We All Need This Exercise

Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Jeremiah 9:24.

I do not discuss politics in the Lord’s Pulpit. When I stand here, I stand for Jesus, not for Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, or Libertarians. I hope you understand this isn’t a political message.

As I was preparing for this message, the Lord led
me to think about one term Presidents.

There have been 23 one term Presidents in our nation’s history, as of this moment in time. President Joe Biden is our 46th President. This tells us that half of our Presidents have been elected to more than one term of office, and half to just one term.

The longest serving President was Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). He served three terms, and died 2 months and 23 days into his fourth term. Roosevelt, a Democrat, was President during the Great Depression, and led the United States through World War II. Roosevelt died in office April 12, 1945 right after that war ended. Though Roosevelt was crippled and wheelchair bound from a paralytic illness thought to be polio, he was very popular. Roosevelt used radio to speak directly to the American people. He gave 30 “fireside chats” where Roosevelt comforted the nation. One source said that he…

“… spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about recovery from the Great Depression, the promulgation of the Emergency Banking Act in response to the banking crisis, the 1936 recession, New Deal initiatives, and the course of World War II. On radio, he was able to quell rumors, counter conservative-dominated newspapers and explain his policies directly to the American people. His tone and demeanor communicated self-assurance during times of despair and uncertainty. Roosevelt was regarded as an effective communicator on radio, and the fireside chats kept him in high public regard throughout his presidency.” (Wikipedia)

Presidents can no longer serve four terms. After FDR’s time in office, the Twenty-second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was drafted to limit the Presidency to two terms. That Amendment was approved by Congress March 1947, and ratified into law February 27, 1951). According to Wikipedia, it was FDR’s Presidency that led Republicans to push for term limits for the President. Since 1985, when Ronald Reagan (a very popular Republican, and our 40th President) was in office, there have been attempts to undo the Twenty-second Amendment, but it still stands. Though Roosevelt was a Democrat, and Reagan a Republican, both men had one thing in common:

Roosevelt and Reagan were visiblykind,
even to their enemies.

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Our God Is Kind

Kindness matters. Our world is coarse and harsher today, I believe, because there is a lack of kindness among our leaders. The world is starving – and dying – for kindness.

Every creature under the glow of God’s sun is broken. The Scripture is adamant: “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We all mess up. No one has a reason to be holier than thou. No one need pretend they are perfect. We aren’t. We are all broken.

As we look at Jeremiah, not what God says of Himself. This is God speaking. Again, this is GOD SPEAKING. God tells us:

Jeremiah 9:24 I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness

Word Study: God exercises. That doesn’t mean He goes to the gym and works out. The word translated exercise is the Hebrew עָשָׂה ʻâsâh, [pronounced aw-saw’], which means to advance or accomplish, to do. God doesn’t talk about kindness, He actually does it.

Word Study: Of the three things God delightsin doing, He enjoys lovingkindnessfirst. This word is the Hebrewחֶסֶד cheçed, [pronounced kheh’-sed], which is translated in the King James text mercy (149 times), kindness (40 times), and lovingkindness (30 times).

The heart of kindness is mercy. Mercy shows compassion or forgiveness toward others, even when it is in your power (and even your right) to punish or harm.

God does not justdelights in lovingkindness, but close on it’s heels we see that God delights in “judgment, and righteousness”. God has a standard that He expects creation to follow. When the world turned so far away from God that:

Genesis 6:5 … the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Then God decided to do a hard reset. He brought a worldwide flood that killed all of humanity but eight (Noah and his family). The judgment and righteousness of God led to the mass destruction of the flood, but the lovingkindness of God caused Him to provide a way that humanity could still exist.

Lovingkindness does not eradicate God’s righteousness and judgment – but it does temper them.

People are fond of saying that “God is love”, and He is indeed “love”. But He is also righteous, the God of judgment. Our God determines right from wrong. If God determines a thing is wrong, it is wrong regardless as to what we think or believe.

In Jeremiah chapter 9 God is foretelling Judah that they will be carried off into captivity. Why is Judah going away into captivity? Because they have drifted away from a right relationship with God our Savior. Judah has allowed itself to compromise with the darkness. God’s people are not to compromise with evil, but to wrestle against it. The Scripture says:

Ephesians 6:12 … we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Preach: When God’s people wander away from their Lord and Savior, there is no “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). We as God’s children are to “let our light shine before all, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven”. Those who do not love Jesus are in the grip of “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), that fallen angel we call Lucifer. We who are Christ’s by faith are “delivered from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), and called to walk in Christ’s Kingdom of Light. When God’s lights (that’s the believer ion Christ) compromises with the darkness, we do so by becoming less light and more dark. In time, God – Who is the righteous Judge – will move to punish His children (Hebrews 12:7-8). God’s method of punishing Judah was to have that nation overthrown, and taken into captivity for 70 years.

