Behind The Scenes
Jeremiah 23:17, 21-40
KING JAMES VERSION UTILIZED & MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY STUDY AIDES
Simonton Genesis Ministries © 2011
“Behind the scenes,” means out of public view and in secret; it means taken out of the public eyesight and told what is really going on and how things really work. Many Church Folks, not Christians, but Church Folks, in churches all around our city and across this nation today feel that they can say and do anything behind the scenes and get away with it. They will try to assassinate your character behind the scenes. They will lie on you behind the scenes. They will run and do things wrong and then run to their pastors and try to cover their tracks behind the scenes. Church folk will smile in your face each time they see you but really wish they could figure out a way to get under your skin behind the scenes. Church folk worry their pastors to death with trivial foolishness behind the scenes. Church folk will secretly do things to conspire to usurp authority including the pastor’s authority because they feel they know what is best for themselves and the church behind the scenes. Church folk put your name into things and will not tell you behind the scenes. Church folks will do all they can to implicate you into any negative church issues behind the scenes. Church folk feel they can do a better job in leadership positions in any ministry in the church only to get in there and do what they want to do behind the scenes. Church folk have a way of making things appear God sent, God guided, and God blessed behind the scenes. However when God exposes them, you will find them looking very surprised when they see that you know what they have been doing the entire time and their embarrassment leads them away from the Christians whose heart and minds are really focused on doing God’s will God’s way.
In our text, here is a long lesson for the false prophets and church folks. As none were more bitter and spiteful against God’s true prophets and Christians of that day than they, so there were none on whom the true prophets were more severe, and justly so. The prophet had complained to God of those false prophets (Ch. 14:13), and had often foretold that they should be involved in the common ruin. God answers Jeremiah in our text here and lets Jeremiah know that they have woes of their own that God himself will inflict upon them if they don’t stop with their madness.
Three times God tells Jeremiah in verses 30, 31, 32: Behold, I am against the prophets. They said they were for God, and made use of his name, but their actions proved they were really against God and more-so God’s people. God looks upon them as they were really, and is against them. How can they feel safe, or easy, knowing that they have a God of almighty power against them? While these prophets were promising peace to the people God was proclaiming war against them. They stand indicted here, (1.) For robbery: They steal my word everyone from his neighbor. Some understand to be the sermons which the called prophets preached; they stole their sermons, their expressions, and mingled them with their own to make themselves sound good to the people. Those that were strangers to the spirit of the true prophets mimicked their language, picked up some good sayings of theirs, and delivered them to the people as if they had been their own. A second point that was taught that the word of God as it was received and practiced by some of the people; they (false prophets and church folks of that day) stole it out of their hearts, as the wicked one in the parable is said to steal the good seed of the word, Matt 13:19. By their insinuations they diminished the authority, and so weakened the efficacy, of the word of God upon the minds of those who were doing their best to live by it.
Secondly, the (false prophets and church folks) stand indicted for counterfeiting the broad seal. Therefore God is against them (v. 31), because they use their tongues at their pleasure in their discourses to the people; they say what they themselves think is fit, and then father it upon God, pretend they got it from him, and say, He saith it. They smooth their tongues and say nothing but what is pleasing and plausible; they never reprove them nor threaten them, but their words are smoother than butter. Thus they ingratiate themselves with them, and get money by them; and they have the impudence and impiety to make God the patron of their lies; they say, “He saith so.” What greater indignity can be done to the God of truth than to lay the brats of the father of lies at his door?
Third, they stand indicted as common cheats (v. 32): I am against them, for they prophesy false dreams, pretending that to be a divine inspiration which is but an invention of their own behind the scenes. This is a horrid fraud! It is the people’s fault that they err after hearing and knowing the true unadulterated Word of God. It is their fault if they take things upon trust, and do not try the spirits. However it is much more the prophets’ fault that they cause God’s people to err by their lies and by their lightness of God’s Word, by the flatteries of their preaching soothing them up in their mess and foolishness, and by the looseness and lewdness of their conversation encouraging them to persist in them. God disowns their having any commission from him: I sent them not, nor commanded them; they are not God’s messengers. Nor is what they say his message. He therefore justly denies his blessing with them. They were behind the scenes putting things together and God did not tell them to do it.
This is a major cancer in churches today and it is KILLING THE CHURCH POPULUS IN SERVICE AND SPIRIT IN THE COMMUNITY. Church folks do not profit God or God’s people. They not only do Christians no good, but do them a great deal of hurt. Those that corrupt the word of God in their actions behind the scenes, while they pretend to preach it or teach it, are so far from edifying the church that they do the church, themselves, and God a great injustice.
Self-righteousness has no place in salvation. If a person is to be saved, they must truly let go of things behind the scenes and let God show them off in public view. If you are a true child of God; who has been called, chosen, anointed, appointed, and sent; then there is no way you could push people away with lowdown, conniving behind the scenes ways. Your actions and attitude would draw people in. If people shun you, walk away from you, hold their tongues around you, tolerate you, barely speak to you, or even look at you even in conversation, it does not mean that they have the problem. You might want to take a look at you. No one is an island when it comes to God and his people. Folks getting away from you while you call yourself a leader and a child of God; is a pretty good sign you may have to do some spiritual inspections. You need to go behind the scenes and let God tell you what is really going on before he exposes you.
