Jeremiah 32-37 is our reading for the week. There really isn’t anything new as far as the preaching message of Jeremiah to Judah and the leadership [king, priests and prophets]. However the significant message is that the Promised Land has become so polluted that nothing grows. When Israel came out of Egypt, they were destined for the Promise Land, they were blessed to be a great nation, and had the blessing of Yahweh with them. In Numbers 13 we find the story of how the spies were sent in to “seek out” the Land. Now they spent 40 days in the Promised Land eating and enjoying the land of “milk and honey.” However, when they reported back to the leadership and people, 10 of the spies said the land is as the Lord God has said, but there are giants in the land with fortified cities. “We are like grasshoppers in their sight.” In other words we can go there. Two spies, Joshua and Caleb said, we can do this, the Lord our God will give this land to us. The majority ruled, actually fear ruled the day not faith. It would be 40 years before Israel would go into the land. God “purged” Israel of the sin, grumbling and anarchy that kept them in the Wilderness. For 40 years, Israel moved around in the wilderness – dying. When the people of God had been purged of the faithless people, Joshua was able to lead them into the Land that was already theirs. The point is that the people did not act on what God said, but on what man had said. God said “Go” but the spies said “No.” Our Heavenly Father will allow you to die in the Wilderness if you chose – but His plan will still be valid. When Israel did finally go in – they did not fully occupy the land. In fact we know that 2 1/2 tribes stayed on the wrong side of the river! After God “Purged” Israel, then He began purging the land promised to His people. In that Israel did not fully purge the Canaanite tribes out of the land, but began to co-habitat with them, produced apostasy and cult worship of Baal.
When we approach our passage for the week, we find that God is doing the same thing again. The deportations to Babylon guaranteed a “Remanent” to be returned to the Land. Those that remained behind would be “purged” with sword, famine, and pestilence. In Jeremiah 32:29, fire is going to be used. Herein lies the work of God again. He will purge the Promised Land of the sin and apostasy of His people. When God was done with Jerusalem [through Nebuchadnezzar] nothing but ashes remained. The bodies laid in the streets and became carnage for the vultures. The Land lay desolate for 70 years, just as God had said. After the “purging” God would draw back His people from the places they had been scattered. They would be His people and He would be their God.
Even though Israel benefited from Jehovah, given the Law and blessings as His people, they did not FULLY serve Him. They served Jehovah when it was convenient. The people still wanted their gods of the world. we find today in our society, the same is true, for churches, communities and countries. “with their mouth they serve Me, but their heart is far from Me.”
Come with me to the time of Jesus’ ministry – the same thing is being repeated. The People of God are not godly or righteous. They have polluted the Land again, except this time it is with hypocrisy and spiritual debauchery. The religious leaders of the day were “caught up in a system” of their own making. They appeared righteous outside, but empty full of dead men inside. As Jesus preached the conflict became evident. When Jesus sent the disciples out, “go to the Lost Sheep of Israel.” Just as Judah and Israel rejected the prophets who spoke the message of God, the religious leaders would reject Jesus. The parable about the Landowner and the workers outlines my point. The vineyard was leased out so to speak, when harvest time came, the owner sent His emissaries to get the harvest, they were killed. Finally, the Son of the owner was sent – they killed him and claimed the inheritance. The Last Straw parable would be a good name for this. When the people of God reject the Message of God, they will be “purged and refined with fire.” In AD 70 – the very same destruction that happened in 587-582 BC returned. God would purge the Promised Land again. This time a more grave situation, the very Son of God had been rejected and killed. The Promised Land laid waste until after 6 million Jews were “purged” – then they were allowed to return – again from the places that God had scattered them. It was better to be scattered than to stay and die. But mark this – God will cleanse the Land of sin. Wake Up America – the Land is polluted and purge and fire are coming!