Summary: If you remember, last week’s topic was the apostasy. We studied about how a large portion of the people of God has consciously moved away from His truth, by choosing to follow popular or beneficial doctrines, and not the Word of God.
If you remember, last week’s topic was the apostasy. We studied about how a large portion of the people of God has consciously moved away from His truth, by choosing to follow popular or beneficial doctrines, and not the Word of God. We also saw how another large portion of the people of God has unconsciously moved away from His truth, by accepting and making themselves participants in all those doctrines that only serve to drive a wedge between God and man. Why do I say this? I say this because it doesn’t matter how beautiful something may appear to be, or how eloquently it is expressed, if God’s truth is not being declared, then everything else is absolutely worthless. As I stated, a large portion of the people of God has moved away from Him in one way or another, and it is for this same reason that I stated that if the things continue like they are, when our Lord returns for His church, the number of true believers will be but a few. It is exactly for this reason that today I want us to learn about what the Lord is doing and will do regarding all of these things, and what the reward will be for all who keep the faith. Let’s now turn to the Word of God.
Jeremiah 23:1-5 - Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. 3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. 5Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
As I always say, in order to reach a better understanding of the message that God has intended for us today, it will be necessary to conduct a brief review of history. With this in mind, let’s get to know this man called Jeremiah a little better. Jeremiah was born during very difficult times; it was a time when apostasy, idolatry, and the pagan rituals flourished in the people of God, and God’s patience was being drained. This is something that is very well reflected in Jeremiah 17:1-4 when we read “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; 2Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills. 3O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders. 4And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.” Jeremiah ministered to this people for a period of over 40 years, and the messages that he was delivering were not all popular or encouraging. Look carefully at how this is very well reflected in Jeremiah 21:9-10 when we read “He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey. 10For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.” In this particular point in history, Judeah was under siege. Judeah found itself completely surrounded by the Babylonian army. This means that all trade routes were completely cut off, the food supply was quickly diminishing, and as if all of this was not enough, here we have this prophet preaching what appears to be a message on condemnation. But was he really preaching a message of condemnation? If we look at the circumstances with our fleshly eyes, we will quickly decide that the message was indeed a message of condemnation. However, if we look at it a bit closer, and we see it through our spiritual eyes, we quickly realize that he was not preaching a message of condemnation; he in fact was preaching God’s truth. This is something that is very well reflected in Jeremiah 1:4-8 when we read “Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.”