If you are the same old mean person you were before you came into the Church, something is missing in your Christianity. If you are still as hard to get along with in the Church, at home, in the community, at work and everywhere else you were before coming into the Church, you need to start over. If you can constantly give the Church and the pastor trouble at every meeting and meet secretly from house to house to plot and plan against the pastor, the church, and those in various church ministries, your Christianity needs help. If you can go on hurting people with no remorse or conscience or feeling of guilt and call others evil, you need what you don’t have and that is a NEW HEART! Get behind the scenes and ask God for one. If you think everyone owes YOU an apology after a disagreement and you and the other party were both wrong and you do not want to apologize, it stands to reason that you KNOW OF THE LORD AND NOT REALLY KNOW THE LORD. Get behind the scenes and start studying, praying, and asking for divine revelation. If you can come to church when you want to come and you can stay away as long as you want to, caring not and thinking not about the welfare of the church, your Christianity is poor. If you can go around digging ditches for others to fall in or setting traps for others, be careful because God has a way of pushing you in the direction of the trap so that you will fall in first because you forgot where to place your foot. I can say your Christianity is in question. Go behind the scenes and get yourself together.
John 7:24 finds Jesus saying to us, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Luke 6:37 has Jesus saying, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” Nowhere in the bible does it say forgive and forget. God is the only one in the bible where the word “forget” is actually utilized by God himself. The rest of the time “forget” is used is out of respect to God and the Word of God. Out of the thirty-six times “forget” appears in the bible, forgive is not in any one of the texts as a conjunction or command in unison. You will find forget in Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Hosea, Amos, and Hebrews. You forgive Church folks because they are either plain ignorant, don’t know any better, don’t really care, think they are God’s ultimate gift to the church, or just really a coward. That is why they do their dirty work behind the scenes.
Christians who have been behind the scenes with God in their secret closet of prayer and supplications have grown and continue to grow in such a way that they have no problems dealing with life’s issues or with Church folk in full view and without shamefulness or embarrassment. Christians who have been behind the scenes with the Lord know about the false, fake, and phony church folk and false prophets that our text addressed. Christians who have been behind the scenes with the God know that church folks sometimes succeed in turning their aspirations into ashes, their desires into despair, their blessings into burdens, their comforts into cares, and their happiness into heartaches.
Christians who work behind the scenes with God have learned to be better and not bitter, stronger and not weaker, wiser and not foolish, mature and not childish, fruitful and not barren, richer in spirit, mind, body, soul, and tangibles and not poorer, and they learned to be mellow and not hateful, harsh, or hard. They went behind the scenes of life and talked to God privately so that they could pull themselves together and be a better representative of God publicly.
Christians who have been behind the scenes with God have a way of saying so what! So what if, regrets may haunt their memory, crisis may follow their footsteps, shadows may darken their way, or so what if others misunderstand their motives? They realize in the midst of their field of battle, Christ is their defense, and that is how they found out you were up to no good Church folks. True Christians realize that in their moments of misery, Christ was their confidence. In their depths of discouragement, Christ was their support. They go behind the scenes out of sight and out of mind to get knowledge and understanding from God. When they emerge, they will not be like the false prophets and church folks of Jeremiah’s day and our day too. God will validate their work, their word, and them because they went behind the scenes with God and he told them what’s really going on. Therefore when they step up on the scene, just their presence changes the perspective of a situation entirely.
Christians who have been behind the scenes with God in their prayer closet according to Matthew 6:6 know when a person is sincere or when they are faking it trying to make it. They know that God has promised them a ‘safe’ landing on the shores or eternity, but it does not mean it will be a calm passage. They understand that the ocean of life may appear to be large for their small vessels, and the waves may seem so big, the storms may seem fierce, and undercurrents of negativity pulls them in many directions at once. They know that God will see them through to that golden celestial shore. True Christians know of a place behind the scenes of life where there are no persons there to persecute them, no critics to criticize them, no gossipers there to grieve them, no hypocrites there to harass them, no radicals there to ridicule them, no doubter there to disturb them, and no opposition there to oppose them.
In heaven there will be much more to do after you enter into the celestial atmosphere. True Christians realize that in heaven they will be involved in worshiping, praising, serving, honoring, magnifying, glorifying, and adoring God. Although our mortal bodies become exhausted, our immortal bodies will be exhaustless, and we will never become tired of talking about and rejoicing over God’s loving kindness, tender mercies, sufficient grace, all because we went behind the scenes and pulled ourselves together and did our best to represent God to the best of our ability when he set us on scene for public view. Get behind the scenes and find out what God really wants you to do and know what God tells you behind the scenes is what’s really going on. All the best and God bless…..
A. J. Watkins D.Min.