My Own Worst Enemy

Jeremiah 23:2–3: “’You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,’ declares the LORD.” 

John 19:10–11: “Pilate said to Him, ‘You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.’”

Observation: In the passage from Jeremiah, God condemns false prophets, calling them shepherds who scatter the flock. But then He makes clear that He, God, is the one who has scattered. Fascinating. God is behind the scattering, and false prophets are merely His instruments. The same thought is echoed centuries later as Pilate asks Jesus, “Don’t You know I have authority over You, even to the point of destruction?” Jesus responds, “You have no authority over Me unless it had been given from above.”

Application:    The message of these two passages, written many years apart, is perfectly unified. The Jews were to be taken captive because a holy God was determined to break their rebellion by subjecting them to sinful captors, a chosen instrument in the ultimate chastening and redemption of the nation. Similarly in John, the perfect, sinless Creator of the universe stands before Pilate, hearing him arrogantly flaunt his puny power only to be reminded by Jesus that he holds his position only because God ordained it. Like the Babylonian captors of the Jews centuries earlier, Pilate would have a role to play in the perfection and redemption of those who would trust in Christ. 

Perhaps the most chilling realization is that I am my own Pilate; I am my own Babylonian jailer. I am my own worst enemy. I am to blame for the need of God’s discipline in my life. I cannot lay this at the feet of anyone else. Ultimately, the disciplines and correction God must take me through are the direct result of my personal shortcomings, my own stupid rebellion, which has prophesied deception to my heart. What He must take me through is individually tailored, perfectly fit by a wise and loving God to wring out of me every last vestige of flesh and resistance to His redemption. Slowly, advancing in fits and starts, I do grow to look more like Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this reminder that You have a perfect plan for my life, perhaps not so much to “do” as to “become”—a perfect, undefiled image of You. Have Your way, Lord. I submit my heart, my life, to You today.

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