#203, FEAR: AN AWESOME REVERENCE
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it, HEB 4:1-2.
The issue of saving faith is probably the most misunderstood of all doctrines of the Bible. Our text says, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."
Today there is much talk in different church circles about whether or not we believe in eternal security. The Scriptures certainly teach eternal security, but it is not to all people. To whom, then, does it preach eternal security? In reading Hebrews 3 where do we find the eternal security for the children of Israel? In Verse19 we read, "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." The children of Israel had great faith, but that faith was not exercised by godly fear.
There are many ministers who are respected as sound, orthodox and faithful to the Word, yet they unwittingly do not preach the whole counsel of God. They do not realize that they are not bringing the full counsel of God. It is commonly taught from JOH 3:16 and other like Scriptures that as long as a person believes and rests on it, or "accepts Christ as their personal Saviour" that is all there is to it. They are saved. Nothing is further from the truth, and the multitude is being taught this partial truth.
Saving faith must be distinguished from a dead faith. Our text tells us to fear; it follows right after the history of the Israelites who perished. Why should we fear? Our text begins with a connecting word, "Let us therefore fear." The word therefore points us back to the context of the previous verses in the preceding chapter. HEB 3:14 tells us, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;" the word if is a powerful word. Did you realize that the Bible teaches conditional love?
Let's consider why the word "therefore" is in the verse. "Let us therefore fear." We are made partakers of Christ if we like the children of Israel hold our confidence. Their confidence is shown in the song of Moses; they had great confidence, and these verses in Hebrews is bringing our attention back to this in EXO 15:1. "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him."
The Israelites were not short of confidence then. Their problem was not holding that confidence steadfastly to the end. See the confidence they had in Verses 20-22; "And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur..." The women went out with timbrels, which are small bells, to dance with joy. Miriam sang about the fear the inhabitants of Canaan would have when they heard this. That was such confidence.
Now in our text the apostle is cautioning us; "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end," HEB 3:14. Why is that so important? There will be trials that will bring us to the end of self; there will be trials that will bring us to the end of our human reasoning. The Israelites lost their confidence during such trials. They were not able to comprehend that they would overcome. Through unbelief they wanted to turn back.. They were not able to walk by faith; that would require the exercise of saving faith. They were not able to obey because they lost their confidence.
The apostle was speaking about this matter in 1CO 9:24-27, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. [As we go into the exercise of saving faith, we do not want to fall by the wayside. Joseph warned his brothers of falling by the way as they went back to their father. That is continuing in steadfast confidence until the end.] And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air." He is saying we are not going to go forward with our eyes closed. Verse 27 continues, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
The apostle is pointing out that continuance and forbearance are essential. It is this obedience of faith--this exercise of saving faith, which we need to "...hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." We cannot run as though we are just running; we must run to win. Being in Christ, our eye must be fixed on the reward that the Lord has laid before us. It is so very important that we understand that we are doing this as being partakers of Christ if we hold our confidence steadfast to the end. Being a partaker in Christ must be our objective, our reward, and our eye must be fixed on it. Nothing must be allowed to take our eye off the object of our faith.
The apostle goes on with his exhortation, beginning the next chapter with the connecting word moreover. "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness," 1CO 10:1-5. The apostle is teaching us that the children of Israel as a body, as a group, as a congregation, were under the cloud; they all passed through these experiences.
As they drank from that Rock, they were taking from Christ the strength to go forward, but they did not continue their confidence to the end. The difficulty of saving faith is the endurance required to avoid falling out by the way.
These Israelites all believed and were baptized, They all drank of that Spiritual Rock which was Christ, but God was not well pleased with many of them for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Why? They did not endure unto the end; when it came to the last trial, the last battle, they had no faith. They would not obey; they would not go forward. The shocking thing is that all of these Israelites believed, they were all baptized, and they all drank of the Rock., but many of them did not endure until the end.
