Lesson 11 -- fourth quarter 1996
November 10, 1996
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
What are some symptoms of the flock being carried away captive in our
Please identify some factors which contribute to this captivity.
Today's lesson describes the final collapse of Jerusalem. From carrying away captives, the people of God went to being carried away captive. The evidence could not be countered--they were no longer mighty, they were no longer free.
In our day in Anglo North America, the proof of captivity isn't quite so obvious. Our meeting houses are not demolished, our leaders are not violated, our people are not imprisoned, our goods are not expropriated. But just as surely as in Jeremiah's day, "the LORD's flock is carried away captive." Do you need confirmation of that? Here you have but four:
Weakened conviction and spiritual perception. Have the glory days of living by conviction waned? We now too willingly live by comfort and convenience. We lounge amid the apples and will pay almost any price to keep the cart from being upset. Where are the fiery convictions of our forefathers, and why have they not become the building blocks of our own? Our spiritual perception is so dull. Can it be we no longer sense spiritual reality?
Snared by the values of this world. How does the world define success, happiness, fulfillment, purpose and contentment? How does God define these things? Now imagine a scale of 0-5, with the world's definitions being 0 and God's being 5. Honestly rate your own definitions on this scale. Well? Are you captive or free?
Caught up in interpersonal conflicts. Gossip, slander, bitterness, envy, suspicion, feuds, cliques, disloyalty, hypocrisy, favoritism and acrimony find many safe and welcoming harbors among us. Until we drive these out, we will not find genuine freedom in Biblical confrontation, love, forgiveness, sacrifice, peacemaking and restoration.
Burdened by dysfunctional marriages and families. Seminars, tapes, books, lessons, study guides, small groups, special meetings, counseling centers, newsletters--all monumental testimonials to captives and shepherds straining for freedom.
The Israelites brought their captivity crashing down upon their own heads. Might we be doing the same to ourselves? Add to these factors:
Materialism. Living for now, living for stuff, living for me. Oh, I certainly wouldn't describe the focus of my life that way, but the reality of my life.... This one is so closely related to the next one that I'm not always sure which is parent and which is child.
Spiritual starvation. Perhaps the explanation of this reason for captivity reveals itself in my life of late. My blossoming busyness and the disturbing distractions of life have carefully eased me away from an absorbing faithfulness in prayer and the Word.
Unbelief. I don't mean oral pronunciation or cranial affirmation, I mean living expression. When we cease to practice our proclamations of belief, we cease to believe. The most injurious unbelief isn't that which is flagrantly verbal; rather, it is that unbelief which is garbed in the garments of profuse statements of faith.
Disloyalty. What promises have you made? What vows? What commitments? Captivity comes to those who violate the ties that bind.
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