As in the days of Jeremiah

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Painting at Vetlanda Church of the prophet Jeremiah with a yoke and a cracked clay pot (Photo: Bernt Fransson,Lindås/Wikimedia Commons)

Jeremiah, for those who haven’t read the Book with his name as its title in awhile, lived in Jerusalem in the decades leading up to the destruction of the First Temple (originally built by King Solomon) in the year 587 BC. These years saw a series of kings reigning in Jerusalem over the southern kingdom of Judah, concluding with a king named Zedekiah.

At a young age, Jeremiah began to receive prophetic utterances to share with the people of Jerusalem and Judah, that God was planning to severely punish them for their disobedience and idolatry. This punishment would include famines, plagues and much else, culminating in the conquest of Jerusalem and the aforementioned destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians, led by a wicked king named Nebuchadnezzar.

Jeremiah warned King Zedekiah that he should submit to the Babylonians as their victory over Judah was God’s will and by insisting on fighting Nebuchadnezzar, they were actually attempting to fight God Himself. By continuing the hopeless fight, they were only making a bad situation worse. Zedekiah heard Jeremiah out, and he probably gave serious consideration to his words. But he also listened to the counsel of other men who declared themselves to be “prophets” even though they were not sent by God, but were instead simply telling Zedekiah and the people of Judah what they wanted to hear.

They were saying, among other things, that there was NO WAY God would ever allow His chosen nation and people to be conquered and enslaved by a wicked king like Nebuchadnezzar. I can imagine them scoffing at Jeremiah’s warnings that there would be a price to pay for their sinful disobedience, including idol worship. I can also imagine them assuring themselves that although they might not be perfect, they were MUCH better than all the other surrounding nations, especially those horrible Babylonians, so it was simply unthinkable that God would use these Babylonians to judge, chastise and ultimately prepare them for something beyond the life they and their fathers had lived for centuries.

Zedekiah and the people chose to listen to these false prophets, while Jeremiah was accused of trying to demoralize the army by speaking about the inevitability of their defeat by the Babylonian forces. Because he refused to be silent, but continued warning the people about what was coming and the proper course of action in the face of it, he was severely persecuted by the false prophets and their supporters. This was an ancient form of what is today known as “cancel culture” and it included having Jeremiah thrown into prison to prevent him from speaking his prophecies to the people.

When the things Jeremiah prophesied were going to happen eventually happened just like he said they would, Zedekiah was taken to Babylon in chains and forced to watch his sons being slaughtered in front of him just before being blinded and thrown into a dungeon to live out the rest of his earthly life thinking about it all. The Bible doesn’t specifically say so, but I think it’s a safe to assume that before he died, he would have come to the conclusion that he really should have listened to Jeremiah when he had the chance.

This story of the Prophet Jeremiah has been on my mind a lot lately because the comparisons between the events described in the Book of Jeremiah and what’s happening in front of our eyes today are as striking as they are alarming.

There are voices in the American church, and among Israel’s Believer community, warning that God has allowed Joe Biden to become President of the United States and giving some very sensible and Scriptural reasons why this has come to pass. They are urging the rest of the church to submit to this new reality and shift attention and resources to proclaim the Gospel and otherwise be about our Father’s business. Some (myself included) have even tried to point out that the revival we’ve all been praying and hoping for for so long is upon us, and that these political events in the US are part of what’s making it happen. The same is true of the imminent mass movement of American and Canadian Jews to Israel, which is very much in line with God’s plan.

But there are other self-described “prophets” who, just as in the days of Jeremiah, are saying that it couldn’t possibly be God’s will to allow such a thing to happen to America, which they appear to think doesn’t deserve God’s judgement because, although it might not be perfect, it’s so much better than other countries. They also appear to believe that America is, for God, and end unto itself rather than a means to an end like every other country on this planet is and always has been. 

These “prophets” are demanding that “the fight” continue, although they don’t seem to have much of an endgame in mind, beyond another four years of Donald Trump being in the White House.

