Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 26-27:22; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18; Psalm 85:1-13; Proverbs 25:16
In Jeremiah 26:11 God tells Jeremiah to present His entire message to the people. Jeremiah might have been tempted to leave out a few of the more negative details or to water-down God’s message in order to spare himself retaliation. But God’s message, in its complete form, is a message that can save people. Any person or denomination that sugarcoats sin or, worse, claims that sin is not sin, is not doing its listeners a favor. Such a person is leading people astray with lies.
The reaction of the Jewish leaders is the same thing that happens today (Jeremiah 26:11). When someone tires to warn others about their sin, the reaction is vitriolic. People accuse Christians of hate. But that is just a lie of Satan. The reason we warn others is because we know what is coming for those who don’t repent – or change the direction of their lives (Jeremiah 26:13).
Jeremiah was telling people that disaster was going to come upon them if they did not turn from their sin. The king of Judah, however, did not believe him and encouraged the people not to believe him either (Jeremiah 27:12-14). We have the same situation today. Many are trying to warn America that our sins have gotten way out of hand and if we don’t stop, repent, and turn back to God we will be destroyed. Others claim this is not going to happen. So how do people know whom to believe?
No one should take anyone’s word for anything except God’s. The way people know what is true is to read their Bibles and pray. God does not withhold truth. He offers it to everyone who seeks it.
Its never a bad idea to ask for prayer. God works in response to our requests. Even a great man of God like Paul asked for prayer for himself (2 Thessalonians 3:1). His ministry was facing problems from unbelievers who wanted to stop the message of Jesus from being taught. Interesting how times haven’t changed much. There are still plenty of such people on earth today.
Its interesting that God commands believers to withdraw from someone who refuses to obey God (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14). We’ve seen this elsewhere in Paul’s letters as well. This is the same tactic God uses – He allows people to live in sin if they want to. Hopefully they will regret it and seek out a relationship with Him in the future. But I think God also commands we do it so that we don’t fall into the same sin. Its one thing to be a sinner – we all are. Its another to be a sinner who doesn’t want to change. Someone like that can disrupt the unity of a church and can have a bad influence on more impressionable members.
Our society is filled with the notion that we are entitled to certain things. We have numerous government entitlement programs. We hear advertisements that tell us that we “deserve” something or that we owe “such and such” to ourselves. Not in God’s view. We are entitled to nothing, not even food (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Here is just another way in which our society is way off track from how God designed us.
God commands believers – remember, this letter to the Thessalonians was written to believers, not unbelievers – to do good things (2 Thessalonians 3:13). Doing good things does not get anyone into heaven. But once a person becomes part of God’s family doing good becomes a way of honoring God and also of demonstrating God’s love to other people.
Psalm 85 was written after the Jews began to return from exile. They went into exile because they had turned to other gods and had been ignoring the true God despite the fact that He had blessed them immensely and had forgiven their sins. In this Psalm they ask God to restore the relationship they once had with Him (Psalm 85:4, ,6). This is a great request. The only thing that brings true joy and fulfillment in life is a relationship with God.
Its great that the Jews realized this. Will America?
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.