Thursday, July 31, 2008

Was Jeremiah an American?

Over the past month or so my Thursday morning Bible reading has taken me through the book of Jeremiah. As I read the indicting words that He penned for God in this prophetic book I can't help but see more than a little bit of America in them. For instance, just today I was reading in chapter 35 and ran across the story of the Sons of Jonadab. Here was a family, or tribe, or clan that had been given a directive by their forefather not to drink wine;

"But they answered, 'We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, 'You shall drink no wine, neither you nor your sons forever."

Now, before you think I'm getting ready to go off on an anti-alcohol tangent let me explain. What we discover later in the chapter is that it was not because they abstained from wine that they received blessings from God, it was because they were faithful to the command of their father. God tells Jeremiah that He is going to unleash His wrath on Israel because they had disobeyed Him time and time again and yet there was a family that held firm to one command from their earthly father. God says;

13b Will you not receive my instruction and listen to my words? declares the Lord. 14 The command that Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father's command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me.

Followed by;

17b Behold, I am bringing upon Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster I have pronounced against them, because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered.

My question is this; with all the "progress" that we believe we have made in this modern world. With all the philosophical and scientific breakthrough, with a few thousand years separating us, have we really come so far from the Israelites? I would wager, "no." If you have just a few more moments I would like to illustrate why I thus believe.
If the doctor tells us to lay off of the salt because we have high blood pressure and we will soon find ourselves on life support, what do we do? We do not hesitate to rush home and cleanse the house of all forms of sodium chloride. We listen to the doctor.
What if the latest study shows that eggs are bad for us? We rush to the store to stock up on "Egg Beaters." We listen to the scientist.
What if God tells us not to have premarital sex? We not-so-politely usher Him to the door and proclaim with loud voices that "We have risen above such prehistoric notions about sex!!"
What if God tells us not to lie, covet, steal, murder? What if God tells us that man was made for woman, and woman for man? What if God tells us that following our sinful nature leads to death? Finally folks, what if God tells us that His Son and the shedding of His blood is the only way to spend eternity with Him? We do not listen to God. Let me be very clear on this, we do not listen to God.
The first chapter of the book of Romans gives us the same message from God that Jeremiah does. If we don't listen to God we will suffer. I will not reproduce the passage in its entirety here but please read it. Over and over in this passage we are given lists of things that "men" exchanged God for such as; images, worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, unnatural sexual relations, etc. Do you know what God did? "He gave them up." Now they, "receive in themselves the due penalty for their error."
If the doctor told you how to avoid getting an STD, you would do it. If the judge told you how to avoid going to jail, you would do it. If Oprah told you how to live a better life, you would do it. God tells us all these things in His Word, from beginning to end. We don't do it.

Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Sound familiar?

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