About 65 years pass and Isaiah’s words hang in the air. The Babylonians haven’t captured Jerusalem yet, but neither have the people of God repented. They are still rebellious and self-centered. Still there is corruption in the priesthood as well as the nation.
Jeremiah comes on the scene and his words seem to echo the same as his predecessor. Yet his words are weightier, because the time of judgment is nigh. In fact, during Jeremiah’s lifetime Jerusalem will be overthrown.
The sin of the people basically is rooted in unfaithfulness to the one true God. They are enamored by the idols of the surrounding cultures, and they don’t worship God and Him only.
When other people hold up their gods and introduce false worship, those who don’t know their God can easily be swayed. They begin to forget the history of God’s miracles and His faithfulness. They begin to think in humanistic terms and come to believe that there are many paths to the truth.
During times of such apostasy, it takes brave people to stand up and speak the truth. Jeremiah was such a brave one. The Lord spoke to him and said, “Do not be afraid of their faces. For I am with you to deliver you.” (1:8)
So the Lord gives Jeremiah a message – reminding the Jews of their heritage with the Lord. They are reminded of His faithfulness to them as they were led out of Egypt and nurtured in the wilderness. With great signs and wonders the Lord led them to this land and prospered them above all nations.
What has He done to them to cause them to turn to idols? They have forsaken their God and gone after the idols of Egypt and Assyria.
So since they don’t trust in Him, He will turn His back. He has called to them for many years, begging them to return to the truth, but to no avail. Now they will have to reap the fruit of their choices. They will discover soon enough that Egypt and Assyria will not be able to deliver them. The final hours are upon them.
In our society it’s so easy to follow in the way of the unfaithful. There are many voices out there beckoning us to follow them. Sometimes, without even realizing it, we can follow the wrong voice. We have to be very careful.
We have to be careful to listen and obey the One True God. There is only One. The other voices have to be kept at bay as we look to His Word and His voice.
As Jeremiah was sent to root out, destroy, build and plant, we have to do the same in our own hearts. We have to root out and destroy the words which come to us from those around us which aren’t from God. We have to build and plant what our Father wants in our hearts.
Purity. Wholeness. Refreshment from the Lord. That’s what the abundant life of the faithful exudes. And promises of better things to come.
I Timothy 3
There are requirements laid down by our Father for those who lead the church.
Basically it gets back to this: if people are following the leader, where will they be going? if there is the leaven of greed, hypocrisy, drunkenness, or strife in the leadership, then the same seeds will be popping up throughout the church.
I have seen this demonstrated in our modern church. When a leader gets exposed for adultery, you can see the same sin in the lives of many of his followers. The sin seems to pop up repeatedly – here and there. The same goes for any sin – strife, greed, or pride.
The leader is like the door of God’s work. What he lets in, comes in; what he keeps out, stays out.
So you can see why it is so important for leadership to be held to a high standard.
Paul even mentions that there should be a time of training before someone takes charge. “Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” (V.6).
The principles are for the good of all. The leaders can’t bear the weight of leadership when they are in sin or immature in the faith, and those in his charge will be led astray if the leadership isn’t pure.
Our God is faithfully directing us to a place of strength and holiness. His ways are always the best!