The people of Judah separate themselves from God – and He responds accordingly. Many warnings have gone forth, begging God’s people to repent and turn back to Him, but they won’t listen. So the inevitable occurs.
Babylon appears at the gate, and the king cries out for help, but it’s too late. The kings have turned to the gods of those nations around them. So have the priests. So have the prophets.
In fact, the prophets are sharing false dreams and visions which encourage the Jews to continue in their sinful ways. They are worshiping Baal and all of the false gods, which are really Satan’s counterfeits sent to destroy God’s kingdom.
This time, God refuses to help. He will not save these people from the future they have willingly run toward. All of the false visions and all of the prophets who said, “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace, have led the people astray. They spoke words which tickled the ears of the priests and the kings, but they were not the words of the Lord. So the final hour has come – the hour to reap what they have sown. They planted a separation from the one true God; they are now about to reap the fruit: destruction.
Even in the midst of these words spoken against the leaders of the nation, however, a seed of hope is planted. That’s the way it is with our God. He won’t leave any of us without hope. He shines a light on the path which will eventually bring us to a hopeful future.
A prophecy concerning Jesus is planted. Some day God will raise up a “righteous Branch from David,” and He will be called “the Lord our righteousness.”(23:5-6) And people who have been scattered throughout the earth will return to God and to His Son.
Hope. God always plants a seed of hope for those of us who will listen. And that seed is what we need to plant in our hearts, allowing it to grow.
Today we can see many of the same issues in full bloom in our world. People, in following popular ideas, have deserted the one true God. They have allowed other gods from other cultures to contaminate pure doctrine, so that even many ministers deny what our God stands for.
In the middle of that turmoil, however, there are those who are hearing the cry of the heart to turn back to Him. Some are hearing that voice for the first time, and they are amazed that God is real and that He is still at work in the earth.
For those who will listen, there is tremendous hope. Our God is still taking care of those who follow Him. He is still healing broken hearts, binding up wounds of the past, and setting the captives free.
From the midst of the turmoil, a remnant of people will arise who will show His glory. I want to be one of those!
II Timothy 4
These words of Paul are just before his death. He is already “being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of his departure is at hand.” (V.6). Paul is soon to be martyred for his walk with the Lord, but he isn’t worried. He has “fought the good fight; finished the course, and kept the faith.” (V.7) A heavenly reward is awaiting him.
In these last words, Paul reminds Timothy to stay true to God’s Word, which is sound doctrine. He warns that the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but will want to have their ears tickled. They will accumulate teachers for themselves who teach just what they want to hear.
I heard Joyce Meyer say once that she and Dave could tell when her teaching was something the people needed to hear. They would get very quiet. When her word was what they wanted to hear, they would shout and applaud. When the word was what they needed to hear, there would be silence in the room. Some would be listening intently, and benefitting. Others would be rejecting that word. They wanted their ears tickled.
If we are to grow in our walk, there will be times when we hear things which prick us, bringing correction. Those words aren’t pleasant, but they will cause us to rise up to our potential in Him.
Let’s listen to the whole counsel of God so that we will grow and become all that he desires us to be.