Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 15 October 20:
Jeremiah 25:3 — “The word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened.”
For about 40 years, Jeremiah, ‘The Weeping Prophet’ faithfully and persistently prophesied against his nation, contrary to the other prophets of his time, and at the expense of his own comfort and security. In today’s readings, Jeremiah was on year 23. He countered his government, the church, and the culture. Who are we not listening to today? Who is the Jeremiah of our generation? How long would you faithfully proclaim God’s word in a hostile environment without any apparent results? Do you need results or confirmation to be faithful? Jeremiah did His job as an Ambassador. How others responded to Him was not Jeremiah’s responsibility. Have you persistently proclaimed God’s word?
Jeremiah 25:34 — “Wail, you shepherds, and cry out, and roll in ashes, you lords of the flock, for the days of your slaughter and dispersion have come, and you shall fall like a choice vessel.”
There are two types of sorrow: the sorrow of repentance, being truly sorry for having done wrong with a heart to never do wrong again; and the sorrow associated with punishment, being sorry for receiving the pain of discipline and judgment. People who do not experience the sorrow of repentance will only cry out and mourn when judgment falls upon them. The Gospel message begins with a call for repentance, an unappealing or unacceptable message to the prideful –
- Matthew 3:2 — “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- Matthew 3:8 — Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
- Matthew 4:17 — From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- Matthew 11:20 — Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.
- Mark 1:15 — and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
- Mark 6:12 — So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.
- Luke 13:5 — No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
- Luke 15:7 — Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
- Luke 24:47 — and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
- Acts 2:38 — And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 8:22 — Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
- Acts 26:20 — but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
- 1 John 1:9 — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
How often do you hear repentance being preached today? How would you talk with someone about repentance and the Gospel?
Jeremiah 26:2, 3 — “Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.”
Jeremiah was sent to ‘worshippers’ who were about to face the judgment of God because they did not really honor Him as God in their hearts and in their deeds. God had to encourage Jeremiah not to “hold back a word” because this was a message no one wanted to hear, a message that would not be received well; but God intended to give them a chance to repent anyway. Perhaps, Jeremiah was the only one in his day proclaiming this message — the pastors, priests, and gurus of the day certainly weren’t.
“It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.” People have a choice and a chance to obey or not obey.
Jeremiah 26:14 — “But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you.”
Again, Jeremiah was willing to proclaim God’s word regardless the consequences, and he never stopped preaching. Do you proclaim the Gospel regardless the consequences, placing your trust in the Lord?
Jeremiah 26:11 — “Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, ‘This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.’”
Much like Jesus, Jeremiah was persecuted by the religious leaders of his day. Jeremiah was essentially accused of being unpatriotic or politically incorrect because he preached the word of God. Today, God’s word is becoming more and more politically incorrect, placing the Christian in a moral dilemma. Many respond to this division of ideas by remaining silent in order to preserve the ‘peace’, abrogating their life mission of being Christ’s ambassador. What will you do?
Jeremiah 26:16 — “Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, ‘This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.’”
A nation needs leaders, not just theologians, who are willing to listen to God and to call for a national fear of the Lord.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 October 20: Have the confidence to speak truth into every situation you encounter, using all circumstances to proclaim the Gospel.