My adult daughters and sons-in-law do their best to keep my social media posts positive, but there are times, when I see the City of God being deceived, that I cannot be silent.
One of my readings this morning was 1 Samuel 28, where Samuel was dead, and Saul, facing a formidable Philistine army at Shunem, turned to the witch of Endor for guidance.
I couldn’t get past Saul’s chilling assessment of his situation; “God has turned away from me and answers me no more.” (1 Samuel 28:15)
I can’t think of any worse condition.
It was the tragic result of years of selfish ambition and willful disobedience to the direct commands of God through Samuel.
My next reading this morning then was Jeremiah 29.
Here, God was speaking through Jeremiah to the “prophets” the people of God had requested for themselves, while in exile in Babylon; prophets who would tell them what they wanted to hear… specifically that God was pleased with them and would soon return them to places of peace and prosperity in Israel.
God told Jeremiah to tell the exiles that these prophets were speaking “lying words that I did not command them.” (vs. 23)
In Jeremiah 23, God said of these prophets that He had never seen any of them in His Council Chamber to “see or to hear His words.”
They were simply telling the people of God what they knew would be easy on their sensibilities and would not rock the boat.
God’s punishment on these smooth-talking prophets would be severe.
The king of Babylon would “roast them in the fire.” (vs. 22)
This week I received an email from a good friend in San Diego, attending a growing, denominational church with multiple campuses, that, in an obsession with being relevant, refuses to tell the truth about the cost of discipleship.
Instead of telling the people that following Jesus requires that we lay down our lives (Mark 8:34), they are being told that they can have Jesus AND live any way they like.
Do we think that the God of Jeremiah 29 has somehow calmed down in the New Testament, and is way more tolerant of “prophets” telling the people in 2018 that they are just fine living the way they are, enslaved to whatever idols our culture is hastily erecting in the public square?
I tremble for some of my colleagues in America, actively leading the people of God astray.
I am reminded of the words of scholar, Os Guinness, who writes that when the Church of Jesus bows down to the god of cultural relevance it will cease to have any prophetic influence in the world.
Jeremiah 23 and 29 hold the key to turning things around in our day.
“… if they (the prophets) had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” (Jeremiah 23:22)
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14)