Jer.18:17 "Like the wind from the east, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back and not my face."
So it's safe to say, God is not happy. God is going to scatter Judah and cause them to be defeated by their enemies. In their time of need, He will turn His back on them.
God has reached the end of His patience and He is now going to pour out His judgment upon Judah. This is the word of the Lord that Jeremiah has been called to speak.
I love this! Many Christians portray God in this peg hole of being this big cuddly teddy bear. And no matter how you behave or carry on, He just smiles and says "no big deal". God is often portrayed as a big loving daddy who is always accepting of whatever attitudes we act out. Yes, God is our father. And yes God is love. However His love is not always expressed in the way we imagine.
Hebrews 12:5(b)-6 "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when the Lord rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
God's love does not always feel good, but it is always exactly what we need. I'm so thankful that God does not jeopardize our growth for the sake of our comfort.
Through the book of Jeremiah we discover that God is a person. We were made in the image of God, and just like you and I, God can get angry. The difference being is, God's anger is always righteous and just. Why is God so angry?
He is angry because this is His people, this is His bride. They are living in disobedience and rebellion and they will not turn from their wicked ways
Jer.2:2(b) "I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert,"
Judah has not been faithful in their covenant to God. They have brought in many of the different idols of the world to worship and have done it with a clear conscience. Obviously, their conscience has been seered. God refers to them as a stiff-necked people.
Jer.19:15 "This is what the Lord almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.'"
Make no mistake the disaster that is coming upon Judah is being sent by God. Because they are stiff-necked, God is sending a disaster upon them that will shake them from their rebellion.
What does it mean to be stiff-necked? And how can I avoid becoming stiff-necked? To be stiff-necked means that you are no longer correctable. Like someone in a neck brace, their neck is no longer flexible. Being stiff-necked refers to a position of rebellion. The heart has become hard and the stiff-necked person refuses to change their course. They will not yield or receive correction. Someone who is stiff-necked sadly believes what they are doing is right. This is the ultimate dilemma in being deceived.
So how do we avoid becoming still-necked? We must contend to always keep a teachable spirit. We are not always going to do things right the first time. We must realize we make errors in life, and understand there are always opportunities to grow and develop. Every life experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. Stay correctable.
One of the most damaging things to a softened heart is unforgiveness. We must always be quick to forgive and to release others from the debt of their offenses. Guard your heart, keep it soft. Nothing will soften a heart like the experience of spending time in the Lord's presence. Life experiences have a way of bringing deteriation and decay. Our God is the only one who makes all things new.
A couple questions to ask yourself,
1. How do I respond to change? 2. And how do I respond to correction?
If your are able to embrace change and correction in life, you likely are not a stiff-necked candidate.
The most important thing is that we always seek and invite the correction of the Holy Spirit. I encourage everyone to ask the Lord to continually reveal any blind spots we may be unaware of. Give the Holy Spirit permission to point out to you anything that needs to change. I once again leave you with the words of David's prayer.
Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, Oh 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."