Lusty Horses and Unresponsive Heathens
Right now I’m reading through the book of Jeremiah. And I’m once again amazed and perplexed at the grossness and gravity of the sin of Israel and Judah. I began making a list of just a few of the things in the opening chapters of the book:
- refused to repent – v.3
- they lived like “lusty horses” neighing after their neighbor’s wife – v.8
- no fear of God – v.24
- they did not plead the cause of the orphan or defend the rights of the poor – v.28
- the Word of God had become a reproach to them – v.10
- they would not walk in the ancient paths, the good and right way – v.16
On and on it goes. Until finally God told Jeremiah to preach against the nations of Israel and Judah, explaining the calamity that would befall them if they would not repent. But here’s the kicker: In verse 27 of chapter 7, God tells Jeremiah,
“You will speak these words to them, BUT they will not listen to you.”
I can just imagine Jeremiah doing a double-take to make sure he heard correctly.
“Excuse me God, did You say they wouldn’t listen?”
“Yes, that’s correct Jeremiah!”
“Okay ….ummm ….hmmm … just checking … so … tell me again why I’m doing this?”
In processing through this in our results-based Christian subculture here in the good ole U.S. of A., it’s hard not to feel bad for our good friend Jeremiah and his incredibly daunting task. I cannot imagine being given this unbelievable job, only to be accompanied with the news that no one will listen. And yet, Jeremiah persevered, albeit he had his own issues and struggles later on doubting God and wondering why the heck he was still preaching to deaf ears.
As I process this, at least two practical questions come to the forefront of my mind that I hope I never stop wrestling with, and I hope the same for you.
1. When I read about the gross sins and idolatry of Israel, do I feel a sense of elevated pride in my heart because “I’m not as bad as they were?” Or do I truly believe that I’m nothing apart from the grace of God and that indeed my “heart is “deceitful above all things, who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)
2. If I knew that no one I ever spoke to would listen and no one would ever respond to the salvation call of God, would I continue to be His mouthpiece? Would I obey despite already knowing the tragic results? Would I? Would you?