They have even, like those who opposed Jeremiah, gone so far as to engage in a form of “cancel culture” by smearing those who are ready to concede that Joe Biden will in fact be the next President of the United States as “lacking faith” in the sovereignty of God and even being willing to compromise with the forces of Hell itself. 

These accusations are as absurd as they are outrageous, but perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised that in an atmosphere which has prevailed for over a year in which this election was painted in existential, “win or die” terms by both sides, the emotions that have been aroused are coming out of people’s hearts and in such ways. But nonetheless, I would say to those who are engaging in this behavior, to think about what you’re doing. Think about the damage you are doing to the very people and institutions you think you’re protecting and which some of you have spent your whole lives building up.

On that note, someone said many years ago that the church in America has forgotten why it exists, and although that’s probably a subject for another blog (maybe even a book) I would say (with great sadness) that there appears to be a great deal of evidence that this is indeed the case. Among the evidence for this proposition is that the message pounded home over and over again by these “prophets” is that God’s will for America will triumph, despite the efforts of the Enemy who they credit with having orchestrated Biden’s election through massive voter fraud. According to this narrative, God was apparently powerless to stop the fraud from succeeding despite Trump having been chosen and appointed by Him to serve a second term in the White House.

The first part of their narrative, that God’s will for America will triumph despite everything else, is unquestionably true.

What is highly doubtful at this point is if these “prophets” have the foggiest idea what “God’s will for America” actually is. They have become so consumed with fear that it’s caused them to completely forget the lessons that the Bible teaches over and over again about how God deals with earthly nations, including Israel and CERTAINLY including the United States of America.

The God of the Bible allowed many wicked kings to reign in Jerusalem, His chosen city. He allowed many terrible things to happen to the Jewish People, who He calls His own. He not only allowed but SENT His own Son to die a cruel, unjust death at the hands of a pagan, wicked, tyrannical empire. In living memory, He allowed six million Jewish people to perish in a Holocaust which occurred amidst a worldwide conflict which consumed tens of millions more lives.

In the days of Jeremiah, it was God’s will for the people of Judah and Jerusalem that they be severely chastised for their sin by being taken over by a cruel, wicked, pagan foreign power. God willed this to happen to them because in that season of history, it was what would move His plans and purposes for the entire human race forward. The experience was very difficult for them, but God’s will for them triumphed, although it took a very long time for things to play out (they are, in fact, still playing out.)

God allowed all these things, and much else, not because He thought anyone would enjoy them, but because He had plans and purposes that would be served and advanced by them. 

Given this history, is it really SO unthinkable for us that it is God’s will for America that Joe Biden would become President, with all that implies? 

As in the days of Jeremiah, nations are a means to an end for God, not an end unto themselves. If that includes Israel, why would it not also include the United States of America?

In conclusion brothers and sisters, I have never claimed to be a prophet and certainly not Jeremiah.

However, I DO urge you not to make the same mistakes that King Zedekiah and the people he ruled over made. Do not listen to those voices who tell you only what you want to hear, or what makes sense to your natural, fleshly, carnal mind.

I beg to remind you of Isaiah 55:8-9, which says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

It is my prayer that all of us would look to see what God is doing in this season of history we’ve been appointed to live in so that we may get involved in what God is doing instead of trying to tell God what we expect Him to do.

It is my prayer that the people of God would stop listening to these voices which try to tickle our ears with narratives that affirm the fairy tales we’ve allowed ourselves to become emotionally invested in about how God’s primary concern is our health, wealth, prosperity, comfort, political power and/or freedoms, material possessions or any other temporal/chimerical phenomenon.

It is my prayer, that we listen instead to those voices which “discern the times and the seasons” that we’re in and urge us to act in accordance with the will of the Father in Heaven, whose primary concerns, as explained in His Word, are that the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ would be proclaimed to all mankind, that His people Israel would be regathered in their Land and that the Bride of Christ, which is the Church, will be prepared for the wedding feast that’s coming in the very near future.

May His Kingdom come, and His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.