The Book of Jeremiah and the Election Results

When I first arrived at Trinity, I took my first introductory class to Hebrew Exegesis. It was in a book I was not as familiar with-the book of Jeremiah. However, Dr. Hoffmeier was just so passionate about the book, that it quickly became on of my favorite books of the Bible. Last night, for some reason, I found myself again revisiting that book after the elections results were clinched. Understanding Jeremiah’s message, one could say that the book could have been published after the results of the election were given last night. I hope that I can share these thoughts, so we will see that human nature has not changed much in 2500 years.

Jeremiah’s first vision is recorded in chapter 1:

Jeremiah 1:11-16 The word of the LORD came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” 12 Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.” 13 The word of the LORD came to me a second time saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” 14 Then the LORD said to me, “Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land. 15 “For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” declares the LORD; “and they will come and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah. 16 “I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.

People have pointed to the inevitable collapse of socialism for a long time. People have pointed out that Rome already experimented with these ideas, and it ended up collapsing. In Soviet Russia and Germany, they lead to death of millions of people. In every society where this kind of government has been tried, it has failed, and failed miserably. It is utterly eerie to go back and listen to Francis Schaeffer accurately describe the arguments of those who support Obama clear back in the 1970’s. We knew this was coming as a nation, and now, our economic and social destruction seems more and more certain. If Obama spends what he did in his first four years of office, our economy is history, unless, by some miracle, God keeps on sustaining us.

Also, many of us have been praying for years that God would see fit to grant a third great awakening, but it hasn’t happened. Many of us were praying very hard for this election, and yet, God again saw fit to say no. God has had a long track record for quite a while in denying our request for this nation to be granted repentance. Can God do that, and bring a great revival and reformation to our land? Yes. However, more and more and more, the question is not *can* he, but *will* he. If God will not bring revival and reformation, then humanism will continue down its logical and inevitable path to destruction.

This should not surprise any of us. God has said that we will reap what we sow, and if we sow in evil, we will reap in evil. God is clearly watching over his word to do it. However, the scary thing is that there are many nations that would like to see America destroyed. Not just the Islamic nations and the communist nations; but the nations of Europe as well. If we are weak, any one of them could come and take us over, and the rest of the world will mock us in laughter and joy when we fall. Exactly where that boiling pot is facing is the only question.

Jeremiah 7:16-20 “As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you. 17 “Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to spite Me. 19 “Do they spite Me?” declares the LORD. “Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?” 20 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched.”

Jeremiah 11:12-16 “Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they surely will not save them in the time of their disaster. 13 “For your gods are as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal. 14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster. 15 “What right has My beloved in My house When she has done many vile deeds? Can the sacrificial flesh take away from you your disaster, So that you can rejoice?” 16 The LORD called your name, “A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form”; With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, And its branches are worthless.

Jeremiah 14:10-12 Thus says the LORD to this people, “Even so they have loved to wander; they have not kept their feet in check. Therefore the LORD does not accept them; now He will remember their iniquity and call their sins to account.” 11 So the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 “When they fast, I am not going to listen to their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I am not going to accept them. Rather I am going to make an end of them by the sword, famine and pestilence.”

Three times in the book of Jeremiah, God tells Jeremiah to not pray for this people. That is a hard message; are we not to pray for “all men” [1 Timothy 2:1-4]? 1 Timothy is dealing with praying for individual men in all different walks of life [kings, rulers in authority], and praying for their salvation. There is no question that we should pray for the salvation of individuals within our society from all walks of life. However, what happens when the *society* becomes so wicked that they are bent upon doing things that will logically result in their own destruction? When you have people who have made idols out of Obama, and out of their own personal peace and security, is it any wonder that God would tell us that there is a point in time in which we can no longer pray for this culture? Are we at that point? After the election results came in, I thought so, but I still am not so sure. The idolatry of self and the idolatry of government are everywhere, and we have been worshiping those idols for a long time. The hearts of young people especially are bonded to their idols. Given that kind of future, what should we expect?

Jeremiah 6:13-19 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 15 “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD. 16 Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 “And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ 18 “Therefore hear, O nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 “Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, The fruit of their plans, Because they have not listened to My words, And as for My law, they have rejected it also.

