Sunday, July 26, 2009

Using Tools

11 p This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and t these nations shall serve the king of Babylon u seventy years. 12 Then after u seventy years are completed, v I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, v the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, v making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written w in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 x For many nations x and great kings shall make slaves even of them, y and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.”

(Pardon the formatting as I'm traveling and using the ESV Study Bible online text).

I think I've covered this before, but I just find this fascinating. God plans to use Babylon as a means to punish His people. But at the end of this time God intends to punish Babylon too.

This tells me a couple of things. First, it shows me that God is completely sovereign. He can do what He wants with people and we never have the right to say, "that's not fair!" I am always taken back to Romans 9 for this as well.

It also tells me that we should be very careful about judging the merits of a people or an organization based on the way they are prospering or not prospering. There seems to be a certain kind of pragmatism within American evangelicalism that automatically equates numerical success with faithfulness. In other words, a prospering ministry must be a faithful one. They may not do things the way we think they should be done, but if they prosper that is a sign of God's blessing; therefore, we should withhold judgment despite the biblical warrants we have for concern.

God's treatment of Babylon tells me that we cannot do that. I have heard Paul Washer say that Joel Osteen is actually God's judgment upon the folks who want to hear his teaching. They don't want the Bible, but they do want to have a sense of affirmation. God uses Joel Osteen to give them what they want, which will ultimately lead to their own destruction. After all, the rain falls on the just and unjust.

Let's remain faithful to the Bible. Let's use the Bible as our benchmark. You never know when a seemingly successful group may actually be a tool like Babylon was.

No comments: