Jeremiah Part Two Dive
HAVE I – DO I?
As I read Jeremiah I am overwhelmed with the questions: have I and do I? Every time I read the charges against Israel: you followed other gods, you prostituted yourself, you didn’t trust in me, you have no awe of me. I can’t help but self-assess – have I done these things in my life, do I do these things today? Now I know that as Pentecostals we find the Old Testament judgment uncomfortable because we are grace people, but just because we are saved by grace doesn’t mean that the same idolatry and issues can’t creep into our hearts. It makes me nervous to have a Christianity that is impervious to correction and immune to the feeling of guilt and remorse before God because we are ‘saved by grace’. Sometimes I think it’s OK to do a self-analysis of the mistakes made by the Israelites in the past and the charges held against them in the book of Jeremiah and think to yourself – have I done this to God, do I currently have these things in my life? To feel the sense of remorse for sin, to feel the correction of God when he disciplines us, to allow God to teach us.
As I read the language I cannot help but notice that God describes his relationship with the Israelites in the language of a marriage, and he as the faithful husband is longing for the restoration of the bride that as unfaithful with other gods. Have you noticed as you read the prophecies contained in this book, the heartache of God behind the prophecies? It is like a husband saying I loved you and you rejected me, and he keeps giving them a way out but still, they don’t take it. As you read the corrections, charges and judgments, you will see the are intertwined in the heartache of God that it has come to this. They didn’t self-assess and repent and change their ways, their arrogance, deception and pride blinded them from seeing what they were doing, they’re lack of awe of who God is, stopped them from seeing the ignorance of their behaviour, and they kept going, even as Jeremiah prophesied the truth. Don’t be like that!
For me, this brings a warning to my Spirit to not have the pride that can stop you hearing the correction of God. In Jeremiah, he talks about them having made their faces harder than stone and refusing to repent (5:3). I don’t know about you but that puts a holy fear into me to keep my heart soft, teachable and malleable before God. To make sure that I don’t let the pride of my own wisdom and plans come into my heart, so I don’t hear and heed the warning of God. Again he says it in 5:21 'Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears and do not hear;' today I have written all over my Bible – be teachable, listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who corrects me in love, don’t let arrogance or pride come in and block the need for God and the necessity of his very breath in my life. Stay humble, stay teachable, stay hungry for God!
I love the emotion of 7:31 God says "They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire – something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind." God is saying, these guys are out of control, and they are doing things that I would not even think of doing – that is bad right! When your behaviour shocks God!
Again and again, look at 7:24 'But they did not listen or pay attention; instead they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.' They went backward and not forward. And 7:28 'Therefore say to them, "this is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord it's God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips." OH, this makes me cry, TYB hear my heart, God is not correcting these people and pronouncing judgment on them because he is a mean horrible God that likes to hurt people, NO he is pronouncing judgement on these people because they have stopped listening to him. They have let the pride of their hearts overtake them, and they will not listen to his warnings and correction why, because THE TRUTH HAS PERISHED IN THEM! Never ever let the truth of God’s Word become something that just builds up your ego – that is why we need to read the whole Bible not just the parts we like that build up our arrogance and pride and make us feel good.
The last thing that scares me in the book of Jeremiah is that the Kings were so hardened against the truth of God’s words that they end up burning the scrolls of Jeremiah, putting Jeremiah in prison for treason and gathering around them ‘false prophets’ that prophesied to them what they wanted to hear. We read the Bible in community, in Church, in connect groups, with people who adjust the way we think, with people who challenge what we are doing; and at times we just want to gather people around us that stroke our egos and agree with everything we say. But that is not community. Community is about being with people that will speak the Word of the Lord to you when you don’t want to hear it; being in community means that people will pull you up when you are doing the wrong thing, and you are going to want to reject them but they are the ones keeping you on the right track. I love that my closest friends correct me, tell me when I’m wrong, when I’m not listening to God, when I’m in pride and I allow my closest friends to do that because I never want to be like the Kings of Jeremiah that rejected the voice of the Lord because it wasn’t saying what they wanted to hear.
TYB remain open to the Word of God, remain in the truth and remain in community.
Know the truth of the fullness of the Word of God, the corrections, the edifications, the teaching, the encouraging, the rebuking, the faith filling moments. In balance, read the whole books people!