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Echo Evangelique

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Jeremiah Trusts God in Spite of the Opposition

Text: Jeremiah 11:14-23

Key Concepts:

  • Does God’s grace has its limit?
  • The betrayal of The Lord’s beloved
  • How do you face opposition in your ministry?

The Holy Bible teaches that God covers our sins (Rom. 4:7-8); and that God is good. Does that mean that when we betray Our Lord, He disregards or overlooks our sinning? When the people of God, those called by His Name, refuse to repent, to turn back and be restored, can Holy God turn a blind eye? Will God forgive without our repenting from our wickedness, and without confession? In that light, Jeremiah invites us to consider these critical questions: Does God’s grace has its limit? Can we ever go beyond God’s grace? Is there ever a time when we should stop praying for certain people? Is there a time when our fasting and praying cannot reach God? when we betray our sovereign God, what should we expect from Him? As far as the work we do in His Name, how should we respond to opposition in our ministry? How do you respond to your own people (in your environment) becoming roadblocks to your work for God? And finally, do children pay for the sins of their parents?

Does God’s grace has its limit?

Does God ever run out of patience with us? “So do not pray for this people or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble” (Jer. 11:14, NKJV). Evidently, there is a time when praying for people does not work. A time when God’s longsuffering runs its course.  A time when we step away from God’s grace. But. But what about “His mercy endures forever” (Ps. 136)? When one persists in rebellion against God and because of that impenitence God decrees His judgment, no amount of prayer can save that person from God’s justice. No measure of spiritual activities will help either.  “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you (Jer. 7:16, NKJV). God will not hear, nor will He rescue the unrepentant (Jer. 2:27-28).  Throughout The Bible we witness God’s restraint and mercy as He attempts to provoke His people to repentance (Amos 4). However, when His own people resists and persists in sinning instead, His judgment inevitably follows (1 Pet. 3:20). And “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31, NASB). Paul warns us that the forbearance of God is aimed at bringing us to repentance but if we remain unrepentant then we will have gone beyond His grace (Rom. 2). Isaiah likewise teaches us that God restrains His anger for His own glory (48:9-11). 

The betrayal of The Lord’s beloved

The term “beloved’ is one of endearment, particularly in the intimate relationship context (see Song of Salomon). Here it depicts a special relationship between God and His people. Indeed we are His beloved. This affection and intimacy should be mutual and cherished. God is using this marital language to speak of the unfaithfulness of His people. ‘“What has My beloved to do in My house, having done lewd deeds with many? And the holy flesh has passed from you. When you do evil, then you rejoice”’ (Jer. 11:15, NKJV). In violating the covenant, the people betrayed their God who held them dear, and thus committed spiritual adultery. The statement: ‘the holy flesh has passed from you’ refers to the duality of Israel in offering sacrifices to God while wallowing in sins. Their sacrifices no longer held anything of holiness, nor righteousness. Their worship was nothing but a pretense, a self-deception. The people were enamored of their sinfulness. Their hearts were far from true repentance since they felt no remorse over their condition. Rather, they foolishly believed that God owed them His forgiveness and mercy. Israel was no longer the fertile “Green Olive Tree” (Jer. 11:16). Their growth, their productivity was stunted. They could no longer bear good fruit and thus were unable to please their God. For, as the Vinedresser, God planted His Olive Tree, His Vine, to bear good fruit according to His will and purpose. The tree that regrettably bears no fruit, that is useless, is destined to be uprooted and thrown in the furnace. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required (Luke 12:48, NKJV).” Thankfully, God will always give His children the opportunity to grow and bear fruit. But alas when we fail to do so, what purpose do we then serve? The people of God, those saved for His good pleasure, chose “to provoke Me [God] to anger in offering incense to Baal” (Jer. 11:17, NKJV). It is as if they forgot the holy character of their God. It is as if they forgot His blessings and favors. Indeed anytime we choose to look for our deliverance outside of God or seek to add or take away from God’s precepts, we are in reality committing idolatry.

How do you face opposition in your ministry?

Jeremiah faithfully did his duty as a prophet. He delivered God’s Word and otherwise ministered to the people in order that they would avoid God’s judgment. However, the people turned against him and sought to destroy him. They conspired against him: “’Let us destroy the tree with its fruit and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be remembered no more’” (Jer. 11:19, NKJV). Since the same people conspired against God Himself (Jer. 11:9); the prophet should’ve known that he was not immune to their treachery. What do you do when betrayal comes from your own people? Simply stay the course. Ignore the distraction and continue to serve God faithfully. Rather than pursuing his revenge, Jeremiah sought comfort from God’s justice (Jer. 11:20). Out of holy indignation, when God’s glory was at stake, he prayed that God would remove the wicked. Should we not indeed rejoice when God removes from our midst those who would impede and seek to sabotage us spiritually. “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine” (Jer. 11:22, NKJV). The consequences of our sins often harm our family, friends and those closest to us. In fact, our deeds or misdeeds can call judgment upon our children. Those who oppose God’s work and servants do so at their own risk. For God’s justice never fails.

In conclusion…

God’s patience has limits brethren. Why would you want to reach the point where it is too late to pray? Ignoring God’s warnings is reckless, arrogant and foolish; it leaves you outside of the bounds God’s grace. Those who are in the service of God will face opposition. Expect it but do not be deterred by it. The more hypocrisy you face, the more sincere should be in return. God will test every mind and heart. He is a righteous judge, worry not about what ‘they’ say. Remain faithful, beloved. Remember, just as our children benefit from our blessings, they also suffer the consequences of our disobedience. A prayer of repentance today will keep you from judgment. Today is the day of salvation. Take the opportunity today to receive His grace. do not wait until it is too late. Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near. “Let the [b]wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Is. 55:6-7, NKJV).

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