).
Feasting is better than mourning.
Sorrow is better than laughter (v. 3).
Laughter is better than sorrow.
Wise men are in the house of mourning (v. 4).
Wise men are in the house of mirth.
It is better to hear the wise man’s rebuke (v. 5).
It is better to hear encouragement.
The laughter of fools is as vain as expecting thorns to provide heat (v. 6).
The laughter of fools is to be desired.
Accepting bribes will corrupt you (v. 7)
There is nothing wrong with getting money “under the table” from time to time.
The end of a thing is better than the beginning (v. 8).
The beginning is better than the end.
The patient is better than the proud (v. 8).
Being proud is better than being patient.
Be slow to anger. Anger rests with the fools (v. 9; Jas. 1:19).
Becoming angry and “cracking heads” gets things done.
Don’t live in the past (v. 10).
The “good ol’ days” are better than what we have today.
This list from Ecclesiastes 7 teaches us much. Notice how these Bible facts from Ecclesiastes show that man’s ideas stand polar opposite to God’s intent. I find it interesting that the apostle Paul taught a very similar thing in I Corinthians 1:18-31 when he spoke of the preaching of the cross.
The ultimate question we must answer is: To whom will we listen? Will we listen to the world and follow “conventional wisdom” or listen to God and turn man’s wisdom on its head? Remember what David said about God’s wisdom (Ps. 119:98-100)? Listen to him! At the end of the day, we must decide for ourselves, and must face the consequences of that decision. As for me and my house, we want to listen to God. Who will you follow, friend?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Ecclesiastes 4:9 reminds us that, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Solomon says that two are better than one because if one falls, the other can pick him up (v. 10). Two together bring (beneficial) heat (v. 11), and two and even three together can withstand enemies when they come (v. 12).
This section of Ecclesiastes reminds us that man is a social creature. God made man in such a way that he needs the companionship of others. Companionship is one reason for marriage (Gen. 2:18). Some consider it the main reason for marriage, and I would not disagree. Companionship is why we have friends (Prov. 18:24). Refusing friendships and social interaction with others is not normal to our way of life, and is why it is so odd when someone wishes to be a “hermit.” While it is true that men need to be alone at times, this person cannot live like this for months and years at a time and remain healthy.
In his writing, Solomon tells us that there is a need for companionship. We must have those who will support, care, love, and keep us in “check.” Do you have someone like this in your life? If you have more than one person who fills this role, you are truly blessed.
Do you fill this role for others? What kind of friend are you? “Two are better than one” is true, so long as both people have the same goals! We need people that are going to help us go to Heaven. This is necessary with our friends, and it is especially needed when we are choosing a mate (Matt. 19:4-6). We need a spouse who will help us go to Heaven so that we can be “heirs together of the grace of life” (I Pet. 3:7).
Satan tries his best to tempt us and lure us away from the Lord. Peter describes him as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). One way the lion devours is by finding the weak, the young, the ones who cannot stay with the “herd” and killing and devouring his prey. It is the same today, spiritually. Thus, a reason we need others is that we might help one another fight Satan’s advances. If one would fall (spiritually), his friend can help lift him up and get him back on the right track (Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20).
Who are your friends?
Is Jesus your friend (Jn. 14:15, 15:14)? Remember, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Now, read Romans 5:6-8. Christ had shown Himself to be a friend before we ever loved Him. How are you treating Him now?
If Christ is your friend:
- You will have a “good reward for your labor” (Ecc. 4:9; I Cor. 15:58; II Tim. 4:8).
- He will lift you up (Ecc. 4:10; Jas. 4:10; I Pet. 5:6).
- He will benefit us on earth as well as in Heaven (Ecc. 4:11; Matt. 6:25-33; Rev. 22:14).
- He will help us prevail over Satan (Ecc. 4:12; Jas. 4:7-8; I Cor. 15:57).
“Two are better than one.” Who are your friends?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
II Peter 3:3 warns about “scoffers, walking after their own lust” who would come and question whether or not the Lord would return because “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (v. 4). What are “scoffers”? What is their work? Why was the Holy Spirit, through Peter, warning Christians about them?
According to Mr. Strong, the word “scoffer” means, “a derider, by implication a false teacher, mocker.” For further clarification, to “deride” someone is “to laugh at in scorn or contempt” (Dictionary.com). In the text, Peter warns of those who will laugh or mock at the idea of the Lord’s second coming. They don’t think it is real and scoff, make fun of, or mock those who speak the truth.
