This is a post from a few years ago. I was reading the book of Jeremiah, and felt impressed to write this post. I have something else to write from Jeremiah today or tomorrow, but for now this is a good reminder for me.
I see storm clouds on the horizon. God’s judgment is coming. I remember when I had first begun preaching, my home church called me the Jeremiad, because many of first my messages were warnings from Revelations. I had never read Jeremiah, so I never thought anything of it. I definitely didn’t wear that with a badge of pride. Now that I’m reading Jeremiah, I feel such a sense of uneasiness. It feels like it’s a summer day, right before how a storm comes; like how the scent of rain permeates every ounce of air. The humidity comes in suddenly and sets down upon shoulders like a wet, wool cloak; bearing down upon the earth the impending coming of the Lord. I’m read through the first 6 chapters of Jeremiah so far, and I’m struck by God language more than anything. Isaiah struck me by how many ways God warned Israel that he was going to destroy them, and the methods of that destruction, but Jeremiah is giving me a different feel. I can’t quite put my hand on it. Sure, God is warning of the coming wrath, and Israel’s imminent invasion from the North, but perhaps its His language in basically describing Israel as whores, sleeping all around the land; leaving not one rock or tree undefiled by their lustful and lasciviousness.
“Look all around you! Is there anywhere in the entire land where you have not been defiled by your adulteries? You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a client. (Jer. 3: 2)”
Israel’s sin has become deep rooted in their hearts, to the point that the question is no longer if they will fall away, but when, and how many times in that day will they fall away. And I guess the only way that I can fully understand this is to put the microscope on my own life. I still sin (a hush comes over gallery, followed by a collective gasp), and when I do, I go through a process. I know that God hates my sin, but my sin causes me to hate myself, which is not what God wants. My sin often times causes me to withdraw and retreat, sometimes I cower in fear that perhaps because of my sin, God is coming swiftly to cut me down. Ok, its not that bad anymore, because I better understand what His sacrifice has done for me,but I used to really be afraid of death following sin, and even when I repeat that same sin, I take no pride in that fact. But, here we see the Israelites living in sin, and glad to be where they are. They have no shame, because they don’t believe that they are doing anything wrong. Can you imagine the filter being so broken to the point where even the rebuke of a man or woman of God has no effect on your broken condition? Check this out:
“…God’s prophets are windbags full of words with no divine authority. Their predictions of disaster will fall on themselves. (Jeremiah 5: 13)”
Their falling away had become so pronounced, that the only way for God to truly get their attention was a complete and utter deconstruction. I think that this is the part that really brings some nausea to my stomach. As a world, our state of apostasy is probably at an all time high. We have become so proud of our own accomplishments, that many times we worship our own images. Our idols are no longer made of wood and metal, but the new improved versions are made of flesh and bone. They walk and talk before us, yet stalk behind us, looking for a chance to pounce on us. We go through life in a drunken stupor, either too heavenly minded to be any earthly good, or to earthly minded to see that we’re physically headed to hell.
Where is the compassion of the Christian in this day? When out hearts should be hurting with the rampant wickedness of the day, how is it that we have become callous and oblivious instead? When we see so many of our own family members headed down the curved and crooked way, towards the broad gate that leads to eternal separation, how is it that we as Watchmen, can wipe our bloody hands on our “white” robes and continue singing, “When the Saints to marching in?” Do we not understand that while our own sins are covered, we also sin by ignoring God’s commands to comb the hedges and the highways to bring all that we can to the banquet? See, Jeremiah had it right. I can imagine this guy’s eyes being continually red and swollen. God had chosen him for the unenviable task of warning a nation that would refuse to hear him. He felt God’s emotions. If you can imagine how big God is, then could you also imagine how big God’s emotions must be? To stuff even one of them inside of a human being, I know that Jeremiah felt like he was being ripped apart. Check this out:
“To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the Lord. They don’t want to listen at all. So, not I am filled with the Lord’s fury. Yes, I am weary of holding it in. (Jer. 6: 10-11)”
So, Jeremiah himself was filled with God’s fury at this deaf people. I think many times, we (Christians) feel the fury, but we direct it at the people and not the sin. In doing so, we effectively cut off the very people that God has called us to minister too. We have no right to condemn or place anyone in hell, no matter how grievous the sin. God is the only one qualified to be angry with people, yet even when He gets beyond angry at us, all of His motives are centered on an incomprehensible love that seeks to save, not cut off.
Where is our compassion? I have a feeling that God chose Jeremiah because of his pliable, sensitive heart. He wasn’t called the “Weeping Prophet” for nothing.
“My heart, my heart- I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. (Jer. 4:10)”
Jeremiah felt a fraction of what God felt, and the fact that God had to allow the people whom He had chosen for Him to be decimated by a nation of godless people did a number on him. He had the kind of heart that God is looking for. Jeremiah had the kind of heart willing to shout from the rooftops. He had the kind of heart that would not give up, no matter how many times he was rejected. He had the kind of heart that was willing to fight through his own emotional pain in hopes that he might be able to spare Israel deep physical and spiritual pain. This is the heart of Christ! Christ had all, left all, then gave all that we would never have to know the pain of eternal separation from God. He endured our countless rejections. He endures our everyday failings. He sees our thoughts, watches our morbid fascinations with ungodly ideals and things, yet He never gives up interceding on our behalves. He cried for us in Gethsemane. He prayed for us on Calvary. When we beat Him, he never judged, nor condemned us. He forgave us, then He gave to us the most precious gift in the existence of the world.
Where are our hearts? My heart is heavy now, just thinking about the weight of sin on the world, and the coming wrath of God to be poured out on the sons and daughters of iniquity. My heart grieves because there is so much that I have not done, yet I call myself by His name. I freely and openly admit, that sometimes sin rules the minute it the hours in my life, and I hate it. But the question comes forth even in times of personal darkness:
“Do you love me? Will you feed my sheep?”
If I am to answer that question properly, then I must be willing to give all. If Christians are to be the Body, then the arthritic rigidity that has come upon our bones must be shaken off. The cold, callous walls that we’ve built around our hearts must be torn down. We must allow ourselves to feel the weight. We must open our eyes and see the blood on our hands. We must cry out with our mouths to those who know, yet refuse to follow. We must give, and then give more. We must give until our very heart stops beating because of the exertion of will. We must be Christ to those who don’t see or know Him.
Family, there is so much work to be done. Jesus said that He had to be about His Father’s work during the day, because the night was coming in which no man may work. I would caution you, that it is dusk in our time now, yet the harvest still sways in the wind, waiting on workers to get busy. I would pray that our hearts would be stricken with the knowledge that our King is coming back, and that His return is sooner rather than later. And I would also pray that our hearts hurt with the burden of a dying world.
“God, please open our eyes and ears. Melt our hearts. Show us our true conditions, and then heal us completely that we may work on your behalf with no selfish motives. Then give us words to speak. Give us love to give away. Give us the freedom of living without restraint that it takes to do battle with the darkness of this world. I pray that you would cause us to see through Your eyes, the true decimation of the souls of this world. Show us the decay, and damage that our sin does to our lives. Then, show us the victory that comes through Your blood, and strengthen us to walk in it until You call Your people to be with You. In Your most Holy name, Amen.”
Until next time, fam, be blessed.