12 There is a way which
seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
We're taught by psychologists we can evaluate our condition
(introspection and self-evaluation, or evaluation by others) and find
our problems, decide to improve and we're on our way to recovery.
Herein lies the error. Man's solution isn't found within himself, his
own judgement isn't to be relied on. Our own judgment isn't to be
relied on. God's way is not even to offer a supplementation to
ourselves, a crutch. If Christianity is a crutch, it's a failure.
Christianity is a replacement. Anything that's part man, part God is
only as strong as its weakest link. If I stop here, this leaves us in a
dilemma. Before looking to God's answer, let's view the problem more
As Christians, I expect most of us feel we're right with God, but I
propose taking another look. I'm not standing here telling you you're
wicked. I don't know, but God's shown me an astounding fact about human
nature. Deception to an incredible degree permeates every human on
earth, even amongst Christians. A deception that often seems impossible
THE PATH OF BLINDNESS
40 If they shall
confess their iniqui-ty, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their
trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have
walked contrary unto me; 43 The land also shall be left of
thee, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without
them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their
soul abhorred my statutes.
The context of this passage falls in a list of God's judgements and
curses upon Israel, if they forsook His covenant. After the list, look
at what God says concerning the covenant breakers in verse 40.
Can you picture those rebels? They've just been through the most
horrendous judgements (listed before these verses), yet stand with
chins in the air saying, 'We're right with God! These things we're
suffering aren't God's judgements!' and with a slightly bewildered
look, that momentarily crosses their faces, they stumble 'a.. a.. It's
Satan's attacks. We need to resist in faith, we'll overcome.'
You'll notice, in these verses, they won't admit they're living in sin,
not just to others, but they can't accept the punishments as
chastisement for iniquity.
In the middle of verse 43, we see the acceptance of their real state
doesn't happen until the change of heart occurs. Mind you, there are
those who say, 'I'm living like the devil and am on my way to Hell.'
Those are rather rare incidences amongst those who call themselves
God's people. Most can't live with themselves knowing they're under
condemnation. If we can't release our sin, our wicked nature overcomes
by lying to itself and justifying itself. This enables us to continue
to live in sin without fear of condemnation by God or sin's conclusion.
6 My people are destroyed
for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will
also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast
forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy
I've heard the first part quoted with the point that
Christians fall because they don't study His Word. Read the entire
verse. The issue here is not laziness or lack of opportunity to study
His Word, but rejection of what was heard. It says, 'hast forgotten'.
The human mind can successfully erase rebukes from its memory if it
fails to heed. Jesus warned us in the parable of the sower. The seed
that fell by the wayside were those that heard the Word of God, and
Satan snatched it from their memories.
29 Wherefore will ye
plead with me? ye all have trans-gressed against me, saith the Lord. 30
In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your
own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. 31 O
generation, see ye the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness unto
Israel? and a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords;
we will come no more unto thee? 32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or
a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without
number. 33 Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore has thou
also taught the wicked ones thy ways. 34 Also in thy skirts is found
the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by
secret search, but upon all these. 35 yet thou sayest, Because I am
innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead
with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.
13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against
the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under
every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the
Here we find Israel
being rebuked by God. Look at the sins listed. We have:
1. Murdering prophets, v. 30.
2. Rejected God's Lordship, v. 31.
3. Teaching others to be wicked, v. 33.
4. Murdering innocent people, v. 34.
5. Idolatry and worship of Asherah, 'under
every green tree', v. 13 indicates this crime.
6. Fornication, which Asherah's worship practiced.
Their evils were not mild-mannered, easy to overlook, slips in
behavior. They were about as blatant as you get, but look at their
sincere cry in 2:35, 'I am innocent',
'I have not sinned'.
If they weren't sincere, God wouldn't have bothered to plead because of
'surely his anger
will turn from me' - v. 35
'have I smitten' -
God didn't wait until He got their attention and acknowledgment of
their sin. He didn't wait for the confession, 'I won't stop it', then
proceed to 'spank' them. Their acknowledgment is the beginning of the
end of the spanking.
If we confront a brother in sin, and he says, 'Well, I just don't see
it that way', that doesn't leave us in the quandary of 'He can't see
he's sinning, I'm not bringing this relationship to a close until he
sees.' As long as his heart is hardened, he won't see. We tend to think
we can talk to someone in sin, show them clear-cut Bible passages, and
they must decide - 'Well I see, I guess I choose to sin.' It doesn't
work that way. It's a no-win situation, but nonetheless necessary to
fulfil God's righteousness and His love, even if they refuse to see it.
