This morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read an interesting (yet difficult) chapter in the Bible… It is chapter 27 of Jeremiah. In that chapter, at God’s command, Jeremiah addresses Israel’s surrounding neighbors, but especially Judah. The king is addressed, the prophets are addressed, the priests are addressed, as well as all the people of the nation.
Here is the crux of the difficult message Jeremiah delivered…
“Thus say the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: ‘It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me! Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon… If any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine and with pestilence, declares the Lord… So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers…who are saying to you, You shall not serve the king of Babylon. For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you!’” (From Jeremiah 27)
Believe me, that is NOT a message they wanted to hear and accept! They wanted a message of deliverance, and freedom, and supernatural victory… and quickly!
Here’s the truth of the passage, as difficult as it may have been to accept…
Sometimes we have to accept things that we don’t want to accept!
Sometimes is our own fault we have to accept those things (in this case it was the consequences of persistent rebellion and sin).
Sometimes what we have to accept runs counter to what everyone else is trying to tell us (and they may be telling us deliverance from the consequences of our actions will come quickly).
But, the fact is, God is in it all and His purposes are good and faithful – God is at work for our good and what we may be going through right now is not the end of the matter! In fact, in just a couple of chapters later – Jeremiah 29 – we have one of the most distorted and misapplied Scriptures in all of the Bible! It is often used to proclaim a speedy deliverance from problems, when in fact the exact opposite is true! In it the inspired prophet speaks to Judah and says…
“For thus says the lord: ‘WHEN SEVENTY YEARS ARE COMPLETED for Babylon, i will visit you, and I will fulfill my promise and bring you back to this place! for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope!” (Jeremiah 29:10-11)
Listen, I had a conversation with a young man in prison just the other day who was incarcerated for some terrible personal errors. While In prison he dedicated his heart and life to the Lord… completely! I could not tell that young man his release from incarceration would come quickly… (I would have loved to have given him that prophetic message but I couldn’t!) But I could tell him God’s ultimate purposes for him in it all for his life were good – not destructive. And cooperating with God and his grace, the Lord was making him into a mighty “man of God!”