Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: As it was in the days of Jeremiah
By Steve Dines
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Someone once told me that in ministry circles Jeremiah is known as, “the weeping prophet”. For many years I didn’t really understand why he would be referred to in that way, but I do now.
Jeremiah lived in a time when the vast majority of God’s chosen people were delusional, that is, suffering from the fixed false belief they had peace with God when the exact opposite was true.
With Jeremiah’s life and ministry in mind, I am totally convinced that we must learn from what happened in the era leading up to the Babylonian invasion of Judah and what it means for us today.
After Solomon the northern kingdom of Israel had rebelled against God and made Jeroboam their King. Fearing that people would go to worship God in Jerusalem and not return, a counterfeit system of worship was established. It was a calculated abandonment of God’s revealed will concerning the way in which God’s people should relate to Him. The northern kingdom of Israel became apostate, they created a false priesthood that preached a false gospel and offered false sacrifices on false altars. As a result, they were invaded and overrun by the Assyrians.
During this time I can imagine the inhabitants of the southern kingdom of Judah thinking that their neighbours in the north were getting nothing less than they deserved. However, Jeremiah soon confronted Judah with the same kind of message that Hosea had preached to Israel. Just like Israel, Judah had willingly set aside God’s way to establish their own.
I believe that if Jeremiah were alive today, he would be weeping again. He would wear himself out trying to warn people about the devastating consequences of setting aside the righteousness of God; of setting aside the fullness of the work and person of the Lord Jesus Christ to replace Him with human ways and traditions.
Today, Jeremiah would remind us that the Assyrian invasion was terrible, but the Babylonians were worse.
For me, the kingdom of Israel represents a group of people caught up in a religious system of their own making and the kingdom of Judah represents a group of people who should have known better than to go the same way; a case of history repeating itself because human nature does not change.
For me, the parallels between the era leading up to the Babylonian captivity of Judah and what is happening in Christianity today are staggering. In Jeremiah’s day, the vast majority of God’s people in Jerusalem thought they were right with God, safe from any harm at the hands of their enemies. I am convinced that today the vast majority of church goers are deluded. They believe they are right with God, expecting to be raptured before the start of the great tribulation, when the exact opposite is true.
Judgment is coming.
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