Thursdays With Oswald—Jeremiah 2-3

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Jeremiah 2-3

[These are notes from Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Jeremiah 2-3.]

     God is the “adornment” of His people; but God says, “My people have forgotten Me days without number”; the dead set of their life has been away from God (Jeremiah 2:32). Forgetting as an infirmity of mere consciousness is one thing; but forgetting by steadfastly refusing to recognize is another thing. These people had deliberately turned out of God’s way. They were wantoning after some other god than the God Who was holy (2:33). …  

     The thing that shocks us most is not the thing that shocked Jesus most. Social immorality shocks us till we don’t know where we are; but what struck the heart of Jesus Christ with horror was immorality against God, pride against Himself (see Luke 16:15). …  

     The innocence arising from evil is always like this—“I’ve done nothing.” It is the innocence we are all born with; sooner or later it takes its stand with evil and only knows good by contrast; whereas the innocence arising from the presence of the Spirit of God takes its stand with good and knows evil only by contrast. If we hand our hearts over to God we need never know in experience what Jesus Christ says of the human heart is true (see Mark 7:20-23). 

From Notes On Jeremiah

This is a tough concept that takes some quiet introspection in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Christians should ask themselves: Do I know the difference between good and evil because I’m doing evil and the opposite of what I’m doing is good, or because I’m doing good and the opposite of what I’m doing is evil? 

Originally, Eve knew evil only as the opposite of how she was living. But when satan tempted her to take the forbidden fruit, Eve now knew evil as something she was doing. Jesus said evil is what would naturally come out of our heart, unless “we hand our hearts over to God” and allow His Spirit to supernaturally bring out of us the Christlike fruit He produces. Is this happening in your life? 

Good Coveting

Covet GodIf we simply state the last of the Ten Commandments like this—You shall not covet—we have missed the true intention of that commandment. You see, God created us to covet. The issue is not if we will covet, but what we will covet.

The word covet means (1) long for greatly, (2) take pleasure in, or (3) find desirable. Throughout the Old Testament this word is used twice as many times in the positive sense as in the negative. The Bible, in fact, encourages us to covet after a deeper relationship with God; to covet God’s ways; to covet our spouse … to covet all of the good and moral things God created for us.

The tenth commandment prohibits us from coveting immorally.

If we restate the first commandment like this—I am the Lord your God. You shall covet a relationship with Me alone—then we will immediately be able to obey all of the other commandments. But if we break the tenth commandment by coveting things other than God, we are liable to break every commandment.

Check this out:

  • Adam & Eve—their immoral coveting led to violating commandments 1, 5 and 8.
  • Achan—his immoral coveting led to violating commandments 2, 8 and 6.
  • David—his immoral coveting led to violating commandments 7, 8, 9 and 6.
  • Judas Iscariot—his immoral coveting led to violating commandments 1, 9, 3 and 6.

Augustine said, “I call the love to God the motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for His own sake, and the enjoyment of one’s self and of one’s neighbor for the sake of God.” Coveting God is good!

We were made to covet Him. satan wants us to covet our neighbor’s house, spouse, lifestyle, and possessions, but if we listen to him, we will end up miserable.

God coveting = good coveting!

Total Victory!!

Jesus overcame“People outside the Christian tradition spend their time arguing the divinity of Christ. People inside the Christian tradition spend their time arguing the humanity of Christ.” —Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

Jesus came to earth fully human. This cannot be overstated, as it is crucial to how we can defeat temptation.

Our First Parents (Adam and Eve) listened to the tempting words of the devil, which caused them to sin against God. By this treachery, they handed over the dominion of earth to satan, and he has used that to keep people bound in deathly fear since that time (see Hebrews 2:14-15). But at the moment of sin—even as God was pronouncing judgment—there was an implicit promise made of the salvation Jesus would bring. God’s promise was that Eve’s offspring would crush satan under His foot.

This is why it was so important that Jesus be totally human in His work on earth, that He share in our humanity in every way (Hebrews 2:14, 17).

The devil has three weapons he uses: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Notice how he used these in his successful temptation of Adam and Eve—

  • The fruit was good for food = the lust of the flesh.
  • The fruit was pleasant to the eyes = the lust of the eyes.
  • The fruit was desirable to make one wise… to be like God = the pride of life.

Because this was successful for him, satan tempted the Second Adam (Jesus) using the exact same strategy—

  • Turn these stones to bread = the lust of the flesh.
  • I will give you the kingdom of the world and their glory = the lust of the eyes.
  • Cast yourself down from here and angels will protect you = the pride of life.”

Jesus didn’t overcome these temptations because He was God. Jesus overcame them as a Man anointed by the Spirit of God! Jesus used the same weapons that are available to us: the Word of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Not only do we have these two weapons, but we also have a victorious Savior who is helping us!

Because Jesus overcame temptation as a Man, He is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18).

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

Because Jesus overcame the temptations of satan as a man, you can too! 

To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 24-25)

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