- Slides: 28
Wherefore Hast Thou Rent Thy Clothes? • The title of this lesson comes from the story of Naaman the leper (2 Kings 5). • Naaman was a general in the armies of Syria. • Though exalted in station, he was a leper.
• In one of his campaigns against Israel, he had taken captives including a Hebrew girl. • She had become servant to his wife. • The girl told her mistress that she wished her master “were with the prophet that is in Samaria! Then would he recover him of his leprosy. ”
• The word was conveyed to the king of Syria who wrote a letter to the king of Israel, and Naaman carried the letter with him, along with a fortune in silver and gold, to the king of Israel.
• When the king saw the letter, he thought that the king of Syria was demanding that he heal Naaman, and he knew he could not do it, but he was so upset at the thought that he was supposed to heal Naaman that he tore his clothes.
It wasn’t the king of Israel’s job to heal Naaman. • From the beginning, it was the prophet in Israel who was able to heal Naaman. • The king of Syria did not necessarily mean that the king of Israel was personally supposed to heal Naaman, but the prophet who could heal him lived in the king of Israel’s country.
• When Elisha heard what had happened, he sent saying, “Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5: 8). • The king of Israel was taking on a job that wasn’t his to do and getting terrifically bent out of shape about it.
• Many times we wind up rending our clothes about something when it really isn’t our business. • Of course, we are to “consider one another to provoke unto love and good works” (Heb. 10: 24). • But there also warnings against the kind of thing that the king of Israel did.
One of those things is serving as the judge. • Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7: 24). • A judgment can be made superficially when we do not really know what all the facts are. • There is a very good chance that in such circumstances, we have rent our garments about something that is not really our job to see about.
James warned against our being judges (James 4: 11 -12). • Speak not one against another, brethren (vs. 11 a). • We might paraphrase: Do not have a critical attitude toward one another. • “He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law” (vs. 11 b).
• The key to understanding this passage is in the next sentence: “If thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (vs. 11 c). • I know that sometimes in thinking about the matter, we can become confused about what we are supposed to do when we observe wrong-doing.
• One thing that this verse makes plain is that in our dealing with one another, we must be very careful which side of the law/judging thing we are on. • “One only is the lawgiver and judge, even he who is able to save and to destroy: but who art thou that judgest thy neighbor” (vs. 12).
• At this point I want to point out a number of practical points to consider in observing the differences that James discusses. • When I am rebuking someone or pointing out their error, am I doing it with a complete sense of my own inadequacies, and the knowledge of my own faults? (Gal. 6: 1).
• Am I sure that my concern is with the danger my brother’s soul is in, or is my outrage because he has done what I do not like? • If the source of my concern and of my rebuke is not soundly based on God’s word, than I may be setting myself up as the standard. • This puts me exactly in the position that James discusses.
• Is what my brother doing clearly wrong or is it largely judgment? Then whose judgment must we abide by? • Is the matter under consideration something that will likely improve with a little more experience and time? • If so, then must I go trotting over and rebuke my brother about it?
• Romans 14: 1: “Him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples” or some translations read, “for doubtful disputations. ” • The meaning of this verse is that if you are dealing with someone who is weak, especially in understanding, you do not grill them on what all their positions are, and demand that they take a position on difficult positions. • There will be time for that as they grow.
• When I correct a brother, do I do it as I would like to have it done to me, or do I allow my dislikes to color my thinking? • Have I thought about the impact my action will likely have upon my brother?
• There is a difference between being a citizen who observes a crime and does what he can to stop it or to get the authorities involved and being a policeman whose job it is to hunt these things out. • This is the kind of difference James is discussing.
Matthew 7: 1 -5; Luke 6: 37 • Judge not that ye be not judged. • A comparison with other verses shows that there is some judging that we are to do.
• 1 Cor. 5: 3, 12: “For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing; ” • “For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?
• “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you” (Matt. 7: 2). • I believe that there are two principle points being made in this passage. • One deals with the attitude with which one judges, and the other is whether one is in a position to be correcting others.
• The primary point being made in verses 1 -2 is that our judging of others is not to be harsh and super critical; if it is then we shall be judged likewise. • Do we want that?
• Matt. 7: 3 -5 stresses the impropriety of hypocritical judging. • Unless we are setting ourselves up as the standard of right and wrong, then we must judge according to God’s word.
• But if we are judging according to God’s word, then we must burn to submit to that word ourselves, and if we are criticizing someone else for not keeping God’s word, when we are not keeping it, then our motives are not pure.
Some precautions. • We must make sure that we am giving more attention to our lives and our compliance with God’s word than we are to the lives of others. • Philippians 2: 4 admonishes us not to look to our own things but to the things of others, but this is in a context of observing needs that others may have and helping them rather than only being concerned with our own things.
• Remember the points Jude makes (Jude 22 -23). – On some have mercy, who are in doubt. – Some save, snatching them out of the fire. – On some have mercy with fear; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
• Make sure that your action springs from your real love for your brother, rather than your outrage that someone is breaking the rules. You are not the referee. • Your concern needs to be with the spiritual ruin that threatens your brother (James 5: 19 -20).
Conclusion: • We need to understand the point of Jesus when the Pharisees criticized His disciples for plucking grain on the Sabbath. • He said, “If ye had known what this meaneth, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless’” (Matt. 12: 7).
• In their criticism the Pharisees were manifesting their love for ritual, not their love for God and man. • They had taken a commandment and had pressed it far beyond the limits of what God intended, and who better would know what those limits were than Jesus Christ. • We must be careful likewise.