Anglican Morning Devotion for 18 August 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Jude 1:11-13)
Jude gives us a serious look at the lackluster Christian and deceiving prophets of our own day in these few verses. There are subtle references to a congregational form of democracy against which Moses stood in the gain-saying of Korah. I believe it is for this reason that the Church, from the first century, has observed an Episcopal form of government and not a congregational form. God’s will is not decided by a majority vote. Of course, we see that the Episcopal form of church government is itself capable of great error and wickedness if the head is rotten – i.e. the Episcopal Church USA. Ministers who preach for reward, as did the wicked Balaam, are categorized with Korah and Cain – I certainly would not want to find myself in that company! “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.” (Exodus 16:2) When the murmuring begins in the congregation, there will always be found usurpers standing by the wayside ready to take the congregation away from God for their own profit. Korah is the perfect type of those deceitful ministers who await every expression of dissatisfaction of the people to take them away from the truth.
Deceitful men, and their followers, are as the clouds that build in late afternoon on the desert horizon – too late to produce droplets of rain, and only offering a false hope of it. They are blown about by every conceivable wind of doctrine. Paul describes it this way: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:14) Is doctrine important? Yes, certainly, doctrine is important, but it is the steadfast and immovable doctrine revealed in God’s Word that is important and not those alternating and paltry doctrines of men. The fruit of any doctrinal tree that is not well-watered by the Word of God will wither and perish.
Here we see a beautifully illustrative verse: “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” The waves of the sea rage and foam at the tidal limits, but their bluster will not grant them a greater boundary for their seas. God has already set the limits at Eden. One of the most eloquent of artful word pictures, to me, is that which the Lord calls, “Wandering Stars.” What, pray tell, are Wandering Stars?
The Wandering Stars to which Jude refers are not unlike the meteor, or even the comet. The meteor is defined by Mr. Webster’s dictionary as “the luminous phenomenon observed when a meteoroid is heated by its entry into the earth’s atmosphere: also called FALLING STAR.” A comet, on the other hand is a conglomeration of gases and dust particles that produce a long tail that points AWAY from the sun as it passes near it. Both of these objects are wandering stars. Surely the blustery gases of the false prophet point away from the Sun of Righteousness!
The meteor has no fixed place or orbit in the heavens. It wanders from one end of the galaxies to the other. It generates no light for it has no fuel by which light may be produced. Its only light comes as the friction of atmospheric layers begin to heat it up to a glow as it falls from the heavens. Its only destiny is to perish in utter darkness as it either is consumed in its own flames, or is buried in the surface of the earth or some other planet.
How may ministers have we read about, and perhaps even know, who fit perfectly that description in a spiritual sense? They have no fixed position on anything for they are ‘crowd pleasers’ as was Korah. They do not remain in the orbit of God’s Word, but are mavericks, wandering off into the darkness without a compass or a chart. They have their end in scandals revealed for all the world to see as they fall in flames from their pedestals. Their great grandfather, Lucifer, also was a Falling Star. He was cast out of heaven and drew a quarter of all the Angels of God with him. “1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Revelation 12:1-4)