Points to Ponder: Could That Be You?
Points to Ponder
Could That Be You?
Do you ever think that that could be you?
When you watch a movie, don't you tend to identify with the hero; or at least see the whole story from his/her perspective? Have you ever seen more of yourself in the "bad guy?" We want to be the heroes, the good guys, never the villains.
The prophet Jeremiah warns his people of their wicked ways and the coming judgment of God. Those of us who know the stories may read of the hardheadedness and hardheartedness of God's people in that day and think, "What's up with these people? Why didn't they get a clue? Worshiping idols is just stupid. God is so obviously the real and only God!" On and on we go, standing alongside the godly prophet saying confidently, "Yeah, Jerry, you got that right. We're in total agreement with you . . . "
In frustration, the prophet speaks:
"To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it." (Jeremiah 6:10)
Do you ever see yourself as the one with "uncircumcised ears?" Circumcision represented the covenant bond between the people and God. These people are listening to God's Word because though they were physically circumcised and born into the line of Abraham's descendants, their hearts did not belong to God. Thus they would not and could not receive the Word of God and truly respond to it with their hearts and minds. Have you ever thought like that? Have you ever been personally offended by the Word of the Lord, despising its truth and turning away from it? Do you recall a time when you knew God had just spoken to your spirit about something and you intentionally shut it out?
In teaching, preaching, and in practice, churches and their members are elevating into leadership individuals who look at the Lord's work not as service, but "serve us." So it was in Jeremiah's time, leading up to the prophesied judgment of Judah. The Lord sent Babylonia to conquer the land and carry the people into exile.
"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 5:30-31).
What will we do? How close is the end? The self-deceived rarely see it coming. In Jeremiah's time the religious and political leaders despised him for his messages. Read through the book and see the clashes that occur. Neither the destruction of the temple and the city had to happen as it did. But they would not heed the warnings in the Word of God.
The same was true in Jesus' time. When you read the gospels and His encounters with the scribes and Pharisees, do you ever identify with the Pharisees?
Or suppose, as you read on and study the accounts where Jesus calls people to follow Him, do you identify with those who put conditions on their discipleship?
"Let me go home and say bye first."
"Let me first bury my father, then I'll come."
Or do you identify with those who heard the invitation but had other priorities? In a portion of one of the parables, Jesus compared His Kingdom to a king's wedding banquet for his son.
"Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding." ' "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business."
How about the twelve? Do you ever identify yourself as being like some of them? A lot of us relate to "doubting Thomas." Others of us see a lot of ourselves in the antics and impulsiveness of Peter. But, how about Judas? He seemed to have his own ideas about what the Messiah, the Christ, was supposed to be and do? There is much speculation as to the motive behind his betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, but one popular view is that he was trying to force Jesus' hand. He followed Jesus, listened to all His sermons, and went on the mission trips to heal and to preach. In one sense he was a believer and a disciple. But he didn't really belong to Jesus Christ. He expected Jesus to meet his standards and expectations; and when that didn't happen, he didn't humble himself and check his own motives. Instead of being "sold out for Christ," he sold out Christ. Can you identify with Judas? Don't you think that you could betray the Lord? My emphasis on the above question is on the word think. When you come to the scriptures in private devotions, a Bible study, or hearing it in a sermon, do you ever think about the truth you are hearing or reading from the perspective of the one who is resisting it?
My point to ponder on this regard is basically this: how do you know you are not the one with "uncircumcised ears," or the one missing the call because of lesser priorities, or the Pharisee, or even Judas - unless you think through how you are really responding to what Christ and the Word of God are saying to you? Could that be you?
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD