Friday, September 23, 2016
“Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Does not my word burn like fire?” says the Lord. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? Jeremiah 23:28-29(NLT)
The simple difference between straw and grain is life. Straw is an empty pod, useful in some ways to provide comfort for bedding, or kindling for a fire, but it is entirely useless to feed the body. Grain will not leave you hungry like straw. Straw used for bedding or fire may provide some of the external trappings of life, a soft place to lay down, or the warmth of a fire, but grain is able to feed the body and sustain life.
Jeremiah’s analogy is not lost on the state of religion in our world today. God says His Word is like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces. His Word seems harsh, but it is also the difference between straw and grain! Today it is a pitiful truth that our culture is at odds with the idea that the Word of God is even believable, much less the standard by which human beings ought to live life.
We prefer the comfort of our straw-men to grain.
A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent's argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent.
The so-called typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e. "stand up a straw man") and then refuting that false argument ("knock down a straw man") instead of the original proposition.[ii]
It’s a little like fooling Gracie into taking her ear drops like a man…er, dog. She hates the ear drops, but the Vet says it’s good for her. Instead of chasing her through the house and pouncing on her like a squirming eel, I hold up a doggie treat which she would kill-for. As she’s crunching the treat, she doesn’t notice the drops a-fallin’ on her ears!
Parents re-direct their kids (instead of spanking); the result is the same behavior-wise, but like Gracie, the child doesn’t have a clue their behavior was wrong, only that they got something else that they want.
It is that way with misrepresenting God’s demanding Word. In Jeremiah’s day false prophets were dangling their doggie treats of politically-palatable straw men. God told the genuine prophet, Jeremiah to say to the people: I’m holding up God’s true Word like grain for life, and you’re settling for straw; are you nuts?
Straw-man thinking hasn’t changed much in 2600 years. I have an idea the presidential debate this coming Monday evening will have its fair share.
Choices today (as always): have your attention taken off the grain by the straw our culture will dangle…or grow strong on the real stuff of God’s Word.
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