Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 7 - 11 ...
The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that the Old Testament was written as an example for us so that we would not do what THEY did and face the same consequences. When I hear pastors and church leaders and others talking about interfaith dialogue and uniting Christianity with other religions and presenting the God of the Bible as desiring that all men be one, regardless of their belief or lack thereof, I cringe, for I know that the God who reveals Himself in His Word, the Bible, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, will not tolerate such idolatry.
Here in Jeremiah, God displays His wrath against those who take His mercy for granted and who worship other gods, then pretend to be worshiping Him! God asks, "Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, 'We are safe!?'" (7:9-10). God Himself hands down the “GUILTY” verdict upon those who worship idols.
God tells Jeremiah, "Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you" (7:16). This hardly sounds like the God people talk about today, who accepts everyone and overlooks sin as though it were nothing serious. God says, "My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place" (7:20). Why? Because "truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips" (7:28). Isaiah had declared the same thing about the people of Israel and the same can be said about many in the visible church today. They are more interested in an outward “unity” than in the inward “oneness” for which Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23. Apparently, many have not learned from the history of Israel and Judah, instead proclaiming that God’s love overrules His justice, holiness and righteousness.
Oh, how dangerous it is to ignore God's justice and wrath! Millions today are under the wrath of God and those who should be issuing a warning are saying, "Peace, peace!" God says through Jeremiah, "They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. ... They have no shame at all" (8:11-12). "They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me" ... "no one speaks the truth" (9:3,5). God's judgment was soon to come on this nation. And as He responded to idolatry in the days of Jeremiah, God is storing up His wrath today ... and few seem to see it coming.
What percentage of people in the world do you think really know the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? What percentage of those in the church even believe that there is only ONE way to avoid God's wrath and that is through faith in Jesus Christ? More and more people are following the path of the people of Judah, claiming to worship God, yet tolerating sin as though it were nothing serious in God's sight, excusing their behavior rather than repenting and seeking to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. More and more people hesitate to proclaim faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to be saved from the coming wrath of God. Instead, sin is either ignored, or in some cases, approved. Other religious “paths” to God are not only accepted, but in many cases promoted alongside “Christianity,” as though God presents a smorgasbord of options from which man is free to choose.
Read again the words of Jeremiah as God says, "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight" (9:23-24). For those who think that things are different in the New Testament, listen to these words of Jesus, "When he (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8). Then listen to Paul’s words to the Corinthians:
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. … we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:18, 23-24). Then he quotes Jeremiah: “As it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord’” (I Corinthians 1:31).
There is no comparison of God to idols - to any other supposed god. God is supreme ... God is GOD! "There is no one like you!" (10:7). "The LORD is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King. When He is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure His wrath" (10:10). When people today say that the gods of the nations are to be considered equal to our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who reveals Himself in His Word, who is the Creator of all things, who sent His Son to save those whom He has chosen by His grace ... when people deny that He alone is God, what will God do??
"Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress" (11:14). Why would God say such a thing? Because idolatry brings God's wrath. It was true in the days of Jeremiah and it is true today. As Jeremiah condemned the people because of their stubbornness, Paul writes in Romans 2:5: "Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed."
Reading through the Bible and seeing mankind reject God's grace and forgiveness is hard. Yet, knowing the true God requires understanding His just judgment against sin. Unless you understand these things, the cross is meaningless and Jesus' suffering and death was unnecessary. Unless God's judgment and wrath against idolatry in all its forms is just and right, there is no joy in salvation!
May God help us to read Jeremiah and the prophets and understand that the wrath of God is coming and there is one escape: faith in Jesus Christ, the only Savior!
"Lord God Almighty, You alone are God! Your wrath and judgment are deserved by all who worship other gods. Thank You for sending Your Spirit and revealing Yourself to me and to others by Your grace. I acknowledge that You alone are God, now and forever, and that peace, grace and forgiveness is found only in You. To You alone be praise and glory, now and forever! In Jesus' name, Amen"