Being told that the word God gives you is going to be as fire and the people to who you speak as the wood would be a very serious thing. This is what has happened to Jeremiah. In verse 14 of chapter five Jeremiah is told just that; “…I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.”
The weeping prophet I am pretty sure would have been weeping, sorrowing over these words. He had probably been weeping over the spiritual condition of His people. Their spiritual and moral condition was not good. They had an impending threat against them which they were oblivious of.
It is amazing how in a blessed society, of any age, or time how people begin wandering away from the One who has blessed them and begin attributing their blessings to human ability, or human achievements, or maybe even a religion of sorts, and their “faithfulness” to perform their rituals at the expense of truth and faithfulness to the One who has called for their faithfulness. Those things are what had happened in Judah, Jerusalem.
These things have happened in the world today in nations who once knew God, but have turned away from him. When they have done so they progressively become prone to dismissing evil actions as being good. Many of them will claim a rich history of faith, but have none now. It is a very sad thing when our Creator must speak words of judgment against us to call us back to Himself.
Hear the words of God to the prophet –
“Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say. Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men. And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword. Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you. And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours. Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:15-31 (KJV)
The LORD will not leave sin in the midst of those who profess His name. He will deal with those sins that offend Him. Those things which offend Him seem not to offend wayward people. Forsaking Him is the one thing that many seem to be doing today. It is, however, wonderful to know that there are many who are also coming to Him, and many who are faithful to Him. What is your relationship with the LORD today? How is your fellowship with the LORD today?
The prophet is being told that an army is coming which will destroy the nation, the temple, the way of life that they have grown so comfortable with, and yet so lax in sin. They have presented themselves as a godly people without worshipping God. They have turned their backs on fellowship with God.
Fellowship with God comes through faith in Christ Jesus. Fellowship with God is walking with Him. The prophet Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) That simply means that to walk with God we must walk in agreement with Him. You aren’t walking with Him when you aren’t walking obediently.
In the middle of this Scripture we do find a promise. It is this, “Nevertheless, in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you.” (v. 18). Even with judgment lurking at the door; they have the promise of God that He is not finished with His people.
I have said it before, and believe it to be a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon that, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”. When we sin against Him the Holy Spirit within us will afflict us, make us very uncomfortable with our sin, and bring us back to Him. We cannot dwell/live with sin in our lives. To live with sin in our lives, and remain unconvicted, unrepentant, and unmoved would say quite loudly that we are not His. When we are His God will do whatever is necessary to bring us back into fellowship with Himself; even to the point of taking our wealth, our health, our family, our friends, or our freedom.
This is how the LORD worked in Judah and Israel. This is also how He can and does work in the lives of Christians. He is the One who is holy, righteous, and undefiled; and He will have His people to be holy, righteous and undefiled as well. When He speaks we better listen and obey.
How did Judah and Jerusalem end up with this looming threat over their heads? Verses 30 and 31 tell us; “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, the priest bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”
People turning their backs on God because the prophet (preacher) and the priests (the spiritual leaders) do not proclaim the word of the LORD, but their own visions, dreams, hopes [empty] and desires. They have wanted a following for themselves rather than a holy people for God. They have feared the people rather than God.
Within Christianity every child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection; is a priest of God. We all have access to the very throne of grace, before the face of God. When we fail to have personal time before the throne we fail God, and the people we are witnesses to.
I wonder sometimes just how many churches and pastors there are in our country and the world who actually proclaims the word of God in the language of the people, from the throne of grace? By our silence of God’s word we condemn the people. We don’t help them with a message of prosperity, self helps, and or self praise. The word of God is what is needed in today’s world.
-Tim A. Blankenship