Pastor's Blog
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January 17, 2012, 11:57 AM

Willy Wonka and Jeremiah

Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it.

I was reading this verse as part of my quiet time today, and really it made me think of Willy Wonka. I know, kind of a weird picture, but that is really the first thought that came to my head. First off, let me clarify and say I am talking about the old Willy Wonka and have never seen the new one, but I don’t see how Johnny Depp could be much creepier than Gene Wilder as he leads the contest winners through the factory. Ok, I guess a little context might be in order for those of you who do not know this film. So here’s Wikipedia’s synopsis:

The story centers around an average boy named Charlie Bucket, who lives in extreme poverty with his extended family, and his adventures inside the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka. Fifteen years prior to the beginning of the story, Willy Wonka opened the largest chocolate factory in the world, but spies stole his recipes, so he eventually closed the factory to the public. Although, it wasn't closed forever and one day he decided to allow five children to visit the factory. Each child will win a lifetime supply of chocolate after the factory tour. The children have to find one of the five golden tickets hidden inside the wrapping paper of random Wonka bars. Augustus Gloop (a boy who eats constantly), Veruca Salt (a girl who is spoiled), Violet Beauregarde (a girl who chews gum all day), Mike Teavee (a boy who loves to watch television), and Charlie Bucket win tickets and visit the factory.

The factory is full of strange and fantastical rooms, including a chocolate-mixing room that looks like a huge garden, where everything is made of candy and there is a chocolate lake in the middle, a research and development room with dozens of complex machines designing new forms of candy, a nut-sorting room with an army of trained squirrels that sort the good nuts from the bad, and a TV studio-like room with a giant "Wonkavision" camera, which can teleport giant bars of chocolate into people's homes through their television. The factory is staffed by small, pygmy-like men called Oompa-Loompas. A pink Viking sugar boat and a special glass elevator (with walls covered in buttons) take the tour group from room to room; the elevator can go "up and down, sideways, slantways, and any other ways you can think of."

"Accidents" happen while on the guided tour. Augustus falls in the chocolate lake and gets accidentally sucked up and taken away to the room where they make the most delicious kind of strawberry-flavoured chocolate-coated fudge. Violet, ignoring Wonka's advice, tries some of his three-course-dinner gum in the R&D department and swells up like a blueberry upon reaching the blueberry pie dessert. While in the nut-sorting room Veruca, after a failed attempt to obtain a goose who lays the golden egg by getting her father to buy one, attempts to steal one herself – the Oompa-Loompas deem her a 'bad egg' and throw her down the garbage chute (her father then dives down the chute to save her). Mike tries to use the Television Chocolate machine – a machine that sends chocolate bars via television and allows someone to literally take the bar from the screen – and ends up shrunken to about 6 inches high. Charlie, being the only child left and the one Wonka likes the most, wins the prize: he will one day take over the factory from Wonka, Wonka wanting to pass his factory on to someone else but wanting to choose a child so that he won't have to deal with an adult trying to do things his way rather than learn from Wonka's experience. Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe board the Great Glass Elevator, which bursts through the roof. As they float in the air, they witness the other four children returning home. The pipe has made Augustus thin as a straw and he is still covered in chocolate, Violet is drained of her blueberry juice but her face is tinged purple, Veruca and her parents are covered with garbage, and Mike is overstretched and is now overtall and extremely skinny.”

                The trouble is, although Wonka continually tried to warn the children away from what they were doing by pointing out the horrendous results that would occur if they continued on in their actions, they nevertheless continued on with their selfish desires until they ultimately got what they were seeking after, including all the horrible consequences. They were so focused on what they wanted and what they were going to do that they ignored the warnings they received and in the end they got what they deserved. They were so captivated by their own desires and lusts that they sought after what they did not need and got what they did not want. If they had simply listened and obeyed, not only would they have been safe, but they would have gotten in the end all the glories of the factory.

                So…what about Jeremiah 6:19? The verse comes in the middle of what is a section (2:1-6:30) on the fact that God’s people have been conventally unfaithful. That they have committed adultery by seeking things other than God, and that even after God has pleaded with them to return they have steadfastly refused. The end result of that is verse 19. God is bringing disaster upon His own people. How? By giving them exactly what they want and allowing them to do whatever they want. The kicker there being, they must also receive “the fruit” or the end result of their decisions and choices which is disaster, specifically in the form of Babylon coming and conquering them and carrying the majority of their population off into captivity. Why? Because God warned them but they wouldn’t listen and just reached out and grabbed for everything that caught their eye and now they must pay the consequences of their actions.

                When I read this verse it made me think immediately of Violet who grabbed the gum that tasted so good at first, until it turned her into a blueberry. Funny in the movies, sobering when I think how often I have grabbed forbidden things in my selfishness that tasted good at first only to find how they had forever altered me. What a horrible thing it is to experience the passive judgment of God, as He allows me to do what I want, and then to reap what I sow. Reminds me of Hosea 8:7, “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Ever thought that the worst thing in the world might simply be for God to let you do what you want and to go after whatever it is your heart desires?

                We should never despise the discipline of God. Those times when He yanks our chains and steadfastly refuses to give in to our self-centered hearts which scream out, “Mine, mine, mine, I want, I want, I want!!!” When He in love breaks us down and we despise Him for it, asking why me and why it always seems to happen to us. We so easily get angry with God, never realizing we are like the petulant teenager who when they are forbidden by their parent from doing something life threatening storm off screaming, “I hate you!!” Oh that we would mature enough to realize that, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:19” Do we ever comprehend how God is stopping us from sowing something that we could never reap?

                I personally am trying to be more thankful for those times of discipline, when God will not give me what I want and in so doing saving me from having to reap the horrible consequences of what I would do. How has God disciplined you that you perhaps resented only to find out later that God was really sparing you?



01-17-2012 at 1:26 PM
Debbie W. Schmidt from Mo
Miss you, your precious family and even though I didn't hear many, your great sermons. I read this today and it made me want to send it to all our Beta Kids. This weekend at the Beta Convention in Dallas, our kids were witness to a horrific hopefully accident in which a 15 died from a plunge to the floor of the hotel. I think this would indeed be words that they need to hear. Kyle Dean was there as also my daughter Jillian Schmidt also her cousins, Marissa and Marcus Sauseda from B-Eddy, one of Jills friends Jacob Trevino from Moody also saw way too much and I worry about him. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it.
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