This is probably what annoys me the most-the proclamation of “peace, peace” when there is no peace. We all know Francis Schaeffer’s brilliant observation that two of the greatest idols in our society are personal peace and affluence. We want our own security above all things, and the danger is, and has always been, that people will give up more and more of their freedoms so long as they get to keep their security. I am sure that there are some people who are legitimately poor, but there are others who use the government taxation system to steal from others, so that they can keep their entertainment. I read a book a while back about understanding poverty, and the book told a story of a woman in a public school system with a family who didn’t have a refrigerator. So, the school went out and bought her one. However, they didn’t see them in school for the next three weeks. When they returned, the school asked the kids where they had been. They said that they had been on vacation. When asked where they got the money to go on vacation, the kids replied that it was from the proceeds obtained through the selling of the refrigerator. It is not just the poor, either. There are greedy rich men as well. Unfortunately, the greedy rich get all of the press, but hey, that is the way it is when you take a socialist view of economics. But the greedy poor exist as well, and in huge numbers. Riches tend to promise peace and security, but such a promise will do nothing but enslave you. As the Psalms say:

Psalm 62:10-12 Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. 11 Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; 12 And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work.

Unfortunately, people trust in riches today far more than they trust in God. They want money stolen from others by the brutal force of the law to give them security. It is a Ponzi scheme, and, eventually you will have neither your freedoms nor your personal peace once everything collapses.

Jeremiah 7:1-15 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 “Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the LORD!'” 3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. 8 “Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 “Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, 10 then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’– that you may do all these abominations? 11 “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the LORD. 12 “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 “And now, because you have done all these things,” declares the LORD, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you but you did not answer, 14 therefore, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. 15 “I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brothers, all the offspring of Ephraim.

This is the thing that probably most disturbs me, and that is trusting in outward forms and traditions in the church, and expecting that we therefore will not notice our grave sin. We go to the church building every week, but so many people who call themselves Christians are caught in humanism. The most blatant, of course, are those who place autonomous reason about the Bible, and say that “Paul could have made a mistake” or “Jesus was wrong that Moses wrote the Pentateuch.” When you do this, just be honest with everyone and admit that you are a humanist. Stop trying to call yourself a Christian, when you are not. You do not believe what Jesus believed about scripture or Moses, so please, stop stealing a birthright that is not yours. You may be kind and sincere, but you can find kind and sincere humanists. Please, stop destroying the gospel of Jesus Christ by deceiving his sheep!

However, we have others who appeal to the senses of those who are in worship, and the whole service is doing nothing more than seeking to entertain those who are in the pews. The whole focus is on man and what man wants. While the emergent church and the seeker sensitive movement hate each other, they do have this in common. In discussing the things of God, they begin with man, and look at man’s sensitivities, whether it is what man desires in terms of entertainment [in the case of the seeker sensitive movement], or whether it is what young people are willing to rationally accept [the emergent church]. In fact, yesterday when I went out to vote, I could not help but notice a very expensive cappuccino maker in the lounge of the church where I was supposed to vote. I then saw all kinds of “cool” titles for the individual Sunday School classes, and I even found that they had a “man cave” for the men. Unfortunately, that should have told me something.

People keep trusting in the title “Christian” much like the people in Jeremiah’s day trusted in the fact that they had the temple. God couldn’t really destroy them for their wickedness, could he? He wouldn’t dare destroy his own temple! God reminded them to go look at Shiloh. Just because you claim that you are a Christian does not mean that you will not be punished by God. God demands faithfulness to him above all things, and when you really trust in yourself, and simply taking the name “Christian,” you will not allow you to escape the judgment God has.

What this proves is, at very least, we cannot go blaming God if our economy collapses in the next four years. If that happens, we will be getting what we deserve for putting Obama in office again. In my mind, it is all but inevitable, as we cannot take much more on the national debt. Obviously, God could continue to postpone his judgement, but there are only so many mathematical factors that can keep an economy from collapsing, and there is only so much that we can do to stop a dangerous group of politicians from taking away our freedoms, so long as it seems sociologically beneficial for them to do so.

The point is that Jeremiah’s day is not so different from our own. We face many of the same issues, including the impending destruction of our nation. However, I want to point something out, and that is that the constant message of Jeremiah and the rest of the prophets is that those who trust in God will be saved. Although Jeremiah was persecuted and even thrown into a pit, God was with him. Even if we must die for our faith, God is standing on the other side waiting for us. True faithfulness to God is what got Jeremiah through, it is what got the early church through, and it is the only thing that will get us through. We need to think long and hard about that simple fact, because the day may come when saying that homosexuality is wrong will cause you to be thrown into prison, be mocked and spit at, and stripped of our human dignity. However, it is faithfulness to God and to his word that will ultimately pull us through.

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