What did God think of what He was being forced to do? We read:

Jeremiah 9:1-3 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.

The lovingkindness of God caused Him to weep over what He must do. Nevertheless, He had no choice but to do it. His people would not repent. They would not return to a right relationship with Him. So God would not only allow Judah’s collapse, God would engineer it. This should not have been a surprise to Israel. Right after God freed Israel from Egypt, God defined His character to Moses by saying:

Exodus 34:6-7 the LORD passed by before {Moses}, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness {KINDNESS, Hebrew cheçed, pronounced kheh’-sed]} and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

God is abundant in KINDNESS. The Psalmist praised our God, saying:

Psalm 36:5-7 Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. 6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. 7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

If God Is Kind, And We Are Made In God’s Image,
As His Creation We Should Be Kind

We live in a day where people can go online and, through “social networks”, express the darkness of their hearts without consequence. I think this is why unkindness is reigning in America (and the whole world) today. The devil is doing his best to create disciples of unkindness through the internet. When I was growing up, people tempered their anger or displeasure with patience and kindness – else they might get a punch in the nose! The internet is conditioning America to be unkind – and it is spilling out of the social networks and into the streets.

The lost world will follow its master Lucifer as far as he will take them. But God’s people are called to imitate God. The Scripture says:

Ephesians 5:1-2 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

We are to walk in love as Jesus Himself walked in love. When the Bible defines the word love, it states:

1 Corinthians 13:4 (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant…

One of the components of love is kindness. Pastor Don Carson wrote in his book Showing The Spirit: A Theological Exposition Of 1 Corinthians 12-14”:

Love is kind – not merely patient or long suffering in the face of injury, but quick to pay back with kindness what it received in hurt” (pg 79).

God expects His children to be kind. Though the Apostle Paul and those who worked with him were often persecuted by “stripes, imprisonment, and confusion” (2 Corinthians 6:5), he and the other Apostles as leaders of God’s Church responded with:

2 Corinthians 6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

They could have been ugly when they were brutalized. In fact, in one instance the Apostle Paul allowed his humanity to outshine his spirituality. When the High Priest Ananias slapped Paul in the mouth, Paul saidGod shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?” Paul quickly recanted what he did, saying, I didn’t know he was the High Priest. It is written: you shall not speak evil of the ruler of My people” (Acts 23:4-5). The Apostle was quoting Exodus 22:28.

God commands that we be kind.

In another place, the Apostle lists the characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, saying:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, {KINDNESS, χρηστότης chrēstótēs, khray-stot’-ace} goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…

I do not believe there is anyone in the world who has more enemies than the Lord Jesus Christ had, and has. Jesus was constantly harassed by the religious establishment. The Pharisees and the Scribes sought to find fault with Jesus at every turn. And yet, Jesus was kind, and encouraged we who are His disciples to be kind. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-45, 48 … Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. … 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We are to be like our Heavenly Father. Love the unlovable. Do good to those who do evil to you. In short, be kind, whether they deserve your kindness or not.

What You Do, Or Do Not Do, Matters

God tells Judah that He is going to send them into exile. He says:

Jeremiah 9:13-16 And the Lord saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; 14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: 15 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.

The very fact that God is warning Judah of His coming discipline is in itself an act of kindness. God as Savior and Creator of His people has the right to do with them as He wishes. But God is driven by not just righteousness and judgment, but also with kindness. If the people would REPENT, God will not do as He says. But if they hold the course of ignoring His Will, and continue to chase after the false gods of this world, then God will discipline.

And it won’t be pretty!

God tells us as His children to be kind – and to leave vengeance to Him. Rather than responding to hurt with wrath, God tells us:

Romans 12:19-21 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Let love prevail. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Let your kindness delight God. He will bless you for it.

May God the Holy Spirit and His Word draw you closer to Him this very day. Amen and amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Jeremiah, Sermons Preached and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to We All Need This Exercise

  1. Pingback: 💥Peace & Truth

Comments are closed.