Tag Archives: warnings

Hearing, You hear not; Seeing, you see not

Our reading for this week is Jeremiah 43-47, the overwhelming thought kept coming back to me; even though Jeremiah kept telling them what was going to happen, the reason it was happening, they still refused to listen and return to the LORD. Matthew 13:13 is the title this week. Jesus spoke in parables for the same reason – the people hearing, couldn’t hear or see because of their blindedness and deaf ears to the Word of God.

I am a hearing aid wearer, I know what it means to be unable to hear. There are often times when I hear people say things that they didn’t say, or at least not what I thought they said. This means that I can get the wrong message because of my disability. Having a hearing disability is different that “not wanting to hear the message.”

With Jerusalem and Judah destroyed already by Nebuchadnezzar, and many taken into exile in Babylon; one would think the Jews would get the message. However, rather than listen to Jeremiah, they listened to their own words. Even though Jeremiah preached to them the “why” of their situation, they refused to repent and return to the LORD. The city lie in ruins, but rather return to God, they determine to go to Egypt of all places. God had delivered them from the slavery in Egypt – but here they are willingly going to return. This is significant, for in ministry I have found that believers will often return to the captivity that the Father had delivered them from. It doesn’t make sense that after given freedom, that men would seek to be incarcerated again. Going to Egypt is not the answer! Judah had developed alliances with Egypt, felt that they would be better offs there then in the ruins of Judah. But even though they saw the ruins, it never dawns on them that their sin of Baalism is the reason. So now that they have ruined the “Promised Land” they move on. Sin is like that – it is never content with destroying a single place or person, it wasn’t to engulf the entire world and families. It is clear that the women who serve the “queen of heaven” did so at the permission of their husbands. The entire family was involved in this cult worship. While reading this passage, I couldn’t help but think of today when people worship “Mother Earth” instead of the Father. Even though Judah had been scattered, and Jerusalem is an empty wasteland, the Jews come together to go down to Egypt. God is omnipresent – He knows where you and I go. He promises through Jeremiah, that the same result will occur in Egypt, that it did in Judah. Until the sin of rebellion and idolatry are properly reconciled with God, devastation, famine and sword will be used. Rather than repent, the people “bow up” and tell Jeremiah we will listen to our words.

The short chapter 45 is rich with truth. Baruch lamented because it seemed that God was adding greatly to the sorrow of the day. But the father reminds him that it is the sorrow of God over His people who refuse Him. God had enough. Even in Egypt, there would be few left. Those that “escaped” from Judah would meet their death there, very few would return. In Jeremiah 52:30, it list only 4600 people taken into captivity. From that remnant God would build Israel again.

In our current world situation, and most directly America, I struggle with trying to communicate to the “church” the great need for the people of God to repent and rejoice. When I think of the great devastation done to Israel and Judah for refusal to listen to God, I cannot but think that “our land” is being purged and judged because the “church” has lost is first love. We hear about all the problems in our own country, the world countries,; yet we will not be humbled. America is entrenched into a political abyss with the election looming. I watch “Christians” line up on either side of the political aisles. Rather than fall on our faces before God, we still are listening to our own words.  I am familiar with the statistics of church decline and death – 800-1000 will close their doors this year just in SBC churches. Are we guilty of “hearing but not hearing, seeing but not seeing?” I think the hand writing is on the wall!! Daniel 5:25-28

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Lies and Liars – Prophets and Preachers

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?

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