Jeremiah 23-27 is our focal passages. The overwhelming thread of thought is that Judah was being deceived by false prophets, crooked priests and people fell for the lies. Jeremiah heard from the LORD and was ridiculed because the message was an unfavorable one to the hearers. Jeremiah has been preaching God’s message for 20 plus years at this point, however, no one has heeded the warning of impending judgment. Of course when Jeremiah began preaching King Josiah was doing his reforms, so Jeremiah’s message fell on deaf ears. Now that years have passed and the reforms ceased, Judah falls back into severe apostasy with Baal worship. In chapter 23, the indictment of bad shepherds is pronounced. Similar passage is found in Ezekiel 34. The standard for shepherding is found in Jesus Christ and John 10. Rather than protecting and caring for the sheep, the false prophets of Judah were nothing more than “hirelings”. I find that it is so reassuring that with all of the calamity and forecast ed tribulation, the Father in Heaven always presents Hope of recovery. Jesus was prophesied to come and bring restoration to the land, the people and to worship. Jesus is called “Lord our righteousness; which equals Jehovah-Tsidkenu. When the people looked to the religious leaders all they got was lies – You will have peace; No calamity will come was their message. This false message is false hope. We live in a day and time where we condone immorality and gross sin; preachers are too scared to bring the Truth of the word of God. For some reason so many are afraid to speak against known sin – could it be they are hirelings afraid of losing their jobs if they do? Are we living in such a time that Paul described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 1 Timothy 4:1-3? No wonder the High Priest and prophets of Judah wanted to kill Jeremiah. The major problem was that Jeremiah had heard from the LORD what to preach, the false prophets “borrowed” from each other a prosperity message. [Jer. 23:30]
In chapter 24, Jeremiah recounts the first deportation of people to Babylon. the oracle of God in the illustration of the two baskets of figs is profound. Those that were the good figs, were those that were going to be spared and sent to captivity, because they had the favor of God. Those that were rotten figs, were those that would die in the land, because of their disobedience. Odd that it would be God’s favor to be deported into Babylon captivity. But this is the message Jeremiah preached – “Do not resist and fight against King Nebuchadnezzar, for he is the vessel of God towards you.” We find in Jeremiah 27, a clear pronouncement of favor for King Nebuchadnezzar with God. Anyone who did not serve Nebuchadnezzar would be taken captive and or die. When it is all said and done, only 4600 people were taken captive in Babylon – from that remnant God would restore Israel.
We live in such a time in America, I wonder what is the voice of the prophets? Are we as preachers, speaking for God, His message or our own? In America we are in a season of discord and division politically, racially and spiritually – people are listening but are they getting the Message of God from the pulpits?
In a previous post called “Kingdoms Come and Kingdoms Go” I talked about how that politically nations rise and fall. We have seen this in America and especially reminded of volatility in BREXIT this last week. King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream of the greatest kingdoms of history – Babylon was on top, then Medes-Persians, Greeks and Romans. Each of these empires have been used by God for the advancement of HIS KINGDOM, but in each case there was a limited time of their existence. Babylon will be judged, but for now it is the Arm of God towards Judah. Is America in a similar situation, where God is using what we would call a “an infidel or heathen ruler to judge His people the Church in America?” Can we be found fighting against that which God is doing as Judah did? Should we not be like Daniel, who although was taken during the first wave of captivity, continue to serve God and live to fight another day? I do not mean we should embrace our “captors” or compromise the message. But are we fighting for nationalism or for the Gospel?