Currently I am reading in the book of Jeremiah and struggling to keep my focus on what God was saying to the Jews as the clock ticked down to the time of their captivity and not as a modern day warning to us Christians here in America.
But it is difficult.
Like in our times, the people had lost sight of following God.
They had gotten all caught up in the popular gods of the nations they had blended in with. They were being warned over and over and yet were listening to voices that told them what they wanted to hear.
Jeremiah was called to speak unpleasant words and as a result he faced extreme persecution. He fought off his own doubts personally in dialogue with God even as he continued to speak and do the sometimes odd things God asked Him to speak and do.
I feel compelled to mention here in light of the days and times in which we find ourselves, God doesn’t call all of us to do, speak and be odd. That isn’t a hallmark of doing His work. Jeremiah was a prophet who fulfilled a difficult calling during a pivotal time in the history of Israel and yet was consistently checking in with God to make sure He was still the one calling the shots.
As of this morning, I have read up to Chapter 26. Four chapters until I will read that verse we all love to quote about how He knows the plans for us and how they are plans to prosper us and I am reminded as I am every time I read through Jeremiah that the plans He had for them included some hefty repercussions for bad choices, serving 70 years as captives in Babylon and the complete destruction of their city.
Chapters 1 – 25 have abounded with warnings against false prophets and bad shepherds of the people. He calls out the sins of the people and cry after cry from this weeping prophet should have brought conviction and repentance. But the sins continued, the selfishness and idolatry carried on to the point that God even told Jeremiah not to pray for them anymore.
Now I am weeping.
Can you imagine being so stubborn that God finally says – don’t even pray for that one?
The margins of this new Bible are splattered with sad faces. Normally my margins have a lot of hearts, but not these pages. Instead, broken hearts are what I draw.
My attention is drawn to what these people were hanging on to that displeased God so much. It isn’t an enigma.
If you read through Jeremiah, the problem is clearly identified numerous times.
Here is one sample of it:
I am going to bring such disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will shudder because they have abandoned me and made this a foreign place. They have burned incense in it to other gods that they, their fathers and the kings of Judah have never known. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, something I have never commanded or mentioned; I never entertained the thought. Jeremiah 19: 3-5 CSB
Basically they had forgotten who God is and had replaced Him with who they wanted Him to be.
It didn’t work.
It never has.
It never will.
The plans to prosper us are God’s plans, and giving us a hope and future is all part of His design, but on His terms. Not ours.
We can rant and rave all we want to but in the end, He is Sovereign. It is His world and we are His creation. He is worthy of worship because He alone is worthy. Not because He is better than other gods, but because He is the only God. And He has stooped down and become one of us, so that we might be one with Him.
I hope you are reading His word and discovering His nature so that you can spot the counterfeits of the false prophets in our day and age.
Pray for me and I will pray for you. Eyes wide open. Let us walk worthy of the One who saved us <3