The apostle warns us in Verse 6, "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." These things are written for us that we would have an example and to teach us saving faith must be exercised. How do we exercise our faith? It is exercised by the trials of faith the Lord brings upon us. We are not to succumb when we come to the end of human reasoning. We must be able to leave our reasoning behind; we do not walk by the sight of our eyes, but go forward by faith.
Those who begin well, but do not endure temptation are admonished in 1CO 10:7-9. "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents."
Rising up to play is destroying this generation; entertainment is being idolized. Many were destroyed because they committed fornication. The conclusion of the matter is that we should not tempt Christ for that is certain destruction. Do you know what it means to tempt Christ? It is to provoke God with serving sin. We tempt Christ with disobedience, stubbornness, and rebellion. We tempt Him when we are not willing to yield to the Spirit of Christ.
The words of our text must be seen in the context with the preceding verses. HEB 3:17-19 tells us, "But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief," i.e., disobedience as in the margin! The unbelievers had drank of the Spiritual Rock, they were baptized in the Red Sea, but their hearts were not right with the Lord. This is the test of saving faith.
Is our heart right with the Lord? Those who fell in the wilderness had murmured against Moses and against the Lord. They didn't trust His faithfulness or His sovereignty. They had to have it analyzed out with human reasoning. It wasn't there, so they murmured against Moses and the Lord. "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?" Unbelief is not being able to trust Christ by following Him in the way of obedience. We are not able to obey if we do not trust Him. So we see the Israelites could not enter into the Promised Land because of unbelief.
When we see what Scripture calls saving faith, we must know that the Lord will try that faith. Look at the example in Abraham. His trial was such that from the standpoint of human reasoning, he was putting his own salvation on the altar. If Isaac were to be slain on the altar of sacrifice, Abraham would be sacrificing his own son from whom the Messiah was promised to come. It was his own flesh he had to put on the altar. His obeying was crucifying the flesh by the exercise of saving faith.
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it," HEB 4:1. Do you see the solemnity of the exercise of saving faith? It means examining our own heart. Have we been able to become priests and kings before God? Have we put our all on the altar of sacrifice? Jesus said in REV 1:5-6, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Saving faith is much more than a mere act of the human will. Many people will tell you that man has a free will, and all we have to do is accept the Lord Jesus. Then with this act of the will one has exercised saving faith. It is so much more than that.
When JOH 3:16 is preached out of its context, we must realize that "my speech and my preaching [was] with enticing words of man's wisdom, [and not] in demonstration of the Spirit and of power," 1CO 2:4. When we take God's Word, which is a promise, out of its context, then our preaching is nothing more than enticing words of man; it is not the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit.
Don't overlook the fact that JOH 3:16 and Verse 17 both begin with the word For, and must be read in context with the preceding and following verses. They may not be taken separately; they must be kept in context with what lays before and after. When they are held within their context, we see the truth of the matter. To understand JON 3:16 we must begin with Verse 14 and go through to Verse 19.
JOH 3:14 says, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." This teaches us something, doesn't it? It was those who felt the sting of sin who were told to look unto the brazen serpent. This must be the beginning, first, we must feel the sting of the serpent before there will be a looking to Jesus by faith. We must preach Christ in that context, "...so must the Son of man be lifted up." Those who felt the sting of sin were told to look unto the brazen serpent and live.
NUM 21:8-9 tell the history of Moses and the brazen serpent. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." Notice that the serpent of brass was for those who had been bitten; until we understand the sting of sin and the work of regeneration and the work of repentance, there is no call to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole do not need a physician; it is the ones who feel the sting of sin and the need of a Saviour who need the Son.
It was the people who rebelled that were bitten by the serpent. After they felt the sting, they needed to look unto the serpent of brass. We must hold up and lift up the Son of man as the salvation for those who understand the sting of sin.
Neither Jesus nor any of the apostles ever encouraged unrepentant sinners to believe. See the connecting word "That" at the beginning of the next verse. "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." Do you see the context? Jesus must be lifted up as the brazen serpent was lifted up for those who had been bitten to "believe".