Let’s make this a little more general for our article. Have you ever had someone scoff at you (make fun of, mock) for merely speaking the truth of God’s word? How did that make you feel? One way the devil works is to scoff or make fun of us when we know we are right. This affects our senses and causes us to either question our beliefs or simply be scared to express them. Through scoffing, people can be made to stop speaking the truth. This was the intention of scoffers in the first century, and it is the intention of scoffers today.
When I speak the truth from God’s word (I Pet. 4:11; II Tim. 4:2), and people call me a “Pharisee,” “legalist,” “literalist,” and the like, this is scoffing. When they say that I am “too narrow,” or am too bold, this is scoffing as well. It should be apparent that scoffing occurs when people curse and say wicked things to insult me. Please note that when people do such things and call names, make fun of, sneer, and the like, they have done NOTHING to prove their point! This is a lesson I had to learn quickly in preaching. Having added my work on the internet, and coming in contact with “internet trolls,” the scoffing has reached new levels! In almost 30 years of preaching, though, I have come to terms with the fact that just because someone screams at you or knows how to make cutting remarks does not mean he has the truth on his side! It is usually the opposite.
Being mocked and ridiculed does not feel good, but for those who respect God’s authority (Col. 3:17), speak His truth (II Tim. 4:2), and are determined to live it (I Tim. 4:12, 16; Phil. 4:9; I Cor. 15:58), this is a way of life! The darkness hates the light and hates those who are in the light (Jn. 3:19-21). Why should I be surprised at these people’s actions when I speak the truth that brings light to the world (Ps. 119:105)? Scoffers were there to unjustly criticize my Lord (Jn. 7:7). Why should I expect different treatment (Jn. 15:18-20; II Tim. 3:12)?
Let these words encourage the hurt, and those who have been unjustly criticized, to keep on keeping on. “Preach the Word” (II Tim. 4:2)! Stand “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10)! Stand firm on the Lord’s word and do not waver! Scoffers will come and go, but “the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (I Pet. 1:25). We can make it! We can be faithful to God (Rev. 2:10), and look forward to God’s reward when this life is over (II Tim. 4:6-8)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Peter warning against false teachers is a major theme in II Peter 2. After reminding the Christians that God knows how to punish false teachers while delivering the godly (v. 3-9), he focuses on the consequences of the false teacher’s work. It isn’t pretty. One thing we see is that false teachers’ actions are compared to Balaam. Peter says that these people are, “Cursed children which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity ...” (II Pet. 2:14-16). Balaam’s sinful actions are also referred to by Jude (Jude 11) and Jesus (Rev. 2:14).
Who was Balaam, and why should false teachers be compared to him? Balaam was a Gentile, and also a prophet. It’s apparent that God talked to him and told him what to say to the representatives of Balak (Num. 22:6-14). Perhaps God had talked to him on other occasions, but we’re sure He spoke to Balaam in this context. In fact, Balaam even spoke a Messianic prophecy (Num. 24:17-19)! Numbers 22-24 and chapter 31 record Balaam’s work and ultimate end in the greatest detail. Please spend some time reading Numbers for a deeper understanding of Balaam.
Balaam’s command from God was, “Don’t go with the elders of Moab and Midian to Balak’s house, and don’t curse Israel.” Throughout this event, Balaam was quick to say that he wouldn’t curse Israel even if he could receive Balak’s house “full of silver and gold” (Num. 22:18, 23:24-26, 24:11-13). At the same time, it is apparent that the “wages of unrighteousness” (II Pet. 2:16) had a strong appeal to him. Therefore, after refusing to go with the elders the first night, when they returned, and he talked to God again, he was ready to go with them the next morning (Num. 22:21) even though this wasn’t what God had allowed (v. 20).
Notice that Balaam tried to figure out a way “around” God’s word when he joined the elders who took him to Balak. He would do a similar thing when he told Balak how to harm the Israelites without actually pronouncing a curse on them (Num. 31:14-16; Num. 25; etc.).
What can we learn from this? One thing is that false teachers try to find ways “around” God’s word. Many are quick to agree with what the Bible says, but they try to maneuver themselves into a position where they can do what they want as well. This was Balaam. No, he would never blatantly curse God’s people, yet he found a way to cause them to be punished by God whereby 24,000 died in a plague. Did this not play into Balak’s plans? Men today do a similar thing when they twist God’s word to their own destruction (II Pet. 3:16). When we follow after false doctrines, then we will be punished (Ezek. 18:20). The false teacher will answer for his wrong, and so will we when we follow after him!
Peter says, do not end up as a “cursed” instead of a blessed child! Don’t walk in the way of Balaam, looking for “loopholes” or ways around what God has said. Accept what the Lord has said, believe it and obey it and tell it to others, and watch your blessings increase!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs