Point of No Return

“Then the LORD said to me: ‘Even if Moses and Samuel should stand before Me, My heart would not go out to this people. Send them from My presence, and let them go. If they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ you are to tell them that this is what the LORD says: ‘Those destined for death, to death; those destined for the sword, to the sword; those destined for famine, to famine; and those destined for captivity, to captivity.'” (Jeremiah 15:1-2 Berean Study Bible)

I did a doubletake reading this Scripture when I saw it said, “Even if Moses and Samuel should stand before me, My heart would not go out to this people.” Moses and Samuel were both prophets of God. They were two of the greatest prophets amongst the other prophets we see in the Scriptures. The people of Judah had come to the point of no return.

Not even Moses or Samuel would have been able to intercede for the people of Judah at this point. Judah had abandoned God and traded God for the religious systems of men, had adopted the culture of pagan nations, and worshipping the idols/gods of the nations around them. Jeremiah had already been told “As for you, do not pray for these people. Do not raise up a cry or a prayer on their behalf, for I will not be listening when they call out to Me at the time of their disaster, ” (Jeremiah 11:14BSB).

Intercession for the people of Judah would have been rendered ineffective even if Moses and Samuel were standing before God interceding on their behalf. God wasn’t even listening to the people of Judah cry out to Him because they only cried out to Him when they were in trouble. God was angry and told Jeremiah, “Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I am about to bring upon them a disaster that they cannot escape. They will cry out to Me, but I will not listen to them. Then the cities of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to which they have been burning incense, but these gods certainly will not save them in their time of disaster. Your gods are indeed as numerous as your cities, O Judah; the altars of shame you have set up—the altars to burn incense to Baal—are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 11:11-13) They didn’t commune with God. They were committing the act of spiritual adultery, acting as prostitutes giving themselves away to every pagan deity and were told by God through the prophet Jeremiah “How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you!” (Jeremiah 2:33BSB) They had no shame and could not even blush anymore. They flagrantly flaunted their spiritual adultery and their idolatry in the face of God.

GOD DOESN’T PLAY GAMES. God warned them over and over again, but the stench of their sin had risen up before Him, and they were only sorry they had gotten caught in their sin. They were not repentant for their sins of abandoning God and trading Him in for the religious systems of man, their spiritual adultery, and their idolatry.

This cannot get more sobering than this statement made to Jeremiah by God, “As for you, do not pray for these people. Do not raise up a cry or a prayer on their behalf, for I will not be listening when they call out to Me at the time of their disaster.” Will you allow yourself to be found in the same spiritual condition as the people of Judah? Would God tell someone not to pray for you?

THERE IS NO NEUTRAL GROUND WHEN IT COMES TO SERVING GOD. I will be saying that until there is no longer breath in my body. There is no neutral ground when it comes to serving the Lord. CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE.

We have been chosen by Christ to go and bear fruit. Every tree that does not bear fruit will be chopped down and burnt up (Matthew 3:10, 7:19).

“You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (James 4:4-6NLT)

Remember God does NOT bless a life of disobedience, but He does bless a life of obedience. He lavishes grace and mercy upon His children who are loving Him with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Favor is the shield around His children.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Repent so you are not found in the same position as the people of Judah. God had enough of their foolish behavior. Do NOT bring God to the point where God tells someone not to pray for you anymore because of your stubborn, hardened, and calloused heart. There is a time when God says, “Enough” as we have seen here with Jeremiah.

There is no neutral ground when it comes to God. You are either on God’s side or you’re not. You cannot claim to live for God and love the things of this world; in other words, you cannot be a friend of God if you are a friend of the world. The God of the Old Testament is still God in the New Testament. God promises restoration, hope, and healing for those who are truly repentant with contrite hearts, those who recognize their need of the one and only Savior.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You are the One and Only God. You are the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. No one compares to You. You are sovereign and holy, and You do not share Your glory with another. Father, I will seek Your righteousness first and I will follow Your ways. I will obey Your commands and cling tightly to Your truth. I choose to serve You and You alone. Thank You for being my God and my Father. Thank You for Your instruction and Your discipline. Thank You for choosing me to go and bear fruit. Be with me as I follow Your commands and seek out Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

Don’t Be Rehoboam

King Rehoboam, King Solomon’s son, has flipped my brain inside out and upside down as I have been studying his life for the last two days.  Each verse got more interesting, but what King Rehoboam did scared the living daylights out of me.

“And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.  And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord, With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.  And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 12:1-4KJV)

I shook my head as I read this passage of Scripture.  It’s a little unnerving.  First thing to note is that in this particular verse Israel is in reference to Judah.  Second thing to note is King Rehoboam was very high in popularity at this time.  Not only was he popular but he had also made an attempt to serve God.  The Results:  Judah prospered.  We find this evidence in 2 Chronicles 11:17 (KJV), which states, “This strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they supported Rehoboam son of Solomon for during those years they faithfully followed in the footsteps of David and Solomon.”

Rehoboam had success and was enjoying a time of blessing.  He and his kingdom were firmly established and made strong.  He was at the highest point in popularity and in power.  Then, we see a tragic turn of events.  In the time of blessing, Rehoboam “…forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.”  King Rehoboam committed two major sins: (1) He forsook the law of the Lord, and (2) He caused all Israel to sin because they followed his lead.  We can see Rehoboam’s sin didn’t just affect him; it affected all Israel.  When you are a leader, it is inevitable that people will follow you.  They look at your example, and eventually, you will see them modeling what you have modeled for them.  Any leadership role you play, you are held with a higher level of accountability by God.  How you lead those who follow your example will affect your standing in the eyes of God.  In this case, Israel took its leadership from Rehoboam and the whole nation forsook God’s law; they forgot about God and abandoned him.