Now see how JON 3:16 begins with the word "for". We cannot disassociate these verses. They must be kept together in their context. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We must realize Jesus gave His life for those who repent. This verse is not teaching us that an unrepentant sinner will have eternal life just because he believes.
Verse 17 again begins with the word For. "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." Each of these verses have a connecting word so we may not isolate them; they must be kept in a full context.
The condemnation which condemns the world is unbelief. The Lord has not told an unbelieving sinner that is in open rebellion without repentance to believe. When the Lord Jesus began His gospel, He said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel," MAR 1:15. It is for a repenting sinner that understands the sting of sin and their need of a Saviour that Jesus says believe.
JOH 3:19 shows us that it is unbelief, i.e., disobedience to the call for repentance that condemns the world. "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Do you really think that a person who loves darkness more than light should be told to believe and he will be saved? No. Jesus tells them wherein their condemnation is found! And the light of Christ is their condemnation. See who they are that come to the Light! JOH 3:21 says, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
No descendent of Adam's race will look unto Christ for healing until they see they need Him to save them from the poisonous sting of sin. There is no such thing as looking unto Christ to be saved until such a person knows he must be saved. Until he sees the sinfulness of sin, feels its sting, and recognizes the rebellion in his own heart, he will not look to the Lord Jesus as a Saviour. There is no such thing as looking to Christ to be saved from sin when one loves and cherishes sin. Such a person loves and lives in sin; it is mockery to talk about believe and He will save such a person. Save him from what? He came to save us from sin, the very thing he loves and cherishes by nature.
We need Jesus' saving power; that look of love which He gave Peter to neutralize the venom of the Serpent is what enables a person to become crucified unto the world. When you and I learn to see that the serpent has stung us, and our eyes are opened to see the power of sin, we realize that our love of the world has captured our soul, but we desire to be freed from it. We see and feel that sting of sin
Then, and not until then we see that we need the saving power of Jesus, and it becomes our desired to be delivered from the power of sin. As long as we love and cherish sin, and we flee from the light because we love wickedness and darkness, we are not called upon to look unto Christ for healing and believing; at this point there is no beauty in Jesus Christ that one should desire Him. CF ISA 53:1-3. We are called to look upon Christ when we have felt the sting of sin. Then we can br attracted to look to Him to be cleansed from our daily sin, and desire to live unto righteousness. Then we are called to be meek and lowly in heart, to be trusting and obedient, to be patient, yet uncompromising, and to be conformed unto the image of Christ.
When we see that the venom of sin has poisoned our every thought, word, and deed, we may look unto Christ for healing. We have been struck and desire to be conformed to the image of Christ. Now we hunger and thirst after these things. How we long for His saving power. That is how Jesus must be lifted up. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, we must lift up Jesus as the salvation for one who mourns over sin and desires to be delivered from it. We want to be set free from the power of sin.
We need the drawing power of the Father to come unto Christ. JOH 6:44-45 says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." What does this teach us? It is a work of grace, not a humanist power of the mind. Saving faith is the work of regeneration that is wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes with the work of regeneration so we see the sinfulness of sin and gives a desire to be delivered from sin. That is what draws us unto the Father, and to the Son. It is the love of the Father that gives us new desires and a new will.
True saving faith is a gift of God as we see in EPH 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Now we begin to see that we cannot rest in ourselves. We cannot go forth in our human strength because we fear that we may come short. We see that in the end our human strength would fail us; we need the saving grace of God. We need the gift of the Father to draw us to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our text says, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." The fear spoken of is a filial fear, taken from the Greek word phobeo which means "to be in awe of, i.e., to revere: to be sore afraid, fear exceedingly, reverence." It is a holy, awesome reverence; it is an exceedingly trembling fear. It is not a slavish fear, but a holy awe.
A filial love is such affection as a child naturally has toward a parent; filial duty or obedience is such duty or obedience as a child owes to his parents. Webster's Dictionary says what filial really means. When we speak of a filial fear, we are talking about a Father-son relationship. It is a family thing. It is speaking of a holy reverence and respect that children owe to their father. A child that has no respect for their father is a very grievous thing. The first commandment with promise is EXO 20:12, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Now what is the opposite of that commandment? PRO 30:17 says, "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."
