“Meddle Not!” — Deuteronomy 2:5


            How those two words have been driven home to my heart by God the Holy Spirit this day! — “Meddle not!” I have concerned myself too much with earthly things that matter nothing; and the Lord graciously, but sternly, rebukes me, saying, “Why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall?” How very gracious he is, not leaving me to myself! Perhaps you need the reproof as much as I do. There are three things the Lord God graciously tells us we must not meddle with, as we make our pilgrimage through this world.


Meddle not with Esau


First, the Lord instructs the sons of Jacob, his elect, not to meddle with Esau. This specific admonition is repeated three times (Deuteronomy 2:5; 2 Kings 14:10; 2 Chronicles 25:19). The fact that the command is given three times seems to indicate that this is a matter of particular danger to us.

            As we make our way through this world, we must not allow ourselves to meddle with the things of the world. This world is all that the reprobate have. Let them have it. Every believer is free to use and enjoy the things of the earth as he needs them, but we must not become entangled with them. Let us be good citizens, but not entangled slaves.

With regard to political affairs, we should vote with informed judgment; but we must avoid the strife of political parties. It matters not who our political rulers are, good or bad, moral or immoral; we are to submit to them and honor them as the ministers of God for our good. Besides, why should I greatly concern myself about who governs China? I am not a citizen of that land. We are citizens of another land. We must not meddle ourselves with this land through which we are simply passing for a few days.

With regard to the cares of this world, let us exercise proper responsibility. Believers ought to be the best of parents, the most dependable and most productive employees, and the most generous employers. Whatever God gives you and me the talent, ability and opportunity to do, we should give it our best. Yet, we must not set our hearts upon the things of the earth, lest the cares of the world choke out the influence of the Word.

With regard to the pleasures of this world (its comforts, its entertainment, its leisure activities), enjoy them; but do not live to enjoy them. Children live to play. Men play to live. I enjoy a good cup of coffee; but I do not carry a coffee cup everywhere I go. If I did, the thing that is enjoyable and relaxing would become a burden and a hindrance. When I have finished the coffee, I leave the cup and go back to work.

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Sons of Jacob, leave Edom to Esau!


Meddle not with the Wicked


First the Lord warns us not to meddle with the things of this world. Second, he tells us not to meddle with the people of this world. The evil conduct of ungodly people should not be a matter of undue concern to us. I mean by that that, we should never expect Edomites to behave as Israelites. If Israel gets to meddling with Edom, Israel will soon start to behave as Edom; but Edom will never conform to Israel. Hear the counsel of wisdom. — “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips” (Proverbs 20:19).

            Do not be curious about the secrets of others. If you know the secrets of others, keep them secret. If some slanderer wants to tell you some secret thing, refuse to hear the gossip. Why do we trouble ourselves with what other people do and say? We are not their masters. We shall not have to answer for them. Meddle not with such. We have enough difficulty governing ourselves. Do we not?

            Do not meddle with the flatterer. Those who flatter you only do so to deceive you and to find something to use against you. This is particularly to be applied to false prophets and false religion. Those who deceive the souls of men with good words and fair speeches, preaching up the goodness, righteousness and power of man, are parasites who deceive others to advantage themselves.


Meddle not with Changers


Third, the Spirit of God teaches us not to meddle with those who are given to change (Proverbs 24:21). Again, this is particularly to be applied to preachers and religious leaders. Those whose doctrine is built upon a foundation of sand are “given to change.” They must alter, modify, clarify and restate their doctrine every time the sand beneath them shifts. The admonition regarding them is clear. — “Meddle not with them that are given to change.”

            They love to hear and teach something new, because they love the praise of men. They make innovations in doctrine, denying today what they taught yesterday, because the winds of opinion have changed. In order to keep favor with those who oppose the gospel, they must compromise the gospel.

            Let me be crystal clear. Meddle not with anyone, do not keep company with, associate with, or give any credibility to any preacher who attempts to turn you away from the simplicity of Christ, who would alter that “form of sound words” plainly revealed in Holy Scripture. — Meddle not with those who would change God’s sovereign decree into a sentimental desire. — Meddle not with those who would turn the accomplishments of Christ into the aspirations of Christ. — Meddle not with those who would make the Spirit’s operation of grace a mere offer of grace. — Meddle not with those who would change the new creation into a new position.

            Our God changes not. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word is forever settled in heaven. Let it be forever settled in our hearts and minds. His doctrine does not change; and those who preach his doctrine do not need to change. So his admonition is — “Meddle not with them that are given to change.”



Don Fortner



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