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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jeremiah Then And Now

Jeremiah Then And Now

In the younger years of king Josiah,
The Lord first spoke to Jeremiah.
Before he saw the light of day,
The Lord had formed him out of clay,
And called to him, set him apart
Commanding him, “Speak from the heart.”
The youthful bride has turned away,
When other gods lured her astray.
“The nation turned away from me
To follow other gods, you see.
Unfaithfulness do I abhor,
You’ve turned away again, and more.
To follow after false god Baal.
For this offense I now will rail.”
“You steal and kill and also lie.
There is no sin you will not try.
Forsaken are the Ten Commands
On which your moral precept stands.
E’en though you sin you have no shame,
On someone else you place the blame.
The prophets, leaders, priests, and kings
Have placed their trust in worthless things.
They all are seeking unjust gain,
And on their victims cause much pain.”
“Beware of friend, don’t trust your brother,
For each will now deceive the other.
Prophet and priest practice deceit,
In every house, on every street.
Widows and orphans they have robbed,
‘Gainst righteous men they too have mobbed.
False gods are worshipped in temple spaces.
For the Lord of Hosts there are no places.”
“Peace… Peace...” they always say,
E’en though true peace is far away.
“Peace… Peace…” a hollow echo,
When king Josiah was killed by Necho.
Some vied for Asshur, some for the Nile,
To follow God, futile denial.
Still others looked to Babylon’s aid,
Their independence thus did trade.
Independence at any cost
Resulted in their freedom lost.
As each party would vie for power,
The rest would stand aside and glower.
Bringing their wrath ‘gainst Jeremiah,
Imprisoned under Zedekiah.
Placed in pillory and stock,
While people came to jeer and mock.
He spoke against their evil ways,
He prophesied for all his days.
Jehoiakim his words did spurn,
He cast them in the fire to burn.
And so he grabbed his mighty pen,
And wrote them all back down again.
He called to them, “You must repent,
That God fierce anger might relent.”
And spoke of grand and glorious day,
When new cov’nant would come our way.
Yet they refused to change their way,
Causing the Lord in grief to say,
“An army comes from distant land,
As vast it is as grains of sand.
To capture ev’ry city and town –
Jerusalem to be knocked down.”
At sound of them the Jews take flight,
In fear and awe they fled at night.
The watchfire signals all die down,
They’ve captured ev’ry other town.
Jerusalem is all that’s left,
The city that the Lord has left.
Their army scattered on the plain,
Some were captured, some were slain.
The people then were led away,
Jer’miah’s words came true that day.
Though that was then, and this is now,
Before the Lord we still must bow.
The Ten Commands removed from walls,
God’s Word is gone from barren halls.
We go on sinning without shame,
And seek on others to place the blame.
Abortion protesters thrown in jail,
On whom pro-choicers spit and rail.
Pro life, pro choice and in between,
Oft to each other are very mean.
“Peace…” we cry across the land,
While gruesome terror is at hand.
Our culture turns away from God,
To follow where the cults have trod.
Moral precepts have flown away,
As on the poor we often prey.
Presidential lies and exec’s sly trick,
They feel that they are being slick.
Reps and Dems still vie for power,
Against each other they fume and glower.
In Senate halls and House divided,
Interest groups have often chided.
Hemlock, PETA, and groups absurd,
All seek to have their agendas heard.
Pro choice, gay rights, and eco-green,
Such motley crews we’ve never seen.
New Agers with their eastern rite,
Still seek converts both day and night.
The clergy waters down the Word,
It has become a blunted sword.
We’ve not come far from Jer’miah’s day,
We need again to hear him say:
“The Lord is judging all your ways,
For he is meas’ring all your days.
But if from sin you will repent,
Then from his wrath he will relent.
With Cov’nant written on the heart,
Then from the Lord no more to part.”

David A. Hasey
© 2005

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Governmental Salvation

We have all heard the phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” We have probably laughed at it, knowing that the person quoting it is often being sarcastic. But the phrase today has been modified, in dead earnestness, to be rephrased “I’m from the government and I’m here to save you.” There appear to be many in government who view government as the salvation of mankind. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi once responded to a question asked her with the retort “I’m trying to save the planet!”. Her statement illustrates how easily this viewpoint is affirmed among Washington politicians. There are also many in our country who look first to government to solve their problems. Unfortunately, our leaders don’t attempt to dissuade people from believing this. There is a belief in Washington as well as in state governments across the country that whether its healthcare, the financial crisis, the mortgage crises, corporate failures, climate change, or whatever new crisis that rises up, government will save us. In each case, government is portrayed as our savior. Government seeks to provide our security and take care of all our problems. As religion is pushed more and more out of the public square, government is poised to become the new god whom we are all expected to worship. Many citizens hold the same view. The journalist, Evan Thomas, recently stated on Hardball "In a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."

But God will never play second fiddle to anyone. He will never allow any government or individual to usurp his place as creator and sustainer of the universe. King Nebuchadnezzer found this out while walking in his garden, and he become insane. Throughout history men and women have found out, to their chagrin, that God is bigger than they are. God is not one to be trifled with.

Today, we find ourselves living in a world very similar to that of the ancient Israelites who lived in Jeremiah’s time. Like we do, they lived in a tumultuous world. Facing the global and military economies of their day, they sought the favor of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian gods in their futile attempts to find security. They courted governmental alliances in order to have economic protection. Ultimately their attempts failed. They didn’t work for them anymore than they will for us. Ultimate security can never be found in men or government. They will always fail. We are already seeing this in the automotive bailouts that failed, ending in bankruptcy. Ultimate security can only be found in God. As Philip Yancy recently wrote in an essay in Christianity Today, “Christ exposed as false gods the very powers in which men and women take most pride and invest most hope.” Yet even with all of the lessons to the contrary throughout history, we still have a tendency to look to government to save us. But we will always find that governmental salvation is illusory.

The attempts of government to save us will always fail because societal ills come from the heart. Governments cannot deal with the heart, only God can. Governments can pass laws that we are expected to follow, but they will not change our inner motivation. Only God can change the heart. Only God can lead us to repent and truly change.

Our attempts to find security through governmental programs will fail because they are misplaced. We will eventually find that the governmental emperor has no clothes. We will eventually realize that it really has nothing to offer us. In the meantime, who are you looking at to save you, God or government?