From our pulpits we hear constantly how God is merciful and forgives sin. Often a mark of “success” of a sermon seems to be how good people feel about themselves as they leave a meeting or church service. Pastors do not want to hear complaints or negative comments; they only want to be told how many attended and how large the offering was. Would it meet the budget and have money for the programs? The polish and prominence of the parish is the paramount proportion to show we are doing “the Lord’s work.” This is not to say all pastors or church leaders are out of the loop of what Father may be planning, but there seems to have been so much emphasis in the last few decades on love that we have not heard any warnings about ignoring God’s goodness.
How rarely does one hear of God’s anger, even though there are over 150 references to God’s judgment in the Bible and only about half that in reference to God having mercy? Of course, a word search does not fully reveal the themes of Scripture and certainly, God IS merciful. The concept of His desire for none to be lost, and for all to come to repentance is rife throughout the Word. The Bible is God’s love letter to us, that we can be saved from judgment! Yet, one of the chief motivations to appeal for His mercy, is that unless we entreat Him for it, He WILL pronounce judgment on the recalcitrant. His mercy is for anyone who requests it, but what of those who refuse to ask or do not even know that they should!?
God is certainly more patient than we are. Within the book of Judges, there is a pattern of disobedience followed by punishment, followed by repentance, followed by deliverance, followed by repeated disobedience . . . over and over and over and over!! This pattern continued throughout the Kings of Israel and Judah, until finally God’s patience wore out. All along the way, He raised up many prophets to warn the people that judgment would come, until finally, He told Jeremiah to stop praying for the people!
How far down the path of calling good evil and evil good can we go before we have exhausted His patience again? How many innocents who have not yet been born can we kill, sacrificing them to the gods of convenience, fame and money? What does one make of an elected governor who says abortion is the way to love your neighbor!? (Ezekiel 16:35-38; 23:37-43). How long can we keep putting darkness for light and light for darkness; how long can we exchange bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter; how long can we be wise in our own eyes, promote heroes for how much wine they can drink, and take bribes to acquit the guilty and deprive the innocent of their rights? (Isaiah 5:20-25).
Is the USA past a point of no return? Is God telling His people to stop praying for our nation? When you pray for our leaders and the condition of our country, do you get a sense that Heaven is brass, and God will not listen anymore? Who will warn the society that famine may be a season away, that a sword is being sharpened to cut off the life of the republic? Should we not be concerned when the choices for our leaders have devolved so low, when Supreme Court Justices must fear for their lives because of ruling in favor of protecting the unborn? Are the following warnings given to Jeremiah about Israel equivalent to God’s words to the United States? Who will warn our people?
“Do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities and in the streets? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? Is it not themselves, to their own shame?” Therefore, thus says Yahweh-Elohim, “Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 7:16-20)
“They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. …” Therefore, says Yahweh, “Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. Then they will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. For your gods have become as many as your cities, and as many as your streets are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal. Therefore, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds? Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom?” … Yahweh once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest, He will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. “I, Yahweh-tzavot [The LORD of hosts], who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil you have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.” (Jeremiah 11:10-17)
“Yahweh said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer … offerings, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.” Then I said: “Ah, Yahweh-Elohim, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” And Yahweh said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore, thus I, Yahweh say concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.” (Jeremiah 14:11-16)
May Yahweh, The God Who Is, have mercy on us. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.