Caught Red-Handed!


Good Morning!

Have you ever been caught doing something that you should not have been doing? Have you ever been caught "red-handed"?  

One Sunday morning while pastoring a church in Troy, Ohio someone slipped unnoticed into our church and hid from everyone. Following worship, we closed and locked all the doors and left for the day. But, the person hiding inside stayed in the building with a plan. He broke into our locked office doors and broke into the locked safety cabinet and took the offering that was received that morning. But, while he was in the office he noticed a framed bicentennial display of 1976 coins...quarters and silver dollars...that had been a gift to me from a friend for my wedding. The coins were applied to a large black paper inside the frame.  

Our church sat beside interstate 70 which connects Dayton to Toledo, Ohio. I reported the stolen money to the police and a report was made. Later that day I received a call from the police who told me about a man who had broken into another church along interstate 70 near Toledo. A neighbor saw him enter the building and called the local police. They went to the church and caught the man as he was walking out of the church. He had found the offering from that church and was caught "red-handed". I asked if this was the same man who stole from our church earlier that day. They told me that they had found in his car several bicentennial coins with black paper stuck to the back of each coin. Again, this thief was caught "red-handed"!  

Much of the book of Jeremiah takes place in front of the audience of heaven. It was like a court. God, the Judge, has taken His seat and court has begun. The evidence of Israel's sin was brought to the Judge. The people had left God and were turning to other gods and worshipping idols that were treating as their gods. Jeremiah 2 describes the court in session. 

"I plant you, a choice vine from the very best seed.

How then could you turn into a degenerate, foreign vine?

Even if you wash with lye and use a great amount of soap,

the stain of your guilt is still in front of Me.

(But they were claiming not guilty) 

How can you protest: 'I am not defiled; I have not followed the Baals?'  

Look at your behavior in the valley;

acknowledge what you have done.

You are a swift young camel twisting and turning on her way,

a wild donkey at home in the wilderness.

She sniffs the wind in the heat of her desire.  

Who can control her passion?  

...But you say: 'It's hopeless; I love strangers,

and I will continue to follow them.

(Now the announcement of them being caught)

Like the shame of a thief when he is caught,

so the house of Israel has been put to shame..." vv. 21-26


They had been caught holding on to their sin and turning from God. God asked them, "Where are your gods that you have turned to?"  

This means that Israel is to be shamed. Like a thief, they had been caught with the goods. They were using God. They wanted to obey God only when they were in trouble. Now, God is saying, run to the idols you have made your gods. Like Elijah told the 400 prophets of Baal..."Where are your gods now? Maybe they're asleep? Maybe they took the day off? Shout to them for they may be hard of hearing?"  

God had enough of what the people were doing. Giving to them year after year and then they decide to turn their backs on Him and claim other gods as their god. The court is in session and it does not look good for His children.

Again, I don't know of another book in the Bible that mirrors America more than Jeremiah. God says in vv 26-27 that their politicians, their judges, their priests, and their prophets had ALL turned their back on Him.  

The court in heaven is preparing for another case soon. Our nation will be standing in the balance. Judgment will be dropped on our nation. Why? Because we have left God and turned to the sin we commit and worship the gods of our sin. Our politicians, judges, pastors, denominational leaders, pew-sitting believers, etc. will be brought into God's court for examination. Many will be caught with their "hands in the cookie jar" of sin "red-handed".  

What can we do? Let's be like Jeremiah. Let's believe God. Let's give Him our total attention and serve Him only. We realize that our place here is only temporary...our final home is in heaven. Let's live like it. Let's act like it. Plant the seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ while you are here and help God's children to grow in their Faith. There is no greater call for your life than this. Let's do it!

May God Bless You!

Don Betts






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