We’re reminded why Jeremiah is often called the “Weeping Prophet.” Here we read that he is “pained in his heart,” (Jeremiah 4:19). The war, the destruction, the whole land is plundered. He sees what will happen to Judah and Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians. I thought it was interesting that the Lord saw the people as childish and immature:
Jeremiah 4:22 (NKJV) “For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah saw the judgment upon the Jews as catastrophic, as if the earth was without form or void, but God would have mercy upon His people, he would not bring them to an end.
Jeremiah 4:27 (NKJV) “For thus says the LORD: ‘The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end.”
God is a God of grace, but He’s also a God of absolute holiness which is why He MUST judge sin. In dealing with His people He DOES discipline and sometimes severely. May this prompt us all to follow Him with all of our hearts. In Jeremiah 4:30-31 we have judgment specifically upon the Jewish women – or it may be a picture of Jerusalem as a harlot…either way, it’s definitely not pretty. The Babylonians would seek their life, the Babylonians would murder God’s people (Jeremiah 4:31).
In Jeremiah 5 we have further explanation of God’s judgment upon the Jews. They were without truth or justice, they refused to change at God’s correction, they were foolish and did not know the way of the Lord. They would be devoured by “beasts” because of their transgressions, which were many and their backsliding had increased (Jeremiah 5:6). They lusted after their neighbors wives, committed adultery, did not fear God or tremble at His presence (Jeremiah 5:22). They did not consider the cause of the helpless or the fatherless even though they themselves prospered financially. And then…in one sense it even gets worse:
Jeremiah 5:30–31 (NKJV) “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?”
Imagine if the pastors preached lies – if they didn’t teach God’s Word (the truth). Imagine if the pastors, teachers, and preachers did not have God’s Holy Spirit within or upon them as they led and fed the flock. What if the people loved it? They loved they way the people in the pulpits told them what their flesh wanted to hear? That’s how it was then…and that’s how it is in many “churches,” now…but what will they do when they stand before God?
Jeremiah 6 describes the onslaught of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians, it would be disaster and great destruction as they invaded from the north. The people of the city of Jerusalem were about to be punished (Jeremiah 6:6). Jeremiah tried to warn the people, but their ears were uncircumcised, meaning that they couldn’t really hear because of the fleshly ear-wax within (Jeremiah 6:10). There’s too much for us to cover everything but here’s a glimpse of some of the heartache and reasoning behind it:
Jeremiah 6:12–13 (NKJV) “‘And their houses shall be turned over to others, fields and wives together; for I will stretch out My hand against the inhabitants of the land,’ says the LORD. 13 ‘Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely.”
God’s citizens were saturated in sin.
We saw back in Jeremiah 5:30-31 how the false prophets prophesied falsely and here we have some of the “content” of their lies. They said that God was NOT going to judge Jerusalem, they were claiming, “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace. It made the people feel better, but they weren’t better, it helped them not to hurt…but it caused them harm in the end.
Jeremiah 6:14 (NKJV) “They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.”
As a christian and a pastor, I find so much peace in knowing that Jesus is the Head of the church! He’s making the decisions, He’s sending personal messages to every member of His body (the church). He’s the shot-caller.
We read in Colossians 1:19-20 that the Father determined for it to be through Christ that He would reconcile all things to Himself. He did that through the blood of the cross (see also Acts 20:28).
We, who were once enemies of God, are now friends, and children of God. We’ve been made holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Christians need to continue in the faith. This is one of the reasons Paul wrote the book of Colossians, and Galatians, and this is why the book of Hebrews was written. Don’t get sidetracked with the law, or some supposed secret spiritual insight from these elite teachers. Just keep believing in Jesus. Simply hold to Him.
Colossians 1:23 begins with the word “if,” it’s a big if:
Colossians 1:23 (NKJV) “…if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
We must continue to believe in Jesus Christ until the day we die or are raptured. We must not be “moved away from the hope of the Gospel.” As Pastor Chuck Smith so frequently said, “I am eternally secure as I abide in Jesus Christ.”
Paul was a minister of this gospel and therefore he suffered greatly. Colossians was actually written from a Roman prison. Paul had been arrested because of His witness for Christ, but he rejoices in his sufferings, because he knew it was for them, that somehow, someway, God would use these things for an all around good, including the good of the church he was called to serve. Paul knew, he was a prisoner of Christ, not Rome.
Paul mentions one of the “mysteries” in the New Testament – that not only would the Gentiles be saved, but God would live IN them/us! (That’s epic!)
Colossians 1:28-29 is a perfect summary of ministry and it’s the reason why we ministers MUST preach Christ!
Colossians 1:28–29 (NKJV) “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”
Warn the people.
Teach the Bible.
So that people would be saved.
So that Christians would be mature (more like Jesus)
Ministers must work hard, labor, and strive.
Ministers must be empowered by God.
As we get into Colossians 2 we’re reminded how Paul cared for all the churches, even those that he didn’t personally plant. More than likely the church at Colossae was an offshoot from the church of Ephesus. Paul had never visited that church or the church at Laodicea, but that didn’t stop him from having a great “conflict” for them. He cared for them, he was burdened for them – the Greek word speaks of agonizing for them (see also 2 Corinthians 11:28). He wanted their hearts to be encouraged and united through love. He wanted them to lay hold of their spiritual riches, to have that full assurance – to know God intimately.
Paul didn’t want anyone to deceive the people (Colossians 2:4). I have the same concern. There are many false teachers out there today and as a pastor I know that people have access to all of them via radio, internet, social media, word of mouth, etc. I know how “persuasive” some of these wolves are and how many times they just are not preaching Christ. My encouragement to you is that the same way you received Christ (by simple solid faith in Him) you’d continue in Christ, simple, solid faith in Him. Let Paul reiterate:
Colossians 2:6–7 (NKJV) “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, describes himself or someone else, going through an extremely difficult time.
He was so troubled he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t speak, and he was wondering if God had given up on His people. I was sad to read:
Psalm 77:2–3a (NKJV) “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remembered God, and was troubled…”
I remembered God, and was troubled?
Everything he was experiencing seemed bad. He even asked an outrageous question:
Psalm 77:9a (NKJV) “Has God forgotten to be gracious?”
Of course not. Without His grace we’d all be in hell – immediately, for eternity, and justifiably so.
But there may be times in life, when it feels 110% unfair.
The beautiful thing about this Psalm is that Asaph forced himself to remember the works of the LORD. He forced Himself to meditate on, and write, talk, and sing of God’s great deeds. He began to look back on God’s gracious dealings with the Jews – it would help him personally; even remembering how God Himself had led Israel through Moses and Aaron – vessels of God.
Whoever you are and whatever you’re going through, I pray, like Asaph you would walk by faith and not by feelings. Keep soaking in the Word and seeking God’s face. Ponder His faithfulness in the past, it will encourage you for the future.
Proverbs 24:23–25 (NKJV) “These things also belong to the wise: It is not good to show partiality in judgment. 24 He who says to the wicked, ‘You are righteous,’ Him the people will curse; nations will abhor him. 25 But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.”
God has much to say in the Scriptures about judges and justice…how it is despicable to show partiality in judgment. God knows that injustice destabilizes and ruins a society, but tragically the integrity of the justice system has been severely compromised. Eventually it will be exposed, and the people will cry out…cursed are those who judge the wicked to be righteous, and great blessing will come to those who judge with justice.
A few more passages to hammer home the point.
Leviticus 19:15 (NKJV) “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.”
Deuteronomy 1:17 (NKJV) “You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.”
Deuteronomy 16:19 (NKJV) “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.