Today we begin the book of Jeremiah. The nature of Jeremiah's call reveals a lot to us about the relationship between God and man.In looking at the big eternal picture, there is a great communication barrier between heaven and earth. A general theme in humanity is, the creaton does not follow God or what he wants. The carnal man can not hear the voice or instruction of God, so when God wants to communicate to him, He selects a messenger that can clearly hear His voice and is willing to deliver God's message to carnal man.
Generally, those that are willing to follow God are asked to serve Him by being His message deliverers. Generally the message is never well received. Most of the old testament prophets were killed because of their message. Jesus' disciples were martyred because they would not quit speaking the message of the gospel. Listen to the warning that Peter and John receive from the temple priests early on in Acts.
Acts 4:18 "Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus."
If people instinctively turn away from God and naturally are opposed to God, why would they happily receive the words of His messengers? This is why Jesus told his disciples,
John 15:20(b) "No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."
The call of Jeremiah is powerful. Jeremiah is called to be God's mouthpiece, he is called to be God's messenger.
Jer.1:7(b) "You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you."
This is a powerful principle for all Christians to understand. God is always seeking servants who will be His messengers. Servants who will deliver His message to those He loves but are unable to hear His voice. If you choose to follow Christ, He will make you his messenger.
As I was reading today I was captivated by the condition of Judah. God tells them they have as many gods as they have towns. Judah is worshipping every god under the sun. They have not remained faithful to the Lord or His commands. God is angry with Judah's behavior and He is ready to pour out His judgment upon them.
Jer. 1:14 "From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms," declares the Lord."
Jer. 1:16 "I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshipping what their hands have made."
What amazed me was Judah didn't believe they had betrayed the Lord. In their eyes they were still serving God with a pure heart. Listen to what God says about their condition.
Jer.2:22 "Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me."
God is unpleased and angry with their behavior and yet Judah believes they have committed no sin.
Jer.2:34-35 "Yet in spite of all this you say, I am innocent; he is not angry with me. But I will pass judgment on you because you say, I have not sinned."
This is both fascinating and sobering. How can someone that is following God be so entrenched in sin, yet believe that they are with out sin? How can someone that is following God be under judgment but yet believe that God is pleased with them? The truth is we all have blind spots. A blind spot is when we don't see the error of our own ways. It is human nature to always justify our actions.
Proverbs 21:2 "All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart."
What a tradegy, to be living under a curse yet to truly believe that God is pleased with you.
Jer.17:9-10 "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
The heart represents the deep recesses of our being, the hidden motives and intentions that we do not always even understand ourselves. The Lord says that the heart is deceitful at its core, and that He is the only one who can truly understand it's behavior. It's dangerous to fall into the trap of what feels right. This is the mistake that Judah makes. This is why in Psalms 139 David gives God permission to search his heart.
Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
After Joshua defeated Jericho, Achan disobeyed the Lord's instruction and brought sin into Joshua's camp. Until the sin was resolved Joshua operated under God's judgment and his army was defeated at every turn. Joshua could see that the Lord was no longer with him. He cried out to God for help and God gave him insight on how to remove the sin. Joshua was led by the Spirit and his blind spot only lasted for a short time. What is the danger in being sick but not realizing it? What is the danger of being under God's judgment, yet believing that He is pleased with you?
I believe the Lord is asking each of us to seek Him and give Him permission to search our hearts. I would encourage everyone to pray today. Ask God to reveal any blind spots that we may have. Is your heart open for God to evaluate? If you ask the Lord He will be quick to respond. He is our ever present help in time of need. Let's learn from those who have gone before us and not suffer the consequences that blind spots can create.