In so many ways the USA today resembles ancient Israel. Abortion, prostitution, idolatry, envy, greed, atheism, dirty politics, self-serving church leaders. Our culture calls itself “Christian” but we live anything but.
God is not allowed to be mentioned in our schools, but the moment there is a school shooting, people cry, “Where was God?! Why didn’t He stop this?!”
God is banished from the town square, but as soon as a tornado or hurricane or flood levels the town, the people yell, “How could God let this happen?!”
This was exactly the same lifestyle and same response in Jeremiah’s day.
When these painfully tragic things happen, there should be a different response: “Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you have forsaken the Lord your God and have no awe of Me” (v. 19).
Typically, this considering takes place post-tragedy. But it really should be considered before disasters strike. Four times in this chapter God calls us to consider “the word of the Lord” (vv. 1, 4, 5, 31). In order for that considering to take place, loving pastor-shepherds need to hold up the mirror of God’s Word to the ungodly lifestyles people are living.
To all of my fellow pastors, I appeal to you to boldly and lovingly proclaim the full counsel of God’s Word. Not just the “pleasant” parts that speak of God’s blessings, but also the calls to repentance that will allow your people to avoid God’s righteous judgment. And don’t wait to only speak about these topics post-tragedy, but make this message a consistent part of your teaching.
Pastor, if you don’t speak these truths to your flock, how will they know how to live in the way that pleases God? I am praying that God will help you in this.