We have bought into a lie in these modern times. We believe that truth is only what we make it. Most people don’t believe in absolute truth any longer, rather they believe that they only need to follow their heart. You hear it all the time, “Well, this is what I believe to be true” or “This is the truth, I think!” I am guilty of saying things like “That’s what’s true for me!” If truth is relevant to only ourselves then no wonder so many people ignore Gods law and do their own thing! We are not the first generation to build our own truth. Take a look.
“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord. This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’ Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. Jeremiah 6:13-19, (New International Version or NIV).
There is something in this passage I had not noticed before; Jeremiah is not describing the average person on the street but the leaders in the religious community. The Prophets and Priests were not preaching and teaching the truth of God’s law rather they preached and taught what the people wanted to hear. I can just hear them now saying things like divorce is okay and working to gain more money is not a crime, cheating your parents, neighbors, and friends is just part of everyday business, be good businessmen and forget about the poor! Fashions are important, plastic surgery is commonplace, and of course you must have the latest camera cell phones to take better selfies! Oh and make certain that your children have everything they need to grow up just like you, greedy, needy, and narcissistic! It really sounds like our world today and unfortunately some within the religious community are leading the charge in false teachings! So what does God think about all of this redefined truth? Notice that toward the end of the passage what God says is coming to these people.
Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.
Do you suppose that the troubles many nations are experiencing today are consequences being played out on a global scale, consequences for not following God’s laws? We have so many false religions today where the law of God is being twisted to gain the favor of man. I am referring to the religion that teaches blowing up people is going to get you a harem of virgins to play with for eternity. Or what about the teaching that money is more secure than faith. Or how about the one that teaches cows are sacred but people aren’t. And the all-time favorite, after your body dies in this life you will be reborn as a better person or a cockroach if you’re not a good person!
What about our nation? Do you think that perhaps we are in such turmoil and seeing so many natural disasters on our shores because we as a nation of people who used to believe in the One True God are now embracing other gods? Are we truly one nation under God? No, we are a self-centered nation with grand ideas that we can solve our own problems without the help of any religion. Some think that if we would just allow the government to control our lives rather than God then we would be so much happier and so forth and so on!
What happens to a nation that turns their backs on God and hire prophets and priests that say what the people want to hear rather than the truth of God’s word? What happens to a people who put their trust in armies and borders and financial strategies? What happened to the people Jeremiah was sent to warn?
Therefore this is what the Lord says: “I will put obstacles before this people. Parents and children alike will stumble over them; neighbors and friends will perish.” Jeremiah 6:21, (NIV).
Obstacles were placed in the path of those people so that they and their children would stumble and fall. I doubt this meant that stones were placed in the streets to make them all fall down. No, I suspect that the obstacles were cultural and in the mind and heart. We see those same stumbling blocks today in our own culture. The worship of self is very prevalent today and so is the love of money, lack of respect for life, authority, and so much more. We see divorce and the rippled effect upon families and friends that divorce negatively impacts. We see poverty that breeds a sense of entitlement and ignorance that breeds more ignorance. We see alcohol and drug abuse as well as domestic and sexual abuse. We see pornography, child neglect as well as abuse and animal cruelty. We see every conceivable sin played out on the big screen and the little screen and in the books we read. We see violence glorified and good deeds ignored. I would say that many have stumbled over these obstacles, wouldn’t you? What does Jeremiah say will happen next to such people?
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message: “ ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place.’” Jeremiah 7:1-3, (NIV).
God didn’t mess around with the nation of Israel His chosen people so why should we think that He will tolerate our nation’s sins? He won’t! There is a day coming for our nation just as many nations that turned their backs on God came before us. We either repent and turn back to God or we disappear as a world leader. Reform our ways and you will live but if we don’t reform our ways then we won’t be living as a great nation much longer. If you don’t think this is an absolute truth then do a little digging into history. Where is the great British Empire that sent forth hundreds and hundreds of missionaries to foreign lands? They are a lot smaller now. Where is the Roman Empire? It is a lot smaller now. Where are the great German and Russian Empires? They are a lot smaller now. Where is the great French Empire? A little country now. Get the picture?
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:13-16, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Our world is suffering and most don’t even realize it. Prayer is sometimes the only option but I believe it is the best option. I can’t do much from my vantage point for my nation, but I can pray and I am going to begin to pray as I have never prayed before. Join me, won’t you? What else can we do?
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20, (NASB).
We can also remain faithful to what the Bible teaches is right and not what the world teaches. And when we remain faithful to the teachings of scripture our impact on others can be tremendous. We also need to help each other because we all will fall into sin at some time or another. Don’t silently sit by when you see a friend on the verge of sinning, stand up and help them to resist! Sometimes that is with prayer and other times it is with conversation. Stay connected to God and to others. We may be but a few in number who are seriously concerned about our world today, but God only needs a few to make a difference. Look what He did with twelve men!
Until next time…Katherine