14 And the Pharisees
also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before
men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed
among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Here Jesus is speaking to Pharisees. We see again
the pattern of self-justification of the wicked.
Jesus told of the human pattern:
40 And some of the
Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are
we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should
have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin
The Pharisees felt they could see perfectly well,
without needing Jesus to open their eyes. Jesus equates this to sin in
verse 41. He says if they were able to say, 'we're blind' their sin
likewise would be removed, but they saw no need for healing, so the sin
To tie up this scriptural search on how we cannot see our sin when
we're walking in it unrepent-ant, please look up Psalm 44. This is a
Psalm of Israel as a nation. It's not a private Psalm of David. This
Psalm is broken into two parts, the first half extols God's greatness
as deliverer of Israel. The second accuses God of unrighteous
judgement. This is a Psalm of Israel in its state of rebellion. The
judgement they describe is what God promised would befall them if they
forsook Him. As you read it, observe how they attempt to boost their
faith, then accuse God of being the covenant breaker. Does that sound
like our cry? Do we cry as verse 18 - 'I've never done any wrong,' but
God's own testimony says otherwise?
There was a brother in the Lord who had to be rebuked for sin. He was
shown scriptural passages. He couldn't refute them, just excused them.
He continued in sin. He called the porno lines to talk obscenely with
verbal prostitutes. He knows the scripture well enough to know that
adultery can be committed without ever touching, yet his own wife
declared he sincerely believes he's right with God.
A woman of an organization had been entrusted with a good sum of money.
Christmas came and she spent it on her personal Christmas shopping
list. Someone later asked her, 'Where's the money?' Her response was
'Well, it was Christmas' 'Yea, what's that got to do with it?' 'Well, I
spent it on my Christmas shopping.' with a 'well of course, what's
wrong with you?' air. That's called embezzlement and is an imprisonable
crime, but the lady could perceive no wrong or shame in such behavior.
It astounds me how great an evil people can commit and not perceive the
wrong of it. If it can so easily be done in the great evil, can it not
even more easily be done in the little?
THE WAY TO VICTORY!
There are two lessons here. One for those on the sinner's side and one
for the righteous.
For the sinner, Jesus gave a promise:
6 Blessed are they which
do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be
That honest desire is where God can turn things
around. The need of the blind, as it were. If you want a more academic
test, note this: Have you been confronted with sin, accused either by
others or a twinge of conscience once? Have you seen something in the
scriptures and dismissed it as, 'well, I'll have to study that out
sometime', yet it brings in question some behavior now? Has someone
said, 'this is wrong' and you say, 'Well, I'll let God show me'? The
obvious response of the hungry and thirsty heart is, 'If that's
possibly wrong, I'm going to diligently search it out NOW'. If months
go by and you're still, 'Well, God will show me some day,' on some
behavior that's unholy before God, you can KNOW your heart isn't
hungry and thirsty. In the flesh, if you're hungry and thirsty and
don't quench that hunger and thirst, you'll shortly enough come to a
stop. There will be nothing more encompassing your mind than drink or
food. You'll dream of it. Are matters of righteousness that all
consuming to you?
The lesson for the
righteous is this:
When you do rebuke properly for sin, don't expect any feeling of
satisfaction other than obedience to God. Is spanking your child a
pleasure? Of course not. Also, expect to be viewed by the unrighteous
as self-righteous. If they saw you as righteous, truly they would have
to admit their own sin, which you have now seen they won't.
Finally, to remark on the dilemma of the statement 'Anything that's
part man, part God is only as strong as its weakest link.' Paul told us
God's strength is made perfect in our weakness:
9And he said unto me, My
grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in
weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure
in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in
distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9,10
For a crutch to work, the crutch supplies an
additional aid for what strength we already have. Our strength must
totally be replaced by His, only then are we truly strong. Our total
weakness lets Him take over, our partial weakness handicaps for 'our
righteousness is as filthy rags.' (Isaiah 64:6) In other words, the
best we have is disdainful. Jesus is our life, but also our example.
He's fully God and fully man. He showed us how to overcome by God's
strength, through the Holy Spirit. We can conclude this with Romans
10 And if Christ be in
you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of
righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from
the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall
also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after
the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye
through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall
Verse 10 - the body is dead. Crutches don't do dead
men much good. In verse 11 we see God's strength. Verse 13 - shows the
weakness of a partial man addition.
What comes of the flesh, our own efforts, our own judgments, our
evaluations are deadly. That hunger and thirst, that walk in the Spirit
- therein lies our hope.
Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible