Jeremiah 1-2: Foolish as Well as Fallen
October 1, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The “weeping prophet.” Why should we read such words that are only bound to make us miserable? Well, to begin with, the purpose is not depressive but repentant. The key call to Jeremiah has a dual purpose (a doubled-edged sword):
“…to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)
Jeremiah is not only to announce judgment, he is also to prepare for a new building and new planting. Once judgment is announced (as Jonah found to his dismay with Nineveh), its announcement is a final call to repentance. If warning, tinged with conviction, does not suffice to generate a return to God, then perhaps a final declaration will generate that movement.
For some in Jeremiah’s day, there was no doubt a response—though as a whole there was not a response of repentance. Jeremiah’s ministry, the “weeping prophet,” carried on “until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month” (1:3).
From these two chapters, learn first that youth is no barrier to God’s usefulness (1:7). What matters is not how young (or old) you are but how called you are. Timothy, do not allow others to look down on your youth (1 Timothy 4:12). Do what God has called you to do.
We learn, second, that where God calls he strengthens (1:18-19). “They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you” (1:19). And such firmness of perseverance means two things. It means that there will be opposition to any true ministry that God has called you to. People will oppose you. And it means that you must stand firm in God’s way despite the opposition. “Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them” (1:17).
We learn, third, the absurdity of Israel’s—and our—sin:
“Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.” (Jeremiah 2:11)
It is one thing to violate the common principle that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Which nation changes its gods for no good reason? But it is another thing to change from the True God to false gods! And such a shift is utterly pointless: there will be no “profit.” Idolatrous sin is not only heinous, wrong, evil; it is also just plain brainless. Why would you throw away real diamonds so that you could have fake diamonds? Why would you exchange the True God for fake pagan gods?
Today, then, do not let others despise you for being a Christian, or for wanting to study the Bible. Resist the devil (our fight is not against flesh and blood, Eph. 6:12) and he will flee from you (James 4:7). And repent of any known sin, realizing that all idolatry—preferring your own self over God’s Word—is at root foolish as well as fallen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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