Updated: Mar 27, 2021
Jeremiah the prophet did not hold any punches. His warnings of coming judgement were severe. His words also reveal a sobering parallel to what is happening in much of the church today and many among its leadership. God raised Jeremiah up to challenge Judah in her final hours even though the kingdom had already passed the point of no return. The final act was playing out; her doom was sealed. Like Jeremiah, there is a growing chorus of watchmen today who are saying, “I see the bad moon rising; I see trouble on the way.... hope you have your things together.”
Jeremiah strongly challenged the last king of Judah but the king stubbornly hardened his heart. As it says; "Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy." He was assaulted by his brothers, beaten and put in stocks by the priests, imprisoned by the king, threatened with murder, denounced by false prophets and thrown into a sewage tank filled with excrement. But Jeremiah stood his ground. ¹
God was fed up. His patience had finally run out. His longsuffering was exhausted. His cup of wrath was full. Judgment was knocking at the door. The day of reckoning had come and Jeremiah stepped forth with the message; "It's Over!" Israel had experienced many cycles of revival and apostasy over the centuries. There had been brief seasons of spiritual awakening spearheaded by a few righteous kings and prophets but she had quickly drifted back to her backslidden ways. There had been a few bright spots of hunger for God and a national spirit of repentance but most of her history was one of chronic, systemic rebellion and worldliness. She prided herself in being God's chosen people but she had, in fact, become even worse than the nations around her. Again and again, God had raised up prophets to her warn her to no avail.
The American church has lost its salt and with it much of its relevance, authority, simplicity, authenticity, and life-transforming message. It’s increasingly difficult to see any real difference between it and the world she occupies. Today, we commonly see church movements imitating the world through a compromised and watered-down gospel of accommodation and convenience - "Convenience" because it demands next to nothing & "Accommodation" because she increasingly endorses a worldly value system of "political correctness", "cultural correctness" and materialism that includes just enough "spiritual correctness" to inoculate them against getting the real thing. Though this tendency has grown in popularity, the church has lost much of its potency and power in the process. In trying to be relatable to the world she has often succumbed to the values of this world. As Charles Spurgeon noted; "I believe that the one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is that the world has so much influence over the church."
Jeremiah's days are a mirror of our own. God has suffered long with all the nonsense. Like Israel, the church has had its
cycles of revival and apostasy. We've experienced our spiritual "awakenings" but we have always returned to our worldly ways and have become increasingly more like the world in the process. Make no mistake; God is raising up Jeremiah's today with the very same message to the very same conditions. It's the same message that Jesus spoke to the Laodicean church when He rebuked them for their lukewarmness, their pride, their spiritual arrogance, their smug complacency and their worldly compromise when He said; "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent." (Revelation 3:19)
1. (Jeremiah1:9; 12:6; 20:1-4; 37:18 & 28; 38:4; 38:6 & 28