As I carry on with my study of Jeremiah, I was struck by how timely today's verses were. I didn't want this post to be political, but this post is about pride. And if there is one person in the world who is an excellent example of someone who has an excessive amount of it, it is Donald Trump. His type of arrogance seems to be precisely what Jeremiah 9:23 is referring to.
Pride is a finicky thing. It can be exhibited as a feeling of well-being, like when you graduate from high school or college, for example. It can also be a feeling of joy, like when we take pride in the accomplishments of others - like our children. Every milestone they achieve makes us happy and excited for them and, yes - proud. These types of pride are not evil or sinful of themselves. One is based on completing something after working hard. It is a mixture of relief and satisfaction in getting the job done. The other is based on love and wanting the best for someone.
The type of pride God frowns on, however, is based on something totally different. We see and hear it almost every time Donald Trump speaks. It is a combination of arrogance and haughtiness. And yes, I realize the two are practically identical in meaning, but arrogance is excessive pride in oneself, combined with contempt for others. While haughtiness is a feeling of superiority over others, which is often exhibited by a person's demeanour and disdain for others.
Oh, that my head were waters,
Today while studying Jeremiah 9, I was struck by a few things. First was Jeremiah's obvious distress. He basically says that his eyes would be like a fountain of tears if his head were full of water. That's a lot of crying. He was known as The Weeping Prophet for a reason. This tells me a lot about Jeremiah, the person:
We looked for peace, but no good came
Today as I finished up my study of Jeremiah 8, I was struck by several things that made me feel the grief and agony Jeremiah felt when God warned him judgment was coming upon his people. He warned the people that God would deal with them harshly and soon if they didn't repent. However, the priests and false prophets were telling the people the exact opposite. They kept assuring them everything was fine. God would not judge them or harm them in any way because He loved them too much. This is the refrain of many modern-day prophecy teachers who say that God is a loving God and no one on earth will go to hell. They reject all verses in the Bible that say otherwise because they simply cannot accept that God is capable of divine wrath. By teaching this "no one goes to hell" or "there is no hell" theory, they are taking Jesus off the cross and making His death insignificant. Why? Because it was due to God's wrath over disobedience and sin that Jesus came in the first place. If there is no hell or no punishment to come in the hereafter, then why did Jesus come? So now these modern preachers say, Jesus saved us from all that. We no longer have to fear God because everyone is saved, and everyone wins. By doing that, however, no one feels the need to repent and turn back to God. Life just got easier - eat, drink and be merry - because it really doesn't matter what we do - God is a loving God who would never harm anyone, anyway.
In his day, Jeremiah was dealing with priests and prophets who said the same things. They were probably even telling people not to listen to Jeremiah as he stood at the gates of the temple every day, warning of impending destruction. To them, Jeremiah was just a crazy man preaching about the end of the world. And what does the world do with people like that? They tune them out and continue on their way - much to their detriment.
But what does the Bible say about people like that?
My study of Jeremiah seems to be developing a theme that centers around false teachers and bad politicians, and yet this is not the theme of the study guide I'm following. I believe I already mentioned I'm following Kay Arthur's study on Jeremiah, titled Listening to God in Difficult Times. And I am once again amazed as to what God is showing me. True, the people in Jeremiah's time were not listening to God at all, but it was their complete and utter disregard for God and His ways that made it impossible for them to hear Him. This is why He sent Jeremiah to them. To warn the people of their wickedness.
I am currently looking at Jeremiah 8, and today while reading, I paused and reflected on several different verses that got me thinking about Joel Osteen and his power of positive thinking and the false prosperity gospel he preaches. I also kept hearing in my head that song from the Lego Movie called "Everything Is Awesome." I have talked about false doctrines and false teachers before, and in my book He Who Has an Ear, I even have a chapter on who the wolves in sheep's clothing are today. But today, a series of verses seemed to strike a chord with me about these types of preachers. They preach that everything is awesome, and Christians who listen to them and accept what they're saying without checking their bibles to find out if it's true are doing themselves no favours.
Behold, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them;
Note: This is a re-post from a blog I wrote in 2016. I had no idea then how soon God would act. So now I have to ask the question - is COVID19 a warning shot to the church? It is apparent many church leaders and many Christians have not passed this test from God. Instead, they have been demanding their "rights" over the welfare of others. Jeremiah was a prophet sent to the priests and religious leaders of his day to warn them of God's impending judgement. He urged them to repent. It is alarming to me how quickly God acted after I wrote this (just four years).
Today I am in chapter six of Jeremiah. I have found this study fascinating because even though it is about the Jewish people and a warning from God to them that judgement was coming, I can see acute similarities between our world and theirs.