We are speaking of a filial fear in our text; it is a holy reverence for the will of the Father. That is saving faith in exercise. It is filial obedience, the obedience a child owes his parents. The Lord is looking for that kind of fear and obedience from us. That is an exercise of saving faith.
The fear spoken of in our text is not a slavish fear; God cannot accept obedience out of compulsion. This is a filial fear which is motivated out of a Parent-child relationship. So let us fear. Let us sit in reverence of the will of God so that we do not come short and sin against the Lord.
The gospel was preached to the Israelites, but it was not mixed with the obedience of faith, therefore they still perished in unbelief. HEB 4:2 says, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." In other words, they heard, but they didn't do. They heard the Word of God, but they did not obey. They did not have that holy, reverential fear or respect for the Word of God.
In this Godly fear, i.e., in this childlike obedience of faith, there is strong confidence; it is a strong tower to deliver from the powers of the devil.
In PSA 103:13-14 we read, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." Isn't it precious to see that Father-son relationship. Ponder this for a moment. If you are a father or a mother, you can go for hours without thinking of that child while they are playing peacefully and you are working. However, if the child's life is in peril, every priority is laid aside. Caring for that child is top priority, the only priority if the doctor looks you in the eye and tells you the child will not live. You can see that the child's breath and life will be taken away. Now, see how the love in your heart goes out to that child. Then we begin to understand "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him." Is there anything more precious than those who have that childlike obedience of faith? That is saving faith.
This true Godly fear preserves from vain boasting. As we learn to see our dependence upon Christ, we come to rest in Him. We see that in HEB 4:3, "For we which have believed do enter into rest." Do you see that place of safety when the Holy Spirit comes to give us to see that the Father of heaven and earth pities us? Now we have rest. We do not have to strive with the elements of this world or the elements of flesh if our confidence, hope, and trust is resting in Christ. That is a true place of rest.
This word rest comes from the Greek word, which means "to cease, to settle down, a place of repose or a place of abode." All who fear God enter into Christ as that place of repose to abide there for eternity. When we can come into Christ as an act of saving faith, to place all our trust and confidence in Him, we understand what the Lord means when He says, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him." It comes to those who have that filial, childlike relationship with the Father; it comes to those who have obedience of faith.
As we become weary of sin, we "cease," from our own works as we see in HEB 4:10, "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." That means we stop fighting the answers and riddles the Lord brings in our lives. Those riddles can drive us to our wit's end until we stop and cease from our own works and wisdom. We forsake our own wisdom and the wisdom of man and begin to trust in the Lord. It means laying it all at His feet.
Saving faith consists of much more than believing that Jesus died for us; it involves complete surrender of our heart and life to His government through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience. All this happens before we can come under the blood. Repentance comes before forgiveness. No person can claim pardon for his soul that has not repented of his sin. It is absolutely contrary to the Scriptures. We cannot be brought under the blood, we may not be told that we have a pardon, until we have repented of our sins, until we are sanctified.
1PE 1:2 says, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." The foreknowledge of God means the love the Fathers had for His children from eternity. Sanctification is the conduit through which obedience of faith becomes ours. The sprinkling of the blood comes last. Sanctification becomes the conduit whereby we come to the sprinkling of the blood. See again the order this process follows. That is the Word of God. To proclaim salvation and pardon to a person, who knows nothing of the Spirits work of regeneration through sanctification, is blasphemy.
This is not a new philosophy; it is not taking a passage of Scripture out of context. This is also the teaching of the Old Testament. This same principle is taught in the Old Testament through the covenant of circumcision.
EZE 44:6-9 says, "...Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood...Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary..."
The uncircumcised in heart is the unrepentant; they are unrepentant in heart and their walk. The Lord sternly admonishes Israel they have polluted His house. Those people were not to be brought under the preaching of the blood. The Lord called it an abomination. "Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary..."
