“Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord;
and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?”
We’re getting really close to the exile in our chronological bible plan. Kings are evil, save one or two here and there. Prophets are warning, over and over, of things to come if the nation fails to repent. At the same time, God reminds them of great salvation in the promises he has already made. In Romans 1, Paul clearly establishes that God has made himself known through the things that have been made so that even those who have never heard his promises are condemned without excuse. Yet, the Israelites were offered a great salvation and they snubbed their nose at God.
God paints a vivid scene through Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 5:7-8 “How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are not gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores. They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
He then adds the rhetorical question that we opened with. Shall I not punish them? Shall I not avenge myself? Lest there be any mistake of God’s intention, he repeats this in verse 29 of the same chapter.
Have you ever heard a stallion neighing for a mare in heat? I think it’s terrifying. In fact, it is quite dangerous to be around. That’s how God describes the intensity of his people in their quest to sin. Lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife. Wow!
It was so, from the top to the bottom.
v. 30-31 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their discretion; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?
Indeed, the end will come. For the Israelites, this was a prophesy of doom which was fulfilled with the Assyrian and Babylon captivity. Beyond that, there is another doom that shall one day be faced – the tribulation which ends in the lake of fire. Just because Judah was returned to her homeland doesn’t mean that all is forgotten or over.
Most bible-believing Christians see this when they read the prophets. One can’t but help wonder how we, today, are any different than the Israelites back then. In fact, most of us believe we are even worse! Certainly, there will be a day of judgement for the sins of our nation and the sins of this world. It will be an awful, awful day, making the Babylonians look like Peace Corp workers.
I say all that and wonder how I am to use all this information. Yes, I’m saved. I won’t ever experience God’s wrath (Romans 5:9), but that doesn’t mean that I won’t experience carnage through a nation that acts like we do. I share the gospel, yes, but do I share it with the full counsel of Scripture. In other words, do I share the bad news, or am I just sharing the good news?
Over and over in the prophets, we see bad news on one hand and good news on the next. We see this same thing in the Law as well as the Wisdom books. Certainly, we see it as well in all of the New Testament. It’s clear to me that I must not avoid the bad news when sharing the gospel.
There will be a cost to me for doing so. People on Facebook will think I’m a nut job. I’ll be shunned. When I reminded folks that the lake of fire is for the bystanders as well as the mass shooter, I’m sure to catch flack. I know that I’m supposed to warn people, but how far do I go with all this?
I don’t know other than to obey God’s prompting and remind myself that I am not of this world. Ultimately, should I seek the approval of man or God? What do I have to fear? My friends? My family? My job?
Matthew 19:27-30 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Food for thought.
Father, guide me. Embolden me. Lead me where I need to go. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers