TO CHEW ON: "'Therefore their ways shall be to them
Like slippery ways;
In the darkness they shall be driven on
And fall in them;
For I will bring disaster on them,
The year of their punishment' says the Lord." Jeremiah 23:12
The prophet Jeremiah spends a fair bit of time condemning false prophets. He describes them as shepherds who "destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture." He calls them "adulterers," and "profane." He calls their lifestyle "slippery ways," walking in lies, and their legacy as an affirmation of evil ("They also strengthen the hands of evildoers" - Jeremiah 23:14).
They remind me of the permutations of doctrine that are widespread these days. The temptation of our leaders to reshape the teachings of the Bible to fit with society's changing standards are immense. Whereas Christians used to find themselves pretty well in sync with surrounding society (at least in Canada), that's not the case any more.
For example, within the last few years the doctrine of hell has come under attack, marriage defined as a union between a man and a woman is passé, and even within the church what is deemed acceptable sexual behaviour has, in many cases, been bent to society's patterns.
Here and in other places in the Bible, the result of such compromise is spoken of in terms of insecurity. Note some of the images Bible writers use when they speak of teaching that doesn't conform to God's standard of righteousness and what will happen to the people who follow such aberrations.
- The ungodly are as unsubstantial as wind-driven chaff - Psalm 1:4; Isaiah 40:24.
- The path they take is called "slippery" - Jeremiah 23:12; Psalm 73:18.
- Such a person "lies down" (to relax, to sleep) in odd, dangerous places: the middle of the sea or on top of a mast (Proverbs 23:34).
- Their sin is compared to a "bulge in a high wall" and their confidence is placed in a wall built with "untempered mortar" - Isaiah 30:13; Ezekiel 13:10,11.
- Their path is shrouded in darkness - Jeremiah 13:16.
- Their house is built on sand - Matthew 7:27.
- Their end is as sudden and as inevitable as labor pains to a pregnant woman - 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
Let's recall these Bible pictures when we're tempted to "go with the flow" and tinker with the Bible's unpopular teachings to make them fit in with society around us.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to line up my life with Your word. May I resist compromise and uphold Bible standards even in the face of my society's pressures to change and compromise in how I live and what I say. Amen.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.