The Lord is our Righteousness Notes on Jeremiah Oswald Chambers Audio Reading with Text
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Rule or Ruin
The Lord is our righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6 rv
A Christian worker is measured by the words he speaks in the name of God. It is perilously easy to do one of two things, viz. to bind burdens on other people by God’s word that we do not understand and have no intention of helping them lift (see Luke 11:46†), or to placidly explain away the full purport of the word of God. Our Lord did not scathe sin, He came to save from it. The aftermath of a crooked personal disposition works out in scathing sin (see Luke 9:54).
1. Perils of Power (Jeremiah 23:1-3; cf. Luke 22:24-27)
Temporal power is merely the manifestation of a Divine purpose leaving ample room for the prostitution of that power. “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” When once a man is placed in a position of honour under God’s providence and does not maintain a right relationship to God, the very position in which God has put him will harden him away from God. Power we must have, whether we like it or not, but power is a terrible peril unless the life is rooted in God’s grace.
Bear in mind the distinction between the results of sin and punishment for sin. Verse 2 refers to the latter—”. . . behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.” The inevitable result of sin is to destroy the power of knowing it is sin. The punishment of sin is that God banishes the sinner from His presence. What is being forgotten to-day is that there is any punishment—”This is simply the result of having made a mistake.” The suffering that comes to the children of bad people is the inevitable result of sin, not its punishment; punishment is meted out here or hereafter to the parents who may never suffer in this present life. In this case God interfered with the punishment because they were His people.
“Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away . . .” (23:2). Beware of the possibility of being faced by God at some time with the lives you have been the cause of being driven out.
2. Pearl of Price (Jeremiah 23:4-8; Matthew 13:45-46)
These verses are a warning as to the easy way we try to ignore the deep unchangeable purposes of Almighty God. God’s purposes are brought about not only by sovereign decrees but by the delightful acquiescence of His people. That is why it takes time. God does not badger us into His will. His will will be done, and the marvel of the grace of God is that the most eager longing we have is for His will.
Any rejoicing before God that is not based on humility is never born of the Spirit of God; rejoicing is made possible by the Atonement only and is wrought by the Holy Spirit. Bit by bit God lets us see what the grace of God covers and atones for. The only attitude a Christian can have is one of absolute humility before God; if we are anything at all in the holy life it is by the grace of God and no other way. The Apostle Paul never forgot what he had been. The deeper we go into the grace of God the more profound is our humility, there is no holiness without humility.
3. Pressure of Pain (Jeremiah 23:9-15)
“Mine heart within me is broken. . . .” This is not the despondent crushing on account of sin alluded to in Psalm 51, but a profound inward emotion that staggered the prophet until he became like a drunken man because of God’s wrath at the lives of the people. That is the way God works. He takes one or two and makes them understand the condition of things around them, and they have no comrades. When God is bringing a new manifestation of Himself into the world, He burdens someone, and the burden is not a pious affectation. When God begins to favour you with a burden, never try to find out whether anyone else has the same burden. We have our own little difficulties and suffering, but who among us can God take up into the distress of the Holy Ghost when He is bringing in a new manifestation of His purposes? The characteristic of a saint is not—”There are great dangers and perils, I wonder God does not rouse up His people.” He won’t; He will rouse you. Don’t confer with others (Galatians 1:16). It is a great peril to see things, because the pressure of the pain is the beginning of being made broken bread and poured-out wine. Nothing is more abhorrent to God and man than an affected burden. The child of God is a child, and a child’s griefs and joys are tremendous, but you can always tell when grief is affected because it fixes our minds on the person instead of rousing us up to realise what God is doing through that person.
From the book, “Notes on Jeremiah”