In light of recent events of hurricanes and natural disasters, I always hear one or two people that say that they represent God to give an explanation of the events as a judgment upon God on the sins of the nation. Now I am not saying that these people do not love God or that they cannot hear from Him but a lot of times the message that is given leaves a distaste in the mouths of many that hear it.
Now I am not here to argue the realities of natural disasters or why evil things happen in this world but people can use Jeremiah chapter one as the foundation to couple natural disaster to God’s judgment upon those who do not believe in God.
Jesus has taught us that we are to clean out the plank in our own eyes before we call out the speck in our neighbors eyes and when you do an overall reading of the word of God, we see that the judgments that the Lord proclaims are actually upon His people the most! I believe that the judgements of the Bible that are upon His people are harsh because if we declare that we are part of God’s people than we are held in a higher standard because we are in a relationship with God and know more things about Him as more knowledge leads to greater accountability. God’s message of doom that Jeremiah was to deliver to the people are not for the pagan nations but the nation who claimed to follow God but in reality are far away from Him.
God is giving Jeremiah a hard task of bringing a message that will not be well received and the message of judgment is in actuality the message that will begin to refine the people into a place of restoration.
Let’s find out.
“But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.”
God gives Jeremiah a message of judgment upon His own people because it is God’s own people that have forsaken Him to worship false idols.
Sometimes obedience to God will not be popular to church people because there will be a temptation within the church itself to settle for comfortable services that do not challenge us to be more Christ like in our endeavors. When we develop a culture of grace that does not have transformation than we have developed a culture that gives counterfeit grace. You know those shady stores that try to sell you fake merchandise like fucci instead of gucci or the lacoste shirt that looks like the real thing but the alligator looks more like a turtle? These things may look like the real thing but will come short in the end through their poor materials and when grace is counterfeited, it may make us feel good but will never help us in being good. Therefore the message of the Gospel and His words should never be cut or shortened for the sake of having “happy” services because true joy happens when we hear the WHOLE truth and that is what sets people free from their own sin.
“And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.”
With the difficult task comes the capable God. As difficult a message that Jeremiah has to deliver, it will be God who brings about the protection that Jeremiah needs to carry it out fully for every task comes the grace to carry it out. Notice that God doesn’t simply remove the opposition but that He will be with Jeremiah in the midst of it so let us not believe that where God is there is absolutely no hardship because God is in the very forefront of dealing with darkness and sin where there is hardship but the promise is the peace of His presence in the midst of it on the way to victory.
The message is clear, God is judging Judah for its unrepentant ways. The message is for God’s people for they are held to a higher standard and have refused to live in accordance to God’s ways that they have committed to. Before we preach gloom and doom to the nations we must first be fully aware where we are and see to it that we check ourselves hard daily!
Jeremiah is in a position of being the bearer of bad news to his own people and that God calls for obedience to this mission because God does not play games in the restoration of His house. It is a restoration because sometimes you have to break down the structure to get to the end goal. When you live in California, there are two things that you have to worry about, wildfires and earthquakes. Now a wildfire is a disaster and is destructive as the flames destroy all living things in its path but the reality is that despite the destruction the fire actually renews the soil to produce more abundant life.
Like a wildfire, the judgment of God is His final effort to restore people who are stubborn in their ways so that in the midst of devastation that the things that were standing in the way for us to fully be for the Lord are burned away so that the possibility of the new better life is present. A lot of times glory and greatness starts with a humbling to awaken us to the things that we have entertained that actually are the greatest hindrances to our advances. Only when we are broken do we begin to realize in our hearts what it takes to move forward.
Jeremiah had that message of judgment that will hopefully lead to restoration for His people and it was going to get messy but it will be His obedience that will hopefully spur on the change that Judah needed. For us today, let us be willing to live for the Lord and even be willing to start change that is uncomfortable in the beginning but will lead to our growth for the move God must be stewarded in the house of God first and always.