TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 26–29
According to some chronologies, Jeremiah was 18 when he preached his classic temple sermon. The Lord told Jeremiah not to diminish a word of his judgmental sermon. No guarantee was given that the message would yield repentance, and Jeremiah had the physical disadvantage of being a young country bumpkin. The Lord did guarantee that if Jeremiah was ignored, the consequence was that Jerusalem would be made a curse to the nations. As ever it has been and will be, one way or another, God will message the nations through us—either through blessing or cursing.
When we speak the truth of the Lord without diminishing a word, the normal result is that the establishment thinks our words of life warrant our death (Jer. 26:8, 11). Missions motivation always disturbs the religious establishment, yet to resist the prophetic voice of the Lord is to do great evil against ourselves (v. 19). The prophetic voice of the Lord often contradicts popular wisdom. In Jeremiah’s day Judah and the neighboring nations sensed a weakness in their rulers as Assyria waned and Babylon rose; rebellion and independence was in the air. Jeremiah told the kings to submit and serve Babylon even as all other voices promoted patriotic defiance. Prophetic voices call us to greater concern about God’s glory among the nations than to the national glory of our political home. Proclaiming God as globally glorious is the missionary assignment, and that’s hard to do if you’re focused on making your own country great again. No godly citizen delights in the decline of his own nation, yet no godly Christian puts the fame of his nation above the glory of God among all peoples.
Jeremiah’s message to his own nation is pertinent to America today. America is not a Christian nation; our laws and morality are shameful. America is not blessed above other nations and America is on a slide towards judgment. Outside widespread repentance, America will face the wrath of God—sooner rather than later. God will cause an American exile (29:4) where our best and brightest serve His purposes overseas among the unreached because as a collective we have refused Him honor at home. We love to quote Jeremiah 29:11 in which God promises that He thinks peace not evil and a future and a hope over us. We forget that the context was to those at the beginning of exile, that Jeremiah said they would continue in exile for seventy years, that they needed to settle down, build houses, have children, and serve the nations far from home while God judged and purged their own nation.
Are you disturbed by the godless trajectory of America? Perhaps God’s will for you is to use your vocation overseas, to live among the unreached as God’s ambassador, to settle there, to bring your children into the world in a foreign land, to be God’s prophetic example that He will not be held hostage by any nation, that He will be glorified everywhere by every people. Perhaps God’s good future for you and your family is that you spend the decades ahead exiled from your beloved nation, enveloped enthusiastically in His loving plan for the redemption of all the nations beloved to Him.