Was Jeremiah an angry preacher?
I was reading today in the morning chapter 36 of Jeremiah. Jeremiah dictated a message from the Lord to Baruch which was bad news for Israel and nations. Baruch read the message to the people in the temple who have come for fasting. Some officials of the king heard the message themselves and while sending the messengers into hiding they presented the scroll to the king and his officials. The king ripped and burned the message without listening to all of it. None cared what the Lord have to say. Even more they sent officers to get Jeremiah and his scribe.
While many have started Lent today, humbling their spirits before God I was meditating on possible parallels with this story. There are sincere people who are looking for God in our time, even when it hurts because our sins and selfishness. There are other who want a part-time relationship with God, and they want to be the decision factor how much God is allowed in their lives. There are others who want only one-way communication. They want God to listen to all they have to say: prayers, requests, thanks and complains, but not really open to hear what God has to say today. Partly because there are many prophets of doom around that all the time they preach destruction. It is possible that many of those “prophecies” are inspired by an personal uneasiness regarding the worldliness but not necessary a direct word from the Lord. I am wondering if we are throwing the baby with the water, by refusing every prophetic word that doesn’t look inspiring, encouraging and positive.
If God hasn’t change than his severe judgement hasn’t left his responsibility. Someone would say that we live in a time of grace, offering an impression that the judgments we have seen in Old Testament can;t happen in the New Testament period. The Bible will prove you wrong if you think that. Let me give some examples:
Ananias and Saphira are two characters in New Testament who sold their land and offered to the church part of the profit, but saying that they gave all of the profit. Peter exposed their deceit and while the husband fell dead “surprisingly”, few hours later Peter predicted the death of his wife too. She fell dead in their presence. (Acts 5)
When Paul was preaching to country deputy Sergius Paulus, Elimas was distracting the man from hearing the Gospel. Paul filled with the Holy Spirit declared “non’positive” word to the sorcerer “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season” (Acts 13:10-11)
We need to be careful that because we live in a society where everything is allowed, we don’t allow the world expectations to creep inside of us regarding what we can say publicly to people. First the warnings need to be released to people who show they are Christians and attend christian services. If God want to clean the land, He need to start the cleaning in the house. And I believe we need to let this happen, even that might cost us.
Help us dear Lord, to be faithful to your word even when it challenges us!