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.
Read Jeremiah 21:1-14
As I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah I was once again struck by the timely message it holds for our nation's leaders. In the previous chapter Jeremiah was thrown in the stocks because of his prophecies. In this chapter, Pashhur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, whose father was a priest, are purposely seeking him out for guidance. They are on a mission for the king (whom Jeremiah has been prophesying against) and their actions seem to acknowledge that Jeremiah is a true prophet from God.
So they asked Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord on what they should do about Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who was making war against them. In other words, they believed (or rather King Zedekiah believed) that if they begged God for help He would ignore all the warnings Jeremiah had been prophesying about and Nebuchadnezzar would leave them alone. Up until this point in time Jeremiah's prophecies about their coming destruction at the hands of the King of Babylon, were met with derision. But suddenly those prophecies started coming true and so they rushed to Jeremiah for advice on how to make it stop. They believed they could bargain with God.
They were wrong.
Jeremiah gave them startling news. They weren't just going to war with the King of Bablyon, they were going to war with God Himself.
Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who besiege you outside the walls; and I will assemble them in the midst of this city. I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger and fury and great wrath (Jeremiah 21:4-5, NKJV).
For years they had ignored Jeremiah's warnings to repent and return to God before it was too late. Now, when all seemed lost instead of repenting, they were looking for an easy way to escape the coming judgment. And God provided it, but it was costly.
“Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans [Babylonians] who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him" (Jeremiah 21:8-9, NKJV).
The Lord decreed that those who remain in the city would die by sword, famine and pestilence, but if they willingly went out of the city and defected to the Babylonian side, they would live. So the people of Zedekiah's kingdom had a choice to make. Reject their allegiance to him and their beloved Jerusalem and defect to the Babylonian side, thus saving their lives, or stay and fight a losing battle. As for King Zedekiah, his fate was already sealed.
The Lord reminded King Zedekiah that since he was from the Davidic line he had a responsibility to execute justice in his land for the oppressed. But Zedekiah was a wicked and arrogant king and the Lord knew this, so He told him he would be punished for his wickedness and Jerusalem would be destroyed. He knew King Zedekiah would never bow to another king and pledge allegiance to him. He would never defect to Babylon. He couldn't. He was the king of Judah, his pride wouldn't let him. He would fight against the Lord and lose.
It doesn’t matter how rich you are, how powerful you are or who you are related to, in the end God judges our hearts and our actions. King Zedekiah was a covenant king, responsible for the welfare of the people and ensuring that God alone was worshipped and glorified. But he was wicked and his arrogance lead him to believe he was untouchable. Imagine his surprise when the Lord waged war against him through the King of Babylon.
Governments from all over the world today act much the same way – with arrogance. Unafraid of the consequences of evil deeds. We need only to look at the current wicked President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, to see arrogance and defiance towards God and man in action. We see this kind of arrogance from leaders all over the world. Like Vladimir Putin, who long ago should have had sanctions against him because he has supplied the arms that contributed to Assad's murderous reign. We see it in terrorist groups like ISIS who are constantly shaking their fists at God by bombing churches and beheading Christians - just daring Him to stop them.
And one day He will, and those in power will have to answer to the King of Kings face to face for their wickedness, unless they heed the warning Jeremiah gave to King Zedekiah to repent and return to God.
As we draw closer to the Lord’s return, it is becoming more and more apparent how arrogant and wicked our leader’s in government are. They make decisions that affect millions of people and lead their nations further and further away from God. Today, I thank God for godly leaders but pray for those who do not acknowledge Him, to repent and return to Him before it is too late. Will you join me?
On Jan Markell’s Understanding the Times radio show last week, Michele Bachman (former member of the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota) shared how horrible the Iran Nuclear Agreement will be for the world in general. However, at the same time, she also expressed her excitement over the support the UN Security Council gave to the Iran Nuclear Agreement. She believes it is a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3, which says:
It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it (NASB).
Bachman stated: “All the nations of the world signed an agreement that slams the door against Israel and opened it up to enriching and empowering the leading state sponsor of terror in the world whose ultimate goal is the annihilation of the Jewish State.”
Christians have been seeing the signs of the Lord's return for a long time. Prophecies are being fulfilled. We know these things have to happen. We know it will get worse before it gets better. Scripture tells us, "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed" (Luke 17:26-30, NASB).
The Scriptures tell us Israel will be threatened from all sides, and persecution will increase. So far, Congress hasn't approved the agreement, but Ms. Bachman suggested that Christians should be very excited (rather than worried) about the possibility that Congress will support it.
“I am really actually extremely excited because I think that we’re about to see if we believers act in concert. I believe that we can see the strong right arm of a holy God show to the world and prove to the world His power and His strength” (Michele Bachman, Understanding the Times Radio).
This bothers me more than I can say. I wonder if Ms. Bachman realizes just how nasty the "strong right arm of a holy God" will be? One only needs to read the book of Revelation to get an idea of what we are in for when God will finally act. No one should be excited and looking forward to the day when God will prove to the world His power and strength. No one should be looking forward to it at all! Because when that day comes, that will be it - the end of all things. It will be a day of terror that the world has never before experienced. People will die in their sins on that day - your unsaved neighbours, friends, and family. Redemption for these lost souls, the forgiveness of sins and a place in heaven for all eternity will be lost to them. They will have no more chances. Time will be up, and they will have to give an account to the Lord Himself on why they rejected Him. All who rejected or mocked the Lord will be the ones feeling God's power and strength. So, no, Michele, this is not something to get excited about. This is something we need to fear, and this is something our preachers, leaders, and teachers need to be expounding on from the pulpit. It's time to create an urgency in complacent Christians and to replace the "feel good" theatrical church performances we have on Sunday mornings with the knowledge of what is about to happen. Jesus is returning, and when he comes back, it won't be as a gentle shepherd leading and caring for his sheep, but as a mighty warrior, a king wielding justice for all those who said no to His offer to save them from God's wrath.
I get why Michele Bachman and others are excited about the prospects of Jesus returning soon. I get why people say, "Come, Lord Jesus, come." I say it from time to time because, quite frankly, this world sucks! But then I stop myself because of the implications it brings. Yes, we are tired of the evil and corruption in this world, and we look forward to that day when Jesus comes again and makes everything right. But when I think about my neighbours or friends and family members who have rejected God and his promise of salvation, I can only weep.