But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die! Why do you prophesy in the Lord’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord. – Jeremiah 26: 8-9
The world in which we live today is a terrible place. These are terrible times. The word of God, which we speak to the world, is not always readily accepted.
However, even though the world does not want to hear what is right, we are to tell it. God sends warnings because He does not want His people to be condemned for the lack of knowledge. He wants to see all people repent and inherit eternal life.
In the text, God sent His prophet, Jeremiah, to deliver a message to His people. It was a tough message, one to which the people were not receptive. It disturbed and cut them to the bone. Consequently, they wanted to take revenge against Jeremiah.
The law, God’s law, exposes our sin. It works like a mirror, showing us our imperfections. Therefore, when we are confronted with it, it works on our conscience and makes us irritable.
That’s what happened when Jeremiah prophesied to the people, in the Lord’s house. In expressing God’s message to them, he prophesied that it would be destroyed like Shiloh, the ancient sanctuary of the Israelites.
During the time of Eli, the high priest, the priest permitted ungodliness to prevail in both the Lord’s house, Shiloh, and among the people. Therefore, the Lord allowed it to be destroyed.
It is unfortunate that the people did not focus on Jeremiah’s message and from whom it came. They were venting their anger on the messenger. And were so incensed, they demanded that the prophet be put to death.
Like their forefathers, the people had wandered far away from God. Even though they called themselves Abraham’s children and consequently, the children of God, they were acting contrary to God’s commands.
When King Solomon dedicated the temple of the Lord, God had promised, “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name …” (I Kings 9:6-7) Because the temple was dedicated to the Lord, did not mean that it was the Lord’s house.
Because we call ourselves Christians, does not mean that we are Christians. We must live like Christians.
It is never God’s intention to destroy anyone. He sends warnings because He wills it that all mankind would turn away from evil and seek His face.
As in the times of Jeremiah, in our times, being a servant of God is becoming a dangerous thing. People vilify the church and the people of God because they do not like the message.
These 40 days of Lent will be difficult for the people of God. We will have our obstacles. There will be temptations. In all of this, we are to hold on to the word of God and proclaim it to the world.
We need not worry that the world may not appreciate what we in the church have to say, we are to keep saying it anyway. Like Jeremiah, God calls us to be faithful to His word. Amen.
• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.