Downfall starts with division (v.3)
Division from God & His Word:
Sin divides us from God. I’ve heard it described by Graham Cooke like this: My son will always be my son. When he’s done something wrong it doesn’t change the bloodline, doesn’t change the relational truth that he’s my son, but it damages fellowship for a time. God’s blessings for us are blocked by the sin our life. Am I talking about an occasional cuss word that slips out, No, but God is talking about the sin we won’t let go of, the sin that is greater to us than God! He is talking about our hearts. In v.7 it says: “She spouts evil like a fountain!”, which connected directly to “Out of the mouth the heart speaks” Matt.15:11
What is coming out of our mouths? A great thing to try is to write down what we say. That will reveal some things for sure. What do we desire more than God? I’ve heard it also said that you can tell where someone’s heart is by their bank account statement – what we spend the most money on is usually an indicator on where our heart and mind is. What takes priority in our life – even over time with God?
Division from other believers:
Divided is the Church right now – fractured into pieces over useless manmade ideas and notions that are not even salvation issues, but God knows how to fit them back together, and I am seeing a shift in believer’s hearts to put away the dividers and look on each other as brothers, but more than that even – People are starting to seek out God’s presence no matter what denominational lines they have to cross. God’s Presence being the ruling desire of their hearts, not man, not denomination, no more allegiance to anything, but God! That is encouraging!
Unity is a word God has already been speaking into the Body and I believe that as it says in v.10 “But who will listen when I warn them? Their ears are closed and they refuse to hear. The word of God has angered them; they don’t want it at all.”
The Word of God is our unification, when He speaks we should ALL listen and act accordingly. One thing the Word says is to be united with our fellow believers, to not forsake gathering together with each other. The Word doesn’t specify denominational disqualifications or boundary lines or even the size of the crowd that is to gather – I believe it speaks to being united with each other period, that a believer is a believer!
In the world, companies and organizations have banners that state who they are, the employees use these to let people know who they work for, and are associated with. Jesus Christ is the banner for every believer, we stand with Him or we don’t. He is the only banner that we should care about when looking at others.
Leaders, Pastors, Prophets, Priests are divided from God:
In v. 3 is speaks of Shepherds setting up camp and surrounding the city, to divide the pastures/flocks, and they prepare for battle. I am so very sad to say that Shepherds in this verse is H7462, which does mean Teacher, Pastor, Ruler.
In v.13 it says: “They are swindlers and liars, from the least of them right to the top! Yes, even my prophets and priests!”
v.14 “Yet the priests and prophets give assurances of peace when all is war”
Just because they are at the pulpit, it doesn’t mean they are of God. I don’t understand the why’s of how these people obtain that position or how they were blinded, but we need to bring it all back to God. If the Pastor is our Rock we are in trouble, if our Pastor is the only one who speaks Truth we are in trouble. Pastors, Teachers, Leaders are all HUMAN! God must be our Rock, Teacher, Pastor, Truth; He and His Word of Truth is the anchor for us against the strong forces that try to blow us off course. Discernment, rooted in scripture, will reveal the Truth.
There are such wonderful Pastors, Teachers, Leaders out there, don’t get me wrong, but we cannot put them over God in our hearts and minds. God has given us all ears to hear Him and expects us to use them, not just default to whoever is speaking loudest.
No Division between Believers and the World:
v. 15 “Were my people ashamed when they worshiped idols? No, not at all – they didn’t even blush.”
In Bible days there was a distinct difference between believers and non-believers. Non-believers would be worshipping fake gods, having sex in temples with temple prostitutes, sacrificing the babies conceived from the temple prostitution, and their own children on the altars. They were followers of the crowds. There was violence, bloodshed, anger, and viciousness. They attacked, stoned, and beat people.
The believers were united in God as their Lord, united in love for each other and for God, they shared with each other food, clothes, whatever, and helped each other. They didn’t lie, didn’t steal, didn’t cheat, and didn’t gossip; they did make mistakes as they were human, but when someone had issues with someone they settled it face to face, or with an elder. If they weren’t right before God, they got right quick! They were hard workers, loyal to their family and friends. When someone was doing something wrong it was easily seen and it was called out! The person was held accountable to change and get right before God or they were asked to leave. Wrong doing in the body was considered and known to be deadly to the whole body. There was honor, respect, and LOVE. Love was a shining difference between the unbeliever and believer. We are to be known by the love we show one another.
Restoration and Blessing starts with Walking the Ancient Paths:
v.14 “You can’t heal a wound by sayings it’s not there!
The wounds are there, we must deal with it! Now is the time to hear God’s warning to get healed and restored! God is the Great Physician! He offers a way of healing, but will we open our ears to hear Him? v.21 The way of not listening is a way of obstacles, frustrations, collapse, and ruin. The way of listening offers us this in: v.16 “Yet the Lord pleads with you still: Ask where the good road is, the godly paths you used to walk in, in the days of long ago. Travel there, and you will find rest for your souls.”
God “pleads with you still” is ripe with HOPE! He longs for us to hear Him and allow His Hand to save us. “Ask where the good road is” is so wonderful to me, because God isn’t saying: “Find it yourself”! He wants to show us! He tells us to ask so that He can show and tell! 🙂
“the godly paths you used to walk in, in the days of long ago” – to me this is saying to get back to how the early church did things. I’ve been quoting the New Living Translation, but the Hebrew is based on KJV and the word it uses for Travel is Walk – H3212:
1) to go, walk, come
1) to go, walk, come, depart, proceed, move, go away
2) to die, live, manner of life (fig.)
b) (Hiphil) to lead, bring, lead away, carry, cause to walk
God is calling!!
It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to sin in the Body, (whether the whole Body or our own bodies), and it’s time to die and live a new manner of life! It’s time to depart from, and move away from sin. It’s time to lead, bring about and cause others to walk a new way by the Light we shine in this new manner of Life! It’s time to go, it’s time to walk, and it’s time to come unto the Lord!
Only each of us alone with God can hear what He wants to say just to us, about our life and what needs to change. I urge you to take that time with Him. His correction is gentle, and His Grace abounds to those who humble themselves.