Today, Friday November 12
“Clouds Without Water”
Jude 1:12-13 “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Jude is exposing and describing the apostates, the false teachers who have “crept into” the fellowship of believers of his day (v. 4). He first noted that it was obvious that they rejected divine authority and how God’s judgment was sure to come on them (Vs. 5-11). Now Jude tells us how they resort to deliberate hypocrisy (Vs. 12-13 & 16). Jude, in verses twelve and thirteen, presents six vivid pictures of these false shepherds.
They are not only “filthy spots or blemishes” (v. 12a), they are “serving only themselves” (v. 12b). These false teachers and leaders are only using the people around them to build their own kingdoms. A good and honest and true shepherd loves and cares more about the sheep than himself. A good pastor will use the principles of God’s Word and the church to build up people, but the false shepherd will use people to promote their agenda and build up themselves! Jude is exposing these kind of people!
Jude also describes and calls them empty clouds, clouds without water (v. 12c). Clouds that promise rain, but fail to produce, are a disappointment to the farmer whose crops desperately need water. The apostates look like men who can give spiritual help, and they boast of their abilities, but they are unable to produce. "Whoso boasts himself of a false gift [a gift he does not give] is like clouds and wind without rain" (Proverbs 25:14).
It is interesting how Peter uses almost the same words to describe them: “These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” (2 Peter 2:17-19)
The Word of God is sometimes compared to the rain and the dew. "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew" (Deut. 32:2). Like the clouds in the sky, the false teachers may be prominent and even attractive; but if they cannot bring rain, they are useless and very destructive! And they leave you empty, discouraged and disillusioned.
Isaiah 55 compares God's Word to the rain and snow from heaven that bring fruit on the earth.
"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:10-12)
Read these verses and think about, and be thankful for, those true shepherds, good pastors, who bring you the truth from God’s Word, and how they are like clouds with plentiful rain, that give you joy, lead you to peace and bring refreshing and blessings to your soul!