How lonely Jeremiah must have been. God sent him to say some very unpleasant things about the people and future of Judah. At one point they wanted to kill him. Imagine Jeremiah walking around telling the people of Judah to surrender to their enemy, the king of Babylon. I’m trying to think of an analogy to our more modern sensibilities. Here goes.
What would our grandparents have thought back in the 1940’s about a fellow American blaring over the radio that America must surrender to the Nazis for God has given them dominion; that we have been judged guilty in the eyes of God and that we must submit to the Nazis or face even greater devastation? Would they have thought him a traitor? Would they have yanked him off the air, put him in jail, or even killed him for treason? I think they would have done most of that and possibly all of it.
What Jeremiah was saying to the people of Judah was an extremely unpleasant message. It would have made any Jew who heard it recoil in horror and anger. As is so often the case when people don’t like the message they want to do harm to the messenger. Let me ask you something. If God had come down in a cloud of fire and brimstone and shook the earth and said “repent or die right now”, would they have repented? I suspect those that witnessed it would have.
Our self-serving selves don’t like messages from God that tell us we are headed for a fall. It is much easier to vilify the messenger than listen to the message. And yet God does not come down in a cloud of fire and brimstone and shaking the earth with His booming voice demanding submission. While we use the word “servant” when we speak of our relationship with God we do not mean to imply that God wants us to be His slaves. He wants us to choose to be in right relationship with Him. Right relationship means acknowledging His greatness, His righteousness, and His right to rule.
Why is this so hard for us? We seem to be able to do it with our politicians. I have rarely seen worship heaped upon a human being as I’ve seen heaped on the current occupant of the White House. His I.Q. is praised without any public disclosure of this allegedly high number or any release of his academic record. His diplomatic skills are praised without any diplomatic experience or success. (Remember the Nobel Peace prize awarded for hoped for future success.) If people can worship such a human being for such paltry attributes without evidence, why can’t people worship God whose amazing attributes surround us and are attested to by our very existence?
Only God is worthy of worship. He has given every human being the right and responsibility to choose the lord of their life; God or one’s self. He will not shout. He has revealed Himself to human history and every person must make a choice.
So why send Jeremiah? Listen to the following from yesterday’s reading:
Jeremiah 25:30-31 ESV
“…‘The Lord will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the Lord.’”
While this was a prophecy warning of the impending doom of Judah I was reminded of passages from Revelation which speak of impending doom for all of humanity. While God doesn’t shout, He does warn. He warned humanity then and He warned us today. The end is coming and each of us will stand before God. Why did God send Jeremiah? For the same reason He sends you and I today; to warn humanity of the impending doom.
Jeremiah 26:2-3 ESV
“Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.”
Humanity has been warned, and God will continue to warn until the very last possible moment. He has warned through the Bible and He intends to warn through you and me. He expects us to stand before the people of this lost and dying world to speak to them in hopes that the Word of God will break through and turn them from their evil ways and sure destruction. We are to stand and speak just like Jeremiah and just like Jeremiah we can expect to be hated and reviled for our obedience. We are called to love like Jesus. Failing to deliver God’s message of rebuke and love is not a loving act; it is a cruel act. Keeping the love of Christ to yourself is disobedience. You must share Christ for His love compels you.