Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 19, 2017

“Although our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Your name’s sake!”

Today’s devotion comes from Jeremiah 14:1-12.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+14&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“That which came as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah in regard to the drought:

“Judah mourns
And her gates languish;
They sit on the ground in mourning,
And the cry of Jerusalem has ascended.
“Their nobles have sent their servants for water;
They have come to the cisterns and found no water.
They have returned with their vessels empty;
They have been put to shame and humiliated,
And they cover their heads.
“Because the ground is cracked,
For there has been no rain on the land;
The farmers have been put to shame,
They have covered their heads.
“For even the doe in the field has given birth only to abandon her young,
Because there is no grass.
“The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
They pant for air like jackals,
Their eyes fail
For there is no vegetation.
Although our iniquities testify against us,
O Lord, act for Your name’s sake!
Truly our apostasies have been many,
We have sinned against You.
“O Hope of Israel,
Its Savior in time of distress,
Why are You like a stranger in the land
Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night?
“Why are You like a man dismayed,
Like a mighty man who cannot save?
Yet You are in our midst, O Lord,
And we are called by Your name;
Do not forsake us!”  Jeremiah 14:1-9.

————————-

We notice that this prayer for mercy was not based on any merit of Judah.  But, rather this prayer for mercy is based on the LORD’s sake, the LORD’s name.

“Although our iniquities testify against us,
O Lord, act for Your name’s sake!  …”  Verse 7.

“…  Yet You are in our midst, O Lord,
And we are called by Your name;
Do not forsake us!”  Verse 9. 

And, we later see in the Book of Ezekiel that the LORD did show mercy for His sake, for His name.

Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.  I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst.  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.”  Ezekiel 36:22-23.

Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness;  and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.  I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations.  Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations.  I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord God, “let it be known to you.  Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!”  Ezekiel 36:29-32.

And yet, other doctrine bases its prayer for mercy on man’s alleged goodness, man’s will, and man’s works. 

But, Reformed Doctrine bases its prayer for mercy on God’s goodness, God’s will, and God’s work.  Consider the following that is written in the Canons of Dordt in the section FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 7.  Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of his own will, chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, from their primitive state of rectitude, into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom he from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the foundation of Salvation.  

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, God hath decreed to give to Christ, to be saved by him, and effectually to call and draw them to his communion by his Word and Spirit, to bestow upon them true faith, justification and sanctification;  and having powerfully preserved them in the fellowship of his Son, finally, to glorify them for the demonstration of his mercy, and for the praise of his glorious grace;  as it is written:  “According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love;  having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,”  Ephesians 1:4,5,6.  And elsewhere: “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called;  and whom he called, them he also justified;  and whom he justified, them he also glorified,” Romans 8:30.

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,”  Ephesians 1:4.

Article 10.  The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious election;  which doth not consist herein, that out of all possible qualities and actions of men God has chosen some as a condition of salvation;  but that he was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to himself, as it is written, “For the children being not yet born neither having done any good or evil,” etc., it was said (namely to Rebecca):  “the elder shall serve the younger;  as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,”  Romans 9:11,12,13.  “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,”  Acts 13:48.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:4-7.

For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.

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