This is what the Lord spoke to me during my recent prayer; “there is no turning back.” He gave me the Words through Jeremiah 6:10-30. This is again a divine warning which our unchanging, Holy and Sovereign God wants me to share with you. I pray by His grace and mercy, that readers of His Word and His message will be blessed with discernment, godly wisdom and understanding of the truth of who our mighty God is, with gratitude and the fear of the Creator of heaven and earth who is far above all powers and principalities. He is the God who has the power to heal and to save. He is, also the mighty God who has the power to judge, to destroy, to deliver and to restore. May we be blessed.
The Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah in v10-12: “To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in. Pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the gatherings of young men, also; both husband and wife shall be taken, the elderly and the very aged. Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together, for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land, declares the LORD.“
When the Lord asks a question, it is not because he does not know the answer. Instead he is really saying to us “Listen, for I am speaking to you!” Here, the Lord alternates between warning His people of His coming wrath and vengeance while at the same time shows concern for those who refuse to listen to Him and who make His Word an object of ridicule.
He continues in v13-15: “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD.”
The Lord accuses His people, every one of them. Every one of them has given into the sins of greed, dishonesty and deception, regardless of their age or status. But not just His people, even His prophets and priests are false prophets and false priests. A band-aid of “peace” – the absence of wars and calamities – has been falsely applied to His people, when there is no peace. God’s people were deceived by “band-aid” healings which did not deal with the root of their sufferings. The roots of their sufferings had more to do with their character, attitude, conduct and their sin, rather than their outward circumstances. Sin, then as now, is never removed by denying its existence or without true repentance and seeking God for His forgiveness! Because of their hard heartedness and their total lack of any shame for their sins, the Lord declared that the false prophets and false priests will also fall with the others, when His wrath and judgement comes.
The Lord then announced to His people in v16-21: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” But they said, “We will not walk in it.” I set watchmen over you, saying, “Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!” But they said, “We will not pay attention.” Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. “Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me.” Therefore, thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will lay before this people stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble; fathers and sons together, neighbour and friend shall perish.”
God has given His people a chance to turn away from their sins and to turn to Him for hope of His mercies and life. He has sent out His watchmen again and again and prophets again and again to warn His people of the impending calamities, so as to lead them to repentance; but they refused to listen and obey. The Lord then called an end to His tolerance. Hence forth, He would reject their sacrifices and their incense. All the services of His people to atone for their sins, were immediately deemed worthless: He would not see them, He would not hear them, He would not smell them, He would not taste them. For instead of pleasing God, they had indirectly used His services as a license to sin, and provoked the anger of God. Because of their rebellious ways and disobedience, the Lord declared to all His people across all the nations, that just punishment was to be poured out upon them. Further, God was going to set “stumbling blocks” before them, at which they would perish.
In v22-26 the Lord then clarifies exactly what is going to happen: “Behold, a people is coming from the north country, a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth. They lay hold on bow and javelin; they are cruel and have no mercy; the sound of them is like the roaring sea; they ride on horses, set in array as a man for battle, against you, O daughter of Zion!” We have heard the report of it; our hands fall helpless; anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labour. Go not out into the field, nor walk on the road, for the enemy has a sword; terror is on every side. O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth, and roll in ashes; make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.”
Here, the Lord tells His people that He will stir up and bring upon them the massed armies of Chaldeans and Babylon like a great storm; peoples who were known for their barbarity, their cruelty and their mercilessness. This storm of God’s wrath was to be inflicted on Zion, on Jerusalem and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations where His people lived.
Saints may rejoice in the hope of God’s mercies and see them as His promises. However, the sins of God’s people open spiritual doors to the enemy and to darkness and eventually leads to God’s punishment. Professing sinners must mourn for fear of God and His judgements, even as they see them as threats. We need to know and recognise that “the enemy has a sword” in v25 is to be fully translated and expressed as “the enemy is armed, used and commissioned by God to execute judgement upon His people.” The Lord cautioned the inhabitants of Jerusalem not to be exposed to the enemy, by going outside the city walls, just as we are warned by the Lord, to not give in to the sins of this world. The sins of the world lead to God’s wrath, God’s judgement and our self destruction.
The Lord foretold His people in v27-30: “I have made you a tester of metals among my people, that you may know and test their ways. They are all stubbornly rebellious, going about with slanders; they are bronze and iron; all of them act corruptly. The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed by the fire; in vain the refining goes on, for the wicked are not removed. Rejected silver they are called, for the LORD has rejected them.”
The inhabitants of Jerusalem suffered great afflictions and distress, and were caught unaware when the wrath of God was suddenly poured out. “Bellows” in v29 refers to God’s messengers: His Watchmen, His Prophets, who preached their throats sore with crying aloud against the sins of Israel. Yet Israel was not convinced or humbled. God, through his prophets and by His providences, used the most proper means to refine this people and to purify them from their wickedness; but it proved all in vain. Through continual preaching of the Word, and by a series of afflictions, Israel had been kept in a constant refining fire, but all to no purpose. Metal is purified by fire; as it is heated, impurities are burned away and only pure metal remains. God tested His people, however, but He could find no purity in their lives, as they continued in their sinful and hard-necked ways.
Looking back at Israel it is easy to see their problems. What do we see when we look at ourselves? Can we see impurities in our lives which must be burned away that we may be acceptable temples for God? Like in the times of the Israelites, one day God will speak, and it will be too late.
In His wrath, may the Lord have mercy.
Amen and Amen!