As in the Days of Jeremiah?

August 12, 2021 at 5:18 PM 4 comments

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In today’s world, we often judge the success or failure of a ministry by the number of people attached to it and level of excitement, don’t we? Traveling evangelists go from church to church and their goal is to bring people to the Lord, of course. This can be done by simply preaching the Word and letting God’s Word fall where it might or it can involve a number of pointed guilt cue attacks on the people gathered to hear the message, often guilting people out of hell and into heaven. That was Charles Finney’s M.O.

I’ve heard both. But truly, today’s evangelist will often cite the number of people saved at one of his evangelistic services as “proof” that God is working through that individual. What else does that evangelist have if they do not have “numbers”?

Yet, when we consider many of the prophets of the Old Testament, we would have a difficult time classifying them as successful in ministry because the “numbers” were just not there.

The pressure to see people “converted” is often the hinge that many ministries work under and because of it, people tend to think that repeating the sinner’s prayer is the way to get into heaven and hearing a person “repeat after me” is the doorway to heaven.

Saying a few words is not the magic formula it appears to be though. Yet, too many stick with it. To come to know the Lord actually requires dialog, insight, questions and answers, and repentance.

I may have mentioned a relative I have who is an alcoholic, though he denies it; says he’s “fine.” He’s been in rehab three separate times and while they all worked to an extent and for a short while, nothing really took permanently. Today, he drinks like a fish and unfortunately, cannot function without hard liquor.

This person is also convinced he’s “saved.” He believes this because years ago, he prayed the “sinner’s prayer” that is often seen as a magical formula for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. There’s absolutely nothing about his life that changed for the better since saying the sinner’s prayer. Please pray for him though. Thank you.

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Time and time again in the New Testament, a person became saved when the realization dawned on them they needed Someone outside of themselves to save them because their own merit wasn’t good enough and in fact, their own sin was their major downfall, placing them, like all of us, on the road to hell. That realization opened their eyes to the truth that Jesus is who He claimed/claims to be. They literally saw/realized the truth about themselves and their need for Jesus and they embraced Him spiritually through repentance. They then began to follow Him in obedience.

We are saved, we are being saved and we will be saved. It’s a process we call sanctification.

But if we consider the book of Jeremiah, we see a man called by God to be His mouthpiece to that generation of Israelites. By today’s standards, the man Jeremiah was not successful in the least, if we look solely at numbers of those “converted” after hearing his many messages from God to them.

In human terms, Jeremiah was a failure because no one in Israel was moved by the prophet’s words to even want to repent. We will learn that not only did they reject out of hand Jeremiah’s messages from God, due to the hardness of heart and abject rebellion, but they actually wanted to kill the prophet and tried.

Jeremiah experienced doubts, frustrations and beatings all because God called him into service to be a prophet and to share God’s truth. There were times as we’ll see that Jeremiah wanted to keep silent but couldn’t because God’s Words burned so passionately within him. There were times Jeremiah questioned God; what He was doing, what the outcome would be, why He chose Jeremiah to deliver these messages that no one wanted to hear?

However, Jeremiah, though a failure by human standards, was nowhere near a failure as far as God is concerned. Jeremiah remained true to God and His message in spite of how the prophet was treated by Israel.

Jeremiah must have felt terribly alone. I sometimes feel like that, more and more in this current day and age where it appears Satan has been given the go-ahead to bring his final global kingdom to fruition. There are so many things that are being done to undermine God and attack Christians throughout the world that it is very difficult to keep track of it all. It is making life very difficult for many of us. It wouldn’t surprise me to see home churches take the place of established churches in coming days, at least as an adjunct.

Christians, especially in America, don’t like difficulties, do we? We want smooth sailing. We want God to answer all our prayers with a mighty “Yes!” We want to grow in our relationship with God so that our bond with Him will become greater and our desire to sin will become less, but we are often unwilling to go through the difficulties that God sends or allows in life as a refining vehicle. We need to remind ourselves what saints of old went through. Jesus says we will have troubles in this world (John 16:33).

