Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
We come to Jeremiah Chapter 5 . This preaching of Jeremiah - these messages - these addresses - are so relevant to our nation today. We see that again in the verses we are reading.
Remember the situation in which Jeremiah was prophesying - and to whom - the nation of Israel. There are two remarkable things about Israel - their suffering and their survival. These are two elements which are hard to understand and accept – but realise their significance. Israel has suffered more than any other people - and they have survived better than any other nation.
Their suffering is in a sense, a demonstration of the justice of God - and their survival is a demonstration of the mercy of God. When we look at Israel, we can learn a secret of history. God reveals a secret to us - through Israel.
We see something of this on the table when we eat bread and drink from the cup - as we focus upon the suffering of Jesus - upon the death of Jesus - and yet, that same bread and wine point us to the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ - who forgives our sins - washes our sins away - and gives us life and strength and renewal. There is a sense of thanksgiving - and - triumph and victory as we receive here what we could never receive anywhere else.
God reveals one of the secrets of history - and it is very simple but very costly.
In these verses we are reading of the God of Israel - and the Israel of God.
The prophecies in this section look like jumbled assorted sayings - there does not appear to be a sequence - not as in his previous sermon. Did they just burst spontaneously from this man of God? But here is an explanation of why nations come and go.
Selwyn Hughes deals with this from a different angle. Where is Babylon? Greece? Rome? British Empire?
1. There is a spiritual decline.
2. There then arises moral decadence.
3. The consequence is national destruction. Where are we in this, in year 2022?
That is a lesson written over history - and here everything came true to the letter.
It is the nation which seeks God which will be blessed. We have a long way to come back before we can look for the Blessing of God upon our land - but remember too, it is possible to come back fast - as the Holy Spirit moves.
1. Spiritual Decline . When a nation ceases to be afraid of God, she will become afraid of other things - e.g. over these past years - violence - unemployment - inflation - AIDS – two years of pandemic etc. What will the global economic situation be over these next months and years?
In the days of Jeremiah people forsook God - and they tried other religions. They abandoned the God Who called them - and raised them up - and brought them up out of Egypt into the Promised Land.
In our nation - any religion except faith in Jesus Christ appears to be of great interest to people. Materialism - money - gambling - sport - pleasure - the weekend. We have become a ‘pluralistic society’ - which means there is a plurality of gods - with a small g, but a big demand and a big following.
Israel, the chosen people, had turned to Baal - which means ‘husband’ - and sexual orgies were part of that religion.
Verses 7,8 give us a picture of lust - the people were behaving like animals. And the leaders were not able to stop the rot - but they were continuing to carry out the rituals.
Verse 12 . Now there were some preachers going around - and they were saying that the Lord would not harm them. False prophets always say nice things - that never helps people. If there was something seriously wrong with you medically, you would not wish the doctor to deceive you - not if he could help you.
And it is not just a few ‘radicals’ who undermine our society - but all the compromising complacent apathetic people who have allowed the kind of leadership which is around to emerge – because we have got away from the Word of God. All deception arises when we depart from the truths revealed in the Word of God.
Verses 20 - 25 . “You no longer fear God - let ME mention one thing to you - “WATER”. If we have no water - nothing will grow - what a delicate balance - if we have too much, everything is destroyed - and peoples’ lives are in danger.
We are told that if the polar ice caps melted, the water level would rise some 200 feet - and that would wipe out almost every major city in the world. All our Creator God has to say is - “Ice melt”. Yet, when He is in control, millions of gallons can fall upon our land - drop by drop - and in 48 hours we can have 2 ½ inches of lovely soft rain. God does allow things to get out of balance - not out of His control!
Today, we are more afraid of pollution – and certain bombs - than afraid of God.
2. Moral Decadence. We are well down that slippery slope - as moral righteousness has almost slipped out of sight. Belief affects behaviour - creed affects conduct.
Pollution of AIR and the AIRWAVES. If people say - why bother with God - soon it becomes why bother with ‘good’. Why bother to Worship soon becomes why bother to work!
This is a process which is difficult to halt - unless God intervenes directly. It is only the moving of almighty God - the God of Mercy and Love and Grace and Purity and Power - that can halt the rot which has set in.
Just as God raised up prophets then - today Jesus has raised up a people who will continue to be the salt of the earth preserving it from decaying faster - slowing down the process - and the light preventing the world from becoming darker faster.
Verse 1. Jeremiah - go and visit the big city - walk up and down the streets of Jerusalem - check out what I have been revealing to you. Is there one person - who deals honestly, and who seeks the truth?
O people were saying things - theological things - and they are right - they are correct - but what they said did not influence their lives or the life of the nation. But they were even immune to the rebuke of the Lord! These people would not be corrected - they would not put things right - or sort things out.
Jeremiah found guile everywhere he went. How long would it be before Israel would experience national destruction? How long before we in the U.K. experience national destruction?
“Lord God Almighty – our gracious loving Father – You Word has always something to say to us – speak to us through the preaching and teaching of Jeremiah, Your prophetic servant – give us ears to hear what You are saying – and the wisdom and grace to give heed to Your ancient but relevant and timely Word – we pray 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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