Jeremiah 14:11-15:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-16; Psalms 79:9-13; Proverbs 19:18-19
OT: “Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of these people. If they fast, I will not hear their cry of despair. If they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. Rather, I will finish them off by sword, famine, and plague.” And I replied, “Oh no, Lord God! The prophets are telling them, ‘You won’t see sword or suffer famine. I will certainly give you lasting peace in this place.’” But the Lord said to me, “These prophets are prophesying a lie in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, worthless divination, the deceit of their own minds. “Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name, though I did not send them, and who say, ‘There will never be sword or famine in this land.’ By sword and famine these prophets will meet their end.” (Jeremiah 14:11-15 CSB)
Because of Judah’s repeated rejection of God’s word, will and ways, God had allowed His discipline to come through drought and famine that overcome the land – just as He had promised in His word (Leviticus 26:18-20). Because of the overwhelming and disastrous impact of the drought, the people of Judah cried out to the Lord for help, but their prayers were insincere and lacking in repentance. It even pained Jeremiah and brought him to tears to see his people suffer for their iniquities – but the time for discipline had come. Through God’s word and repeated warnings from the true prophetic voices in the land, God had warned His people of the consequences of their actions – but they repeatedly ignored His word and warnings. Therefore God told Jeremiah not to pray for their well-being… His mind was settled… His people needed to be disciplined. Even if they fasted and offered burnt offerings, He would not hear nor accept them – for God does not desire fasting and offerings, He desires broken and contrite hearts. As a last-ditch effort to defend the people, Jeremiah tried to place some blame on the false prophets of the land that were saying the drought would subside and prosperity would return to the land. God’s response was that the false prophets would get what was coming to them, but the people were responsible for their own disobedience – so His discipline would remain.
Pointed and convicting words are hard to receive – but if they are the truth, we need to receive them and respond appropriately to them – for our own good. A parent who truly loves their child will bring correction and discipline when it is needed. Oftentimes, that correction and discipline comes as a word of rebuke and warning. If the child receives the word and responds to it, then the correction ends there. If the child ignores the words, eventually more painful circumstances must come to teach the lesson. God does the same with His children – but unfortunately, there are other voices (the world, the flesh, the devil, and even other Christians) that will oppose the word of the Lord with a message that you want to hear… a message that might be more easy to receive, but not full of truth. We need to learn to discern the voice of our Father that lines up with and confirms His written word, and reject the words that oppose Him – otherwise we risk being opposed by God.
NT: “As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the word of God, which also works effectively in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us. They displease God and are hostile to everyone, by keeping us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. As a result, they are constantly filling up their sins to the limit, and wrath has overtaken them at last.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-16 CSB)
The gospel of Jesus Christ, though it is true and full of truth, is hard to receive – for it runs contrary to the wisdom of the world and the desires of our flesh. In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul said that the message of the gospel was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. However, when the believers in Thessalonica heard the gospel, the recognized that it was not merely a human message, but a message from God Himself. They received it fully, responded to it faithfully, and reaped its effective work in their lives. There were many who opposed the word of the gospel, and thus opposed the believers in Thessalonica, but the believers remained faithful to God and the Lord Jesus Christ. The faithful believers will receive their due reward, and those who continue to oppose the word and work of God, will eventually reach the limit of God’s longsuffering and experience His wrath. As faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to always be receptive to His word, whether it is a word of promise, a word of encouragement, or a word of warning… and we need to submit all opposing words to the authority of Christ.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You love me enough to tell me the things that I need to hear and correct me when I am in the wrong. My desire is to be receptive to Your word and fully receive what You have to say, no matter how challenging that may be to my flesh. Help me to grow to know Your voice and be able to discern Your words from the opposing words of the world, the flesh and the devil. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.