We live in a world where terror, war, famine and disease seem to surround us. There are the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the Ukraine. Russia is rearming and flexing its might and the same can be said for China. Our environment, regardless of cause, is changing and diseases like Ebola threaten the entire world. Refugees and displaced people are streaming out of their countries and into any country that looks like it might be a bit more stable. One of the biggest crises in the world is the displacement of the entire Christian community in northern Iraq and according to the Islamic forces in the area, they can never go home again.
In the time of Jeremiah there was terror on every side as well. The people of Judea had abandoned God and ran after other gods according to Jeremiah. God tells him, “As a thief is shamed when caught, so the house of Israel shall be shamed: they, their kings, their princes, their priests and their prophets, who say to a tree, ‘you are my father,’ and to a stone, ‘you gave me birth.’ For they have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they say, ‘arise and save us!’ ” Jeremiah 2:26 & 27
The result of the apostasy was that the people were going into captivity. They had rejected God for gods of stone and trees as well as sacrificing their children in the fire. Through Jeremiah God told the people that since this is the life you have chosen and you don’t want me as your God to protect and keep you, then you must live with the consequences.
I’ve been thinking about Jeremiah chapter 2 and how Judah had turned their backs on God. They became materialistic and worshipped things instead of God. It seems to me that we are in the same place today. People have rejected God in order to worship things. When you stop to think about it, why is gold such a commodity? Are we not still worshipping rocks?
I think that we are seeing the same conditions in the land that God saw during the final years of Judea. But this time, instead of going into exile, we are heading for the end of time. It is not just theologians and Bible students who are saying this but we are hearing it from elected officials and environmentalists as well.
As Christians what should be our response to these crises in the world and the events that are overtaking us? I believe we need to pray for our brothers and sisters who live in persecuted lands that God’s protecting hand will cover them. We need to pray that our government will make wise choices and humanitarian choices in supporting the persecuted.
In our own lives we need to draw close to God and put our trust in Him to see us through the storms that are coming upon us. We need to believe in His goodness and righteousness and His care for us. This is where the rubber meets the road for us Christians. It is easy to be a follower of Jesus when everything goes well, but when the troubles start, only those people who trust Him explicitly will stand.
As we move into the last days of this planet I am not afraid of the future because God is with us. He upholds and keeps us regardless of what happens. Notice in verses 26 and 27 the whole political and religious system is corrupt and working against God, but His appeal is not to them but to the individuals who make up the Kingdom of Judah. Though things might be too late for Judah as a nation, it is never too late for the individual to repent and put their trust in God.
God asks Judah, “Why do you complain against me? You have all rebelled against me. …. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘we are free,’ can a maiden forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.” Jeremiah 2:29, 32
God is patient with His people and He endures our complaining and our rebellion. But there comes a time when God reaches His limit and He lets man reap the rewards of living his life separate from Him.
As long as you and I keep our trust focused upon the love of Christ who died for us we have no worries about the future. Over and over throughout the Gospel of John Jesus reminds us that those who believe on Him have eternal life. When we believe ,we trust in the truth of God’s promises and since God cannot break a promise, we live with assurance.
* Please remember in prayer those who are persecuted for their Christian faith. Go to http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ for updates on persecution of Christians