There were consequences to them forsaking and abandoning God and His law.  We can see the results of their sin in verses 3-5 (KJV), which states, “With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.  And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem. Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.”

I think it’s safe to say God has His limits.  This verse, “…Thus saith the Lord, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.”  I looked up the word “forsake” in the Hebrew Language.  The Hebrew word is “azab” which means “to loosen, to relinquish, to permit.”  When we decide to forsake or abandon God, we are letting go, giving up on God; when we decide to forsake or abandon God, we are voluntarily surrendering our claim to God being the One we follow.  There does come a time when God has had enough.  We don’t like being ignored or disrespected or pushed aside.  Can you imagine how God feels when we ignore, disrespect, or push Him aside?  He is your Creator, who has given you life.  It is not wise to push God aside or show Him any kind of disdain or indifference toward Him especially when God has lavished you with mercy and grace and has poured out His blessings upon you.

King Rehoboam and the people repented, and God saw the change of heart.  Sounds good, right?  Forgiveness doesn’t mean you will NOT suffer the consequences.  The consequences may not be as severe as they would have been if you didn’t repent.  Let’s look at verses 7-8 (KJV), which states, “And when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.  Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”  What was their consequences for forsaking God and His law?  They would end up the servants to Shishak, King of Egypt.  By being the servants to Shishak, they would learn and know what it is like to be ruled by a man rather than being ruled by God.  The NLT phrases verse 8, this way, “But they will become his subjects, so they will know the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”  Need I say more on that?

Shishak attacked Jerusalem and ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple as well as the palace.  Then, the gold shields which were made by King Solomon were stolen.  God didn’t spare Rehoboam, a king, from the consequences of his choices.  Do you think he would allow any of us to escape the consequences of our own individual actions and choices?  The problem is when you make something else the lord of your life, you become a slave to that object.  When you make a person the lord of your life, you become a slave to that person.  Whatever consumes you is what you are a slave to.

GOD DOES NOT AND WILL NOT SHARE HIS GLORY WITH ANOTHER.  You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will not share the same temple with another object or another person.  If you are backslidden, lukewarm, complacent, or lost God as your First Love, then you, being the temple of the Holy Spirit, will no longer be experiencing the Glory of God.  You, whom the Holy Spirit once resided in, will be Ichabod, meaning “The glory has departed from Israel.”  Do NOT grieve the Holy Spirit.  If you find yourself in any of these conditions, I strongly encourage you to repent and make things right with God.

CAN YOU DUPLICATE OR SUBSTITUTE ANYTHING FOR THE GLORY OF GOD?  NO, NEVER, CAN’T HAPPEN, IMPOSSIBLE.  Sure, you can try.  King Rehoboam tried to.  Look at verse 10-11, which states, “King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. Whenever the king went to the Temple of the Lord, the guards would also take the shields and then return them to the guardroom.” 

I make no apologies for finding what Rehoboam did to be foolish.  He was trying to keep the former glory of the temple by using substitutes.  “King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace…”  He tried to keep the original appearance of the glory of the temple.  Rehoboam had the guards protecting bronze shields which were cheap, shoddy, and inexpensive.  He had substitutes to keep up the appearance of the former glory.  The temple no longer demonstrated a genuine display of the glory of the Temple, but it only gave a FAKE appearance of the former glory of the temple.  Remember everything was stolen from the temple.  Now all Rehoboam could use was substitutes. 

When you are no longer for God, when you are backslidden, when you are not in right relationship with God, if you have forsaken God, then the glory of God is not seen in you.  You can put on a performance or even display a picture of perfection, but that fact is, when you are FAKING, the fake display you are putting on will lack intensity, clarity, vividness, and the brightness that only the true glory of God has.  YOU CANNOT DUPLICATE THE GLORY OF GOD IN YOUR LIFE JUST LIKE REHOBOAM COULD NOT DUPLICATE THE FORMER GLORY OF THE TEMPLE.  Just because you put on a picture of perfection does NOT mean that God is going to accept you and your behavior.  Nothing you do will substitute the presence and glory of God in your life.  Either you are for God or against Him.  You are either serving God or not.  Nothing can replace God and His glory shining in your life.

The way Rehoboam ended his reign and his life was in a very sad state, “But he was an evil king, for he did not seek the LORD with all his heart.”

We can all learn from Rehoboam.  First, when you go through good times and times of blessings, guard your heart.  Hold your faith closely, and cling to God.  Cling to the truths of God.  Second, when you repent and humble yourself before God, He will NOT reject a broken spirit and a repentant heart.  Third, be steadfast in your love for God and make your face like flint determined to do His will.

As we live life, let us live in such a way before God, that when we stand before Him to give an account for how we lived our lives, we will hear the words, “Well done, My Good and Faithful Servant.

Much Love To You All,

Linda A. Knowles

Self-Control Even In Speech

“Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.” -Proverbs 21:23 NLT

Practice self-control even in speech. Not everything you are thinking and not everything you feel needs to be spoken. The problem with words is that once you have spoken, you will not be able to take those words back. Will your words edify or tear down? Remember out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

“The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure.” (Matthew 12:35)

“Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.” (Proverbs 25:11)

Linda A. Knowles