In the previous two weeks’ pastoral exhortation, we saw from Jeremiah 23 how those who profess to be God’s people could become miserable custodians of God’s truth and glory. From this account of Israel’s wretched failure to be keepers of God’s Word, we continue to draw more lessons on how we ought to conduct ourselves as “the pillar and ground of the truth”.
In verse 18, the Lord probed the Israelites with these searching questions: “For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?” What an incriminating interrogation! The Lord was challenging the Israelites to prove to Him if they had firmly followed His counsel. But they had exhibited nothing whatsoever to show their unwavering commitment to His counsels.
Those questions will not go down well with churchgoers of our time. They would retort, “Wait a minute! Do we not boldly confess that the Word of God is inspired, inerrant and infallible? Haven’t we affirmed that God has preserved His Word? If we haven’t, then who have stood in the counsel of the LORD? Why question us then? We stand for the Bible, and have perceived that it is His Word. We affirm that not even a jot or tittle shall pass away. Why ask us, ‘who hath marked his word, and heard it?’ Take a look at our Bibles – we have underlined His commandments and promises. We have taken down notes. Why mock us, even though we love His Word?” Similarly, one who is a preacher might say, “I have been trained in a biblical, reformed, fundamental Bible college. I am known as a preacher of God’s Word. I take pains to expound the Bible according to the historical, grammatical contexts of its passages.” Nevertheless, the LORD’s question needs to be answered – “who hath stood in His counsel”? Having heard and known God’s counsel, have you remained true to it?
To be honest, many of us in this congregation ought to mourn over our transgressions of His counsels – “O LORD, we heard your voice and yet we didn’t stand in Thy counsel. We have so often veered from Thy ways. You told us to watch and pray, but we had not obeyed, and had fallen into temptations. Against Thy instructions, we held on tightly to our possessions and refused to give in support of Thy work. You told us to go and evangelise, but we ignored Thy commission. You told us to be a pattern of godliness to Christians around us, but we stubbornly walked in the ways of the world. You asked us to separate from ungodly relationships, but we still continued in them.”
Have you stood in the counsel of the LORD? Have you marked His Word? God is not asking if you have underlined certain verses in your Bible, but rather if you have kept and not forgotten His Word to you. If you were all required to stand up and declare truthfully whether you have kept your pledges made upon your joining the church, what would you say? I daresay hardly anyone among us would be able to say, “I have marked all His words and kept them all.” We have not marked or obeyed all His words. We have not kept our pledges made in accordance to His will concerning us. We have previously said, perhaps with great fervour, in response to His Word: ‘LORD, this will we do.’ So today, God searches our hearts with His piercing questions, “Did you stand in My counsel? Did you mark My Word? Will you defend My Word with your life?”
Gethsemane Children’s Ministry (GCM) thank God for the opportunity to organise a Gospel meeting on the 4th September 2021 at the Gethsemane Media Centre. The Lord has helped GCM to reach out to children, both within and without our church, to come together as instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not” (Mark 10:14b).
Truly, the Lord is good! Since the Circuit Breaker last year, there has not been a physical gathering of children on a Saturday to learn or hear God’s Word. May this be the start of many gatherings of children on Saturdays for the sowing of Gospel seed among the little ones, and to establish the faith of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Secondly, GCM is thankful to the Lord for this opportunity to minister the wonderful Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to children within our church, and their friends. We have a total of 29 children, among whom 6 were friends from outside: Dorcas Choy (8 years old), and her brother, Daniel (11), Michelle (8), Ethan (12), Philip (10), and Amber (4). May the Lord be gracious to use the Word preached for the salvation of souls among the children and even the unbelieving parents of our little friends. Next, we are also thankful to the Lord for parents who brought their children to hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and for children who invited their friends to this event.
Thirdly, GCM is thankful to the Lord for modern technology. Due to the current restrictions of Covid-19 safe management measures, live singing is not allowed. As such, Bro. Elvin led the singspiration session from home via Google Meet, which was broadcast through the PA system in the seminar room at GMC. Technology also played a part during the activity time (conducted by Sis. Abigail) when the children were taught to make a wordless bookmark.
Finally, GCM thank the Lord for the Word! Pastor Koshy preached on “Jesus, the Prince of Peace” (from John 14:27) to both the children and adults. Indeed, only the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, can give peace as the pandemic sweeps through the world causing anxiety and fear among the people. The world cannot calm nor assure troubled hearts, but the Word is able. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).