A man’s preaching is often gauged by his ability to convert his listeners. If we were to make a list of teachers and preachers that were known for their ability to preach God’s truth, we might not have men like Jeremiah on our list. Most of us would agree that Jeremiah preached the absolute truth, but we may have trouble remembering him as a preacher who was able to lead people to God. God’s message through Jeremiah was not accepted by the people. They mocked him, struck him, and put him in prison. It quickly becomes obvious that Jeremiah preached to a people that were not willing to hold themselves accountable.
In Jeremiah 2:13 the prophet gives the reason for the Lord’s anger towards Israel and Judah. He says, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Please take note that the first evil made it possible to commit the second. Once a person or group of people forsakes the Lord, then they will inevitably turn to something else. This is known as the sin of idolatry. Consider what we are told in Jeremiah 2:5. “…they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters.”
Can the same statement be made about us? Have we forsaken the true and living God, and turned to idols for help and for comfort? I put a great deal of faith in my home, my car, and my cell phone. My computer and my television have both proven to be great sources of entertainment and comfort when I seem to need it most. Why would a person who knows the Lord, turn away from the living water that He provides freely, and begin to trust in a hole in the ground that holds stagnant water.
Allow me to suggest that we need men like Jeremiah! What good is a man who preaches peace to a people who face the judgment of God (Jeremiah 6:14)? In Jeremiah 1:9-10 the Lord said to His prophet, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and pull down, to destroy and throw down, to build and to plant.” In verse 18 and 19 the Lord says, “I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land-… They will fight against you but they shall not prevail against you.” Even though the people refused to listen, Jeremiah preached God’s message with many tears. They would not turn and yet he did not change his message. We need men like Jeremiah.
We should also take note of the fact that while Jeremiah condemned the sinful ways of his people, he also offered the divine solution: “Thus says the Lord, stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16. The old path, if it is not continually marked and traveled on, will soon blend in with the rest of the field. We glorify God by living godly lives that demonstrate an obedient attitude toward His will. Jeremiah understood that, which is why his message showed urgency, condemnation, and instruction.
This world seems to be on the verge of eternal destruction. This world does NOT need a preacher who offers false peace and tolerates sin. We need men who are willing to condemn sin with sound reasoning, and explain the power of God’s wrath with a heart that understands the urgency of the message and the value of each soul. This world needs preaching from men like Jeremiah.
Northwest church of Christ