The Doom of Jerusalem 

 The Doom of Jerusalem 

Tuesday Column: Dale Mail

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Dale Pollard

Have you ever been to a “show and tell”? Maybe it was in school and the teacher asked you to get up in front of the class and show a particular object and explain and talk a little bit about it. I remember as a child dragging my giant yellow dump truck to class and showing everyone how the scoop on the back worked. I was very proud of it and after the class I sat on the truck and rode it down the hill in the parking lot. 

Jeremiah’s “show and tell” was not nearly as lighthearted. Instead of bringing a toy truck to show the people, he brought a sword and began to shave his face with it. The hair that he shaved off was what has been left alive by the people. The point of him dividing it into thirds was to make a point. That one third are the ones that survived the siege. Then the few that survive will be taken off but taken care of by God. In Zechariah 13 we find out that the fire of destruction took care of the first third. This wasn’t a fire that was meant to refine them. 

When we look at accounts like these it should make us think. Why was that account there? It’s definitely for our learning, but what is it that we need to take away? I believe at least two lessons can be learned from this. The first is that God will keep His word. If God says that He is going to punish the wicked for their wickedness, then He will most definitely do so. The second lesson to be learned is that in all of this, we can clearly see God’s love. Did God have to take care of the remnant? We know from previous scripture that God wanted to destroy them all at one point and start over. God still cares for His people and He still saw them through their trials, despite what they had done to Him. As His children today we need to realize that even though God may not necessarily strike us down on the spot for rejecting Him, He still takes it just as seriously. God still feels the same about selfishness and a self-serving lifestyle. It’s an ongoing battle to put away those human desires that pull us away from God but it’s a supernatural force that allows us to remain close to Him. 

How Ugly Is Sin?

How Ugly Is Sin?

Neal Pollard

You have heard the expression, “Ugly as sin.”  Taking two of our fine young FPTC campers to the airport, I was talking with them about some unpleasant things we may see in life.  One of the campers says that the county in which he lives is reputed to be the worst in the nation for percentage of “meth” users.  You have seen the gruesome transformation caused in a person who continues to use methamphetamine–the lost teeth, sunken face, dark-circled eyes, skin blemishes, and more.  The transformation is horribly evident.  The conclusion we drew was that if all sin was that visibly ugly, we would not struggle with it.

How ugly sin is to us depends upon the condition of our hearts.  We can become callused and past feeling (1 Tim. 4:2; Eph. 4:19).  We can become completely comfortable doing or knowing others are doing what the Bible unmistakably calls sinful (Rom. 1:32).  It is possible to commit “abomination” without even blushing, much less properly recognizing the ugly appearance of our own sins (cf. Jer. 6:15; 8:12).  But, with properly trained hearts, we see our sins as dirt (Ps. 51:2), disease (Ps. 38:3), and death (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1ff).  It startles us, shames us, and spurs us to eliminate it from our lives.

But, how ugly is sin to God? If we were to review the synonyms of sin, which God moved holy men to pen, we could not remain in doubt of the answer.  It is “sin” (an offense, guilt before God, miss the mark, an aberration or deviance), “transgression” (fall by the wayside, errors and faults with consequences), “iniquity” (injustice, wrong, not in harmony with righteousness), “error” (perversity, wickedness, wander out of the right way), “ungodly” (godless, without fear of God, actively opposed to God), “evil” (corrupt, malicious), and the like.  God likens it to a spot or blemish (2 Pt. 2:13), an illness (Mt. 9:12), and even a death (Eph. 2:1).  God tells us most clearly how ugly it is to Him when He says He cannot even look at it (Hab. 1:13).  Sin is so unsightly to God that He offered His most precious gift to satisfy His perfect justice regarding it (Rom. 8:3).  God does not indulge, tolerate, or “wink” at it (Acts 17:30).

The liar, fornicator, adulterer, gambler, pornography addict, proud, jealous, selfish, or similar sinner may not be physically, outwardly unattractive.  The Bible gives little merit or praise to such attractiveness.  Yet, it does depict sin as ugly!  It is as unappealing to God as the skid row bum is unsightly to us.  The discipline we need is to see sin like God sees it!