I take the Bible to have been written to us, here and now. Not that we in America, 2014, are anything special. God’s word applies to all times in history, to all people everywhere.
Even so, the Book of Jeremiah seems to have been written with us particularly in mind. The prophet’s warning to the people of Jerusalem reads like a letter from God—to us.
Today my reading brought me to Jeremiah Chapter 23, which begins with this verse: “Woe unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.”
This chapter is God’s warning and rebuke to the Church that was in the land of Judah in those days—prophets, priests, and Temple.
How was the Church destroying God’s people? The Lord answers at length, through Jeremiah.
First, the leaders and officials of the Church set a bad example. “For both prophet and priest are profane: yea, in my house have I found their wickedness…” (Verse 11) Adds Verse 14, “…they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of the evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness…”
In our time the news is full of Church leaders who have disgraced themselves. You could spend all day listing them. And not only that, but they are quick to assure certain sinners, “Hey, don’t sweat! What you do is not a sin at all, the Bible got it wrong, and you can just keep on doing what you’re doing. Don’t even think about repenting!” Whether it’s the unashamed practice of sodomy, or a self-proclaimed “Christian” politician voting public money for abortion, the message of the flatline Protestant churches, and the far-left Catholic fringe, is the same: You’re all gonna go to Heaven anyhow, so don’t give God’s laws a second thought.
God continues. Verse 7: “They say still unto them that despise me—“ we have plenty of seminarians, preachers, and their followers who fit that description—“The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say until every one of them that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.”
Keep it up with your “pride” parades, with high officials openly flouting the laws they took oaths to enforce, and apostate Church denominations and bent clergymen cheering them on for all they’re worth. Nothing bad is going to happen to you!
Worst of all, the corrupt Church does all this in God’s name, defying the Third Commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Our king, er, president, is particularly addicted to invoking the name of Jesus Christ to justify his wicked policies, as if he could make the Son bear false witness against God the Father’s word.
Verse 21: “I have not sent these prophets, but they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.” God adds, in Verse 30, that “they steal my words every one of them from his neighbor.” Not only do they speak lies in God’s name, but they also prevent God’s true word, in the Bible, from being heard by the people.
The end result of this, says Verse 30, is that the corrupt Church and the false prophets “cause my people to err by their lies.” Instead of turning the people to repentance and obedience, their lies breed pride, a totally false sense of security, and rebellion.
This state of affairs ought to make us exceedingly uneasy. The people of Jerusalem listened to the false prophets and rejected Jeremiah. They refused to mend their ways; and God sent Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to burn their city and Temple to the ground and carry them into foreign captivity for seventy years.
No foreign power will remove 300 million Americans from their native soil. But we can go into captivity without going anywhere! Our own home-grown Nebuchadnezzars can make us slaves and captives right here at home—which seems to be exactly what is happening.
The Bible teaches that the wicked are the sword in God’s hand (Psalm 17:13); and that judgment, when it comes, must begin at the house of God (I Peter 4:17).
We have done our level best to earn it. God gave us prosperity, liberty, and security. At His pleasure, He can take it all away.
Whoever can read this chapter of the Bible without fearing for his own country is a fool.
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