The book of Jeremiah is amazing! Have you noticed? So much is so relevant to today — scary so. The chapters in today’s reading are so chock full of great passages that there’s a number I had to pass over just to help make today’s posting short enough to be readable!
“If you will return, O Israel,” declares the LORD, “Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, And will not waver, And you will swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ In truth, in justice and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will glory.”” Jeremiah 4:1, 2 — The thing that struck me most about this passage is the fact that one of the world’s greatest blessings or curses is the behavior of God’s people. When God’s people are living out God’s commands, the world is a better place, the wisdom of God’s way becomes increasingly evident, and the sinful world is drawn to the light. Conversely, when the people of God are being hypocritical and sinful themselves, the world becomes darker and God’s great wisdom for mankind is veiled and often held in contempt. What is your life doing to the world — blessing or cursing?
“For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know.”” Jeremiah 4:22 — Pretty hard language, no? But sometimes the truth is pretty hard. Foolishness in the Bible refers more to sinful moral choices; it’s called foolishness, because sinful behavior always ends badly. Worse still, they didn’t know their own God; not that they didn’t know about Him generally, but they didn’t know Him — His power to know every evil thing they did, and store up punishment for their wickedness. Like stupid children, no matter how many times God had told them what was right, no matter how many times He had told them the consequences, no matter how many times He had punished them, they still had no understanding. They were excellent, talented, and sharp as a tack, when it came to doing evil; but they didn’t even know where to start, when it came to doing good. Sadly, some things never change.
““An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?” Jeremiah 5:30, 31 — And here’s more, Judah’s prophets and priests had become more interested in being popular or getting paid than in being faithful mouthpieces and representatives of God. Tell people what they want to hear, bend the rules, overlook the sin and subpar sacrifices brought to the Temple; go along to get along. Who’ll complain? The people love it! The problem was the God DID NOT. Modern preachers often have more interest in getting paid than in being faithful, and that’s why it’s always best to check what might be preached or taught with the faithful Word of God, the Bible.
“To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it.” Jeremiah 6:10 — The word of the Lord had become a reproach to them? Something to be embarrassed about? Something to shun and hold in contempt? Who could believe such a thing? Except it still happens. How true of modern western civilization in all its secular irreligion.
““They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD. Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” Jeremiah 6:14-16 — Telling people what they want to hear (“Peace, peace” — or “Saved, saved”) will draw a big crowd and will doubtlessly make people feel better, more comfortable. But it’s like giving aspirin to a cancer patient; it may take the edge of pain off (healing superficially), but the patient dies without the real medicine. Without the strong medicine of the truth, men will continue their sinfulness — without embarrassment, without blushing. Jeremiah’s “medicine” is as relevant today as it was 2600 years ago, “Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.” Tragically, Judah’s answer is too common today — “We will not walk in it.”
The Restoration Plea has often used this verse as a plea to men today. Although it comes from an Old Testament prophet, the wisdom remains sound for New Testament men. Turn from sinful ways; turn from false teachings (non-biblical teachings), return to the ancient path of the New Testament; become a Christian like people in the 1st century became Christians; hold to New Testament standards of worship, morality, good deeds, and church organization; and look forward to the same eternal reward given to Peter, Paul, James, and John. Please don’t be among those who say, “We will not walk in it.”
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.