Difficulties that come our way – whatever they are; job, money, relationship issues, etc. – are designed to make us stronger by causing us to lean on Him; stronger in exercising our faith in God. We must learn to take the good with the bad, which is why Paul says that in every situation, we should praise the Lord in earnest (1 Thessalonians 5:18). There is something God is trying to accomplish in every situation that comes our way.

The book of Jeremiah is filled with unique offerings, things that are not in other books of God’s Word. By way of introduction to that book, let me point out a few things that I find interesting. First, some have cataloged this book as the most spiritual book, second only to the Psalms.

So far as we have a data for judgment, Jeremiah was the healthiest, youngest, bravest, grandest man of Old Testament history. [1]

and

There is nothing in all Scripture so eloquent of love and sorrow and consolation as the XXXI. and XXXIII. chapters of Jeremiah. No words can be found in any language of such touching beauty. [2]

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“Touching beauty”? What many to most of us see in the book of Jeremiah is not beauty, but sorrow. We see God’s constant warnings of judgment, His throwing up His hands at the nation of Israel, and the turning of His back on them and not hearing their prayers. Yet, to dig deep within the pages of Jeremiah, we do find a sense of beauty and promise as we learn that God did cast Israel off delivering them to the terror of a northern nation (Babylon). But this same God will one day bring absolute peace to the nation, made up of a completely different generation of Israelites.

The book of Jeremiah is filled with remonstrance, anger and promises of judgment, but it is also filled with the promise of future reconciliation and perfect peace with God, the Creator of Israel. It is easy to forget this latter reality because so much of the book focuses on what no one likes to experience; God’s judgment. No authentic Christian will ever experience God’s wrath, just as Jeremiah did not.

A few facts about Jeremiah before we wrap this article up. Jeremiah was a priest by birth in the sense that he was born into a priestly household (Jeremiah 1:1). He was eventually called by the Lord to what became his prophetic ministry to Israel at a very early age of just twenty-one. Upon hearing God’s call, he tried to get out of it by pointing to his youth, his inexperience and the fact that he did not believe he was a good speaker (Jeremiah 1:6).

God responded by confirming to Jeremiah that He knew Jeremiah before he was born and called for this purpose (Jeremiah 1:5). He was then given divine ability to do what God called him to do. God calls and always empowers an individual to do what that person is called to do.

Jeremiah’s message, he quickly learned, was not a crowd pleasing message. In fact, it was very solemn and terrifying, which caused much sorrow in Jeremiah’s heart because of the weight of that message.

Because of what God called Jeremiah to do, Satan wasted no time in attempting to bring the prophet down. His own family (Jeremiah 12:6), the men of his own town (Jeremiah 11:18), all conspired against him. I’m sure they felt what they were intending was correct, but clearly it was not. Moreover, the people of Jerusalem conspired against the prophet (Jeremiah 18:18). He was beaten and put in stocks (Jeremiah 20:1-3). After release, he was set up and almost lost his life (Jeremiah 26). As if this wasn’t enough, he was thrown into prison several times (Jeremiah 37:11-15; 38).

After the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar released Jeremiah. For a time he assisted the new governor, who was eventually assassinated forcing him against his will to flee with refugees to Egypt. It was there he met his death by stoning.

Afghanistan has fallen to Taliban. They are now taking guns because they say they will keep people safe. Hitler and many other dictatorships have said the same thing to disarm society.

Jeremiah’s ministry lasted 40 years. Forty years of telling the people of Israel what they did not at all want to hear. Though he was empowered by God for his ministry, he suffered greatly. Still, through that suffering he grew in love and devotion to the LORD.

Jeremiah has some very unique and interesting things to say to us and at least some of it applies to us living today. Will you hear it? Will you benefit from it? Will you embrace it? I’ll have more on Jeremiah as well as a look at what may lie ahead according to Scripture, including the Rapture.

 

[1] Dr. W. W. White as quoted in The Outlined Bible, by Robert Lee

[2] Isaac Williams, Ibid

 

Entry filed under: 9/11, Agenda 21, Atheism and religion, christianity, Communism, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, ISIS, Islam, Islamofascism, israel, Judaism, Life in America, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Shadow Government, Socialism, Transhumanism, Trilateral Commission, ufology.

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