Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
In Jeremiah Chapter 5 and at verse 5 we read that Jeremiah sets out to go and speak to the leaders - but they too have compromised their principles - “Surely they will know the way of the Lord - surely they will know what God requires of them.”
Yes, they knew - but they had thrown off the demands of God. And in verse 6 the big words are used - rebellion and backsliding. And that led to moral decay.
Verse 13 . We have a terrible description of the popular preachers.
What a warning to us as a people – and regarding our nation – our society – and concerning the welfare and well-being of civilization.
Jeremiah is dealing with big issues in these messages - as God speaks to him - and commands him to speak out - and tell things as they really are – to describe the situation as God sees the situation.
We have been looking at - the Spiritual Decline - the Moral Decadence - the consequence being National Destruction - and seeing such a parallel to our current situation.
Jeremiah is to go through the streets of Jerusalem and check things out - and see how far the people of God have sunk!
In no way were these people grateful for what God had done.
In our Worship - in our times of Praise and Prayer - always include thanksgiving - be known as someone who is grateful - a person and a people who express thanks. As we give thanks - His Goodness and Blessing can fall upon us preventing rebellion and backsliding.
Verse 25 - learn the lesson, as they failed to have regular rainfall resulting in failed harvests.
Jeremiah uses - in verse 26 - the picture of a fowler - of a poacher - and he is setting his traps to catch people. He realises that he is not getting enough in a legitimate way - so he tries illegal methods.
Materially these people have grown rich and fat – economically prosperous. There is no limit to what they will get up to - and they have no interest in the fatherless or the poor - that is always an element that touches the heart of God. Verse 28 . When men rebel - who suffers? The orphans and the needy and the poor. This appears to be a principle of sin - when men rebel - the poor and needy and fatherless suffer.
Verse 31 . The prophets and priests proved to be unfaithful to God – and the people liked it that way! Today – I am not sure if the people could even be bothered!
Religious and moral values had gone in Israel - but by now society was no longer stable! First of all, there is a collapse from the inside - and that happens before anything is seen from the outside.
And notice – verse 6 - it is the lion and the wolf and the leopard that will come and devour. This is the language of the jungle. If people want to live that way - it is as if God says - you will reap the results of the jungle - of the animal world.
Chapter 6 verse 9 . Judgement will be so total - it will be like going through a vineyard so that not one grape is missed. The first punishment was failed crops - 5 verses 24,25 - that was the first way God tried to get through to His people - the rains did not come - food was scarce - their sins had prevented the rains from falling – the irony of it all - they worshipped Baal - the fertility god – and now there was no rain.
Then there came this fearful conflict - God uses human beings - Babylon - they were cruel and relentless. Jeremiah - verse 10 - had to prophesy - and speak and proclaim - that no-one would listen or pay attention – but the fire of the Lord is burning in his bones - and he cannot remain quiet. And - the Word of the Lord is that everything will be lost.
Verse 13 to 15 . All are alike. They put a plaster on a cancer - they say that things are not serious. They say ‘Peace - Peace - when there is no Peace!’
That is what people will be prophesying and preaching when Jesus Christ comes again - 1Thessalonians 5 verse 3.
They were not ashamed of their behaviour - they did not even blush. Nothing could shock them or shame them.
Verse 16 . Ask for the old ways - if you don’t know where the good way is - ASK. There you will find rest. For us - it means returning to the Lord Jesus Christ - who is the way the truth and the life.
Back in 5 verses 14 - 15 . They had chosen foreign gods from foreign lands - so God is going to send them to these lands. Tthey have already gone there in their heart - so they could go there physically.
Our loving God cares about truth and justice - it is dangerous to live sinful lives in the presence of a holy God.
But did you see in the middle of all this? Chapter 5 verses 18 - 20 . There is a tiny ray of hope. There is a remnant. God always has a small group - it may be very small at times - but He always has a group.
I will punish - but I will not finish you off totally and completely.
Chapter 6 verse 26,27 . The preacher goes on to plead. God speaks to Jeremiah – “I have made you a tester - the Lord wanted to try to refine a few in the fires - this was the book which so influenced Daniel - and he had three young men who were influenced - Shadrach Meshach and Abednego - who were thrown into the fiery furnace.
The fire of the Word of The Lord sought to refine the city - but the people would not listen. The Church of the day loved it that way!
Refuse - and refuse - are the same word in both English and Hebrew. If we refuse, we become refuse. Throughout these verses there is this challenge to listen – to listen and hear what God is saying – to pay attention – to repent and so mean business with God.
“Almighty God – loving heavenly Father – there are times when Your Word is almost too hard and too challenging and too solemn – yet, that is because You love us and care for us and are concerned about us – and You remind us how You hate sin. Help us to appreciate and embrace the truths revealed in these verses – enable us to reach out to men and women who need to hear Your voice – we pray again in Jesus’ Name.” Amen.
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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