Saturday, July 18, 2015


“When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them.  But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.”  (Jeremiah 14:12)

There is a point of no return.  That is true of an individual.  One can so harden their heart until it is set as concrete against God, so that judgment is inevitable.  We cannot toy with God and presume grace to be available on our schedule.  It is a frightening truth.  Joseph A. Alexander expressed this in his hymn, “The Doomed Man.”

There is a time, we know not when,
A point, we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men
To glory or despair.

There is a line, by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God's patience and His wrath.

Oh, where is this mysterious bourn,
By which our path is cross'd?
Beyond which, God Himself hath sworn,
That he who goes is lost.

How far may we go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end, and where begin
The confines of despair?

An answer from the skies is sent:
“Ye that from God depart,
While it is called to-day, repent
And harden not your heart.”

Twice, I have with a broken heart, known men I believe reached the point of no return—and had God whisper to me, “Do not pray for him any more.  It will do no good.”  A chill ran up my spine.

What may be true for an individual is certainly true for a nation.  That is where Judah has come in the fourteenth chapter of Jeremiah.  God tells the prophet it is pointless to pray for them—judgment is inevitable (v.11).  Not even the intercession of a Moses or Samuel would avail (15:1).  In the midst of the calamity that would befall, when the Jews would call with fasting and prayer, their pleas would meet deaf ears.  They were unrepentant!  Would the Jews be sorry?  Of course—yet, not sorrow for the cause of their calamity, but sorrow for the consequences.  Judas Iscariot had regret after betraying Jesus (Matt.27:3-5), but it was remorse only and not repentance.  He is in hell.

Has America reached the point of no return?

I have visited the sick whose immune system had been breached by infection.  Antibiotics became ineffective.  The infection spread, hit the bloodstream, and the doctors were suddenly fighting a wildfire with a water pistol.  The body’s systems began to shut down—cascading one after another—until the doctors told the patient’s family there was no hope.  The next time I would see them would be the funeral home.  That was what happened to Judah in Jeremiah’s day. 

I cannot but wonder if we are not at that place.  It seems that every week, the conditions worsen, as sin rages like an out of control contagion.  The rebellion against God is arrogant and defiant, exponentially increasing by the day.  It broke Jeremiah’s heart (v.17-18) and it ought to break ours.

Perhaps there is still a sliver of hope.  Maybe we have edged up to the line, but not crossed it.  Thus, we should cry out urgently, desperately, while we may!  God will preserve His remnant for the glory of His name (v.19-22; 15:11, 19-21).  They will find deliverance in the midst of disaster.  God will bring his elect through to heaven—and that is as inevitable as His wrath on the wicked.

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