Do you see how that principle comes through? There must be repentance and a change of heart. The work of sanctification must be a part of the heart and the walk of life. They must be circumcised in heart and flesh.
Saving faith is not only a legal transaction before the courts of heaven to be justified; it regenerates and sanctifies before it justifies. By saving faith we become sanctified; by saving faith we become regenerated. The fruit of that process is justification; justification comes through the conduit of sanctification and obedience.
JOH 3:5 tells us, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." You must be washed with the water of regeneration and born of the Spirit; without those you cannot enter His kingdom and walk in the service of Christ. You are a stranger who is uncircumcised of heart and flesh. You must be born again of the Spirit.
When it is understood that Christ came to save His people form sin, self-will and self-pleasing as well as from hell, then we begin to realize why there are only few who desire salvation. Few people desire to be saved from themselves. When they understand that is salvation, then the reason becomes apparent why Jesus said, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it," MAT 7:14.
Scripture does not teach that the saving of the soul is an easy matter, far from it! ACT 14:22 says, "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Saving faith is not an easy thing, and the Scriptures verify it.
Gaining an entrance at the strait gate calls for the utmost endeavors of the soul as we see in Luke's counterpart to MAT 7:14. "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able," LUK 13:23-24. One does not enter the strait gate accidentally; one must strive to attain it. Do you understand the meaning of our text? "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."
Why will they "not be able"? It is because they were not able to take up their cross and crucify that ugly monster--self! After the rich young ruler left sorrowful, Jesus explained why in MAR 10:24-25, "And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." As people become rich, they feel no need of God.
Those who are void of the sanctifying work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit have no feeling sense of their need for God. HOS 13:6 says, "According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me." Sometimes we have such a desire for the Lord to deliver us from our financial struggles; we may not realize it would be the worst thing that could happen to us. Now we need the Lord; if we were comfortable financially, we might forget Him. The Lord knows what is best for His people.
Our text says, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." The most blessed part of that is that God's people only "seem to" come short because, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms," DEU 33:27. Where God began a good work, He will carry it on until the day of Jesus Christ. He will not allow us to get into a pasture where we do not need Him. He will withhold the rain; the pasture dries up and we need the Lord for our next meal. This principle comes through in the parable of the prodigal son, Cf. LUK 15:11-32. The Lord knows how to reach and teach us; He doesn't spare the flesh, but He loves our soul.
Moses seemed to come short. NUM 20:12 tells us, "And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."
David also seemed to come short. 2SA 12:7 says, "And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man." We do not need to go into the whole story here, but in his own strength, David would have fallen.
The prophet Jeremiah seemed to come short. We see that in JER 15:18, "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?" The entire book of Jeremiah says, "Thus saith the Lord." He came to the point that he questioned whether God would fail him. In his own strength Jeremiah would have come short.
These seeming failures, seeming to come short of the promise is what keeps us at the mercy-seat. The Lord uses these evident failures to keep us lowly at the mercy seat. See the beautiful example of this in EZE 36:24-27, "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Have you ever heard more blessed promises, especially in the Old Testament? However, take note that when it seems we will come short of those promises, and everything is failing, there is a reason; it is to keep us close to His mercy seat.
After God gave all these precious promises He said in EZE 36:37, "Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them..." It is so precious to know that the Lord comes with His Holy Spirit to apply these promises to our soul. Sometimes it seems as if everything in nature is going against us, that every day it becomes more impossible for those promises to be fulfilled. Then the Lord says He will be inquired of; we must come to Him and ask. He didn't say maybe. He will bring us to the point where we will come like a woman in travail. He will bring us to the point of desperation; He will have us inquire of Him.
We have the promises; now we must come praying for the promises. We can plead the promises; nothing is a more powerful prayer than to plead His Word, but He will bring us into circumstances in such a way that we will inquire of Him. We will not sit in green pastures where we have no need of Him, but underneath are the everlasting arms to carry on His good work until the day of Jesus Christ. Where He has begun, He will carry it through to the conclusion. Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.