For the past couple of days I’ve been listening to a teaching on Jeremiah 9:17–19:
This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Consider now. Call for the wailing women to come. Send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us until our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.’ The sound of wailing is heard in Zion. ‘How ruined we are! How great is our shame.’
…and this morning was really good. One of the main points has been that this admonition through the prophet Jeremiah is a message from the Lord to His people. As Christians we too are the Lord’s people and therefore this has some things for us to learn as well. I would encourage you to read the transcripts from the other lessons, but would like to focus on a couple of things that I was listening to this morning.
First, the reason for this outpouring of grief and shame have several points of origin as the Lord has several accusations against his people which are listed in the book of Jeremiah.
Hear, oh earth. I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes. Because they have not listened to my words and [they] have rejected my law (Jeremiah 6:19).
We are neglecting our worship to the Lord and are not listening to his Word whether written or spoken. Just because we have the Bible read in church every week, doesn’t mean that it’s being listened to nor does it mean that we are adhering to it in our lives.
Do you now see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood. The fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the queen of heaven. They pour our drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger” (Jeremiah 7:17–18).
Idolotry takes on many forms and has infiltrated our lives even as Christians. Everyone’s involved. Idols preoccupy our time and keep us away from our primary purpose, which is to worship and enjoy God fully. You can’t do that if you are so focused on the season finalely of your TV show, or the ball game, or an activity that you forget to keep God first in your lives.
They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’” Where then are the gods that you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble!” (Jeremiah 2:27-28)
What are you really worshiping in your life? Money? A job/career? Family? Entertainment? Pleasure? If you want God to listen to you and help you in your times of need, you have to have Him first in your life.
You have lived as a prostitute with many lovers. Would you now return to me? You have defiled the land with your prostitution and [your] wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld. No spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame. (Jeremiah 3:1–3)
We haven’t keep the Lord first in our lives and aren’t even ashamed of our putting other things first. When will we wake up and realize that skipping our time with the Lord is the same thing as the Israelites worshipping other Gods. We’re all quick to disparage ‘those Israelites’ in the Bible or in the lives around us who are not seeking after the Lord, but we’re just as guilty when we rush away from church to go home and watch the ball game. I’m not saying that watching the game is bad, but we really need to question our motives for the things we do and fill our days with. If you were to be angry if asked to stay and help count the tithes and offerings instead of being let to go home to do other things, what would that reveal about your priorities?
You don’t even know how to blush. You’re sinning, but you’re not ashamed of it. He says, ‘Like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of ‘Israel,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 3:20)
This one really got to me this morning. Regardless of the fact that we don’t have the right attitude about what and who we are supposed to worship, when it’s brought to our attention we don’t even blush for having the wrong motives or goals. Are we no better than the pagan who does not know the Lord, or the athesist who does not believe in the Lord’s existence that we have the wrong motives and then are not ashamed of them when we come to a recognition of our wrongs?
The second thing that stuck in my mind from this morning was the point that many of the leaders of the church are putting bandaids on hemorraging wounds.
From the least to the greatest, He says, 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. (Jeremiah 6:13–14)
We hear messages of peace when there is no peace and ignore the fact that we need to have broken hearts for our churches and our nation. Christians are following after this day’s culture even when we don’t mean to. When we look at the world even to say that what’s going on is bad instead of seeking after the Lord, it’s like a banker staring at a counterfeit $100 bill instead of the real thing. He eventually knows the counterfeit so much that it becomes confused for the real.
We need to be weeping for the Nation of American and for every Christian and non-Christian in it. It’s not enough to condemn an action (even though we need to have definite boundaries that say, this is good and this is bad), but we also need to be getting down on our knees for some serious prayer and conversation with the Maker of our lives and world.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been convicted of the fact that I have not been spending my time well. I have not been seeking the Lord as I should and I haven’t been praying nearly enough. I have taken up praying in the car on the way to BCA in the morning and listening to teachings on the radio for only part of that time. I can’t tell you what a blessing it has been. I’m working two jobs right now and just about to go full time teaching (5 science classes) in the next couple of weeks. Before I started praying, I was feeling really panicked about all the work that lay before me. Now I know that even though I still have a lot of work to do, I have the Lord’s arms to fall on when I stumble because I’m giving Him the first part of my day. I want to challenge you to do the same thing. However long your commute is in the morning, turn off your radio and just give that time to the Lord and see what he’ll do in your heart, mind and attitude for the next day. He wants to bless you, why not give Him the chance?