The Innocent Deception
I have been studying the prophets in he Bible and as I now am reading Jeremiah. Jeremiah is on the heels of Exile and the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. There are way too many similarities right now with America and the church as in the times of Jeremiah.
Just like Jeremiah was not a welcomed spokesman with an appealing message, this will not be the same. But just as Jeremiah had to speak, I also must expose these truths.
During the kings of Israel and Judah, it was mostly bad with a few exceptions. Even some of the kings who were good, did not follow God fully as King David did with the exception of Urriah. The people had gotten so wicked that they no longer could discern good and evil. The problem was that God was angry and they wanted to believe God was with them. They saw themselves as innocent, but they ran after other gods, were perverted and lustful and tried to follow the law to what they heard; since the law was not read anymore. God sends Jeremiah to tell them they are not innocent and that destruction and doom is coming. It was not a popular message but God promised to deliver Jeremiah (this did not mean he would not be persecuted). The false prophets were saying "Peace and Safety" even though God was warning them. Today, there are so many billboards saying God is not angry with you. I am sure a few people read that and are comforted as they have surrendered all to the LORD, but that is not true to the majority of it's readers. The reality is with all the evil and corruption in government and the church, God is angry and destruction and doom are coming unless we see a full repentance and revival. Because they believed they were innocent before God, they would never heed the warnings, so they were exiled and many were destroyed in 586BC. The warnings were fires, disasters, disease and famine. Does this sound familiar?
There are too many similarities to today to share them all, but I wanted to share a few. Just like they would not heed the warnings and thought they were innocent, we do the same. The churches have been a place to hear the encouraging message of God's love even when many live half hearted and in sin. We have allowed the practice of all forms of immorality, greed, pride, control, selfishness, discrimination, addictions, worldliness and other forms of evil in the church (Christians) while claiming we are innocent and God's grace covers our sinful practices. We have seen corrupt and controlling church leaders who act as the head of the church when Jesus is the true head. We have seen greed and comfort be the motivation for our bigger church mortgages, all in the deception that we are doing this to reach others. If Jesus is not enough for people, then we may not really be converting any to Christ anyway. We may be converting people to our selfish behaviors and worldly ways.
We have seen funds to help the poor and persecuted used to hire more leaders or sound crew when we should be using our gifts and serving in the church preparing for treasures in heaven. If we have to pay a sound crew, maybe we should not have a sound system.
We have seen a famine of God's Word as we hear more about people's interpretation instead of letting God interpret His own Words. People hold to a denomination and its' traditions rather than holding to God's Word. The church does not truly inquire of the Lord the way God desires. We have to hold to a time limit so we must omit true prayer and communion because it does not fit in our hour long appetizer church. We need people to come and attend so we have the funds and bragging rights we want. We wonder why people are spiritually illiterate and wander so quickly from truth.
God tells them in Jeremiah that they only call out, "Arise and Save us" when everything they tried collapses and they have no control. God tells them to call to their idols to save them. In America, we do not really have idols in the statue sense, but we do have many things which rival God for our time and affection. Many struggle to give an hour a week to worship God. In the prophets, the people were hurrying their sabbaths and new moons so they could do what they want later. I think of hurrying through church so we can go out to eat or watch football. Maybe, we don't even gather with the church regularly because we have been deceived to believe God doesn't care as long as we are doing something good like attending our kids sport or activity with the family?
Just like in Jeremiah's day, God's message was not well received. If you read the same Bible I read, there is no way God is pleased today with most of what is done in the name of the Lord. The message today should be more of a call to repentance and a call to complete surrender.
Why don't we take a look and inquire of the Lord as we read God's Word from cover to cover this year? Why don't we allow God's Word to reveal how God sees us and who God really is?
Please know I am not being judgmental but allowing God's Word to judge. Also know, these are convictions as I examine my own life and relationship with God. I do not want to cry innocence if God is angry!