I’ve been reading the Old Testament and the prophet Jeremiah lately. I began half way through because I was following a devotional that started somewhere around there. Once I got into it though I became quite enthralled with the story. I kept reading this book of the Bible for several days, as I wanted to see what happened further, instead of switching to other scriptures. I am still working my way through it a little at a time.
He was of course considered a prophet and was consulted by King Zedekiah to pray and see what the Lord told him about specific situations. I was amazed that so often when Jeremiah prayed and told the King what the Lord told the King to do, he did not do. This seemed to be a pattern until the final time that Jeremiah told the King he would surely die if he did not do as the Lord told him to… still he did not do it and he was killed. After that the leaders of Judah used Jeremiah as well to pray and give them the answers to what they should do but as requested, when he prayed and told the leaders what the Lord said, they dismissed it as being a lie and threw Jeremiah in a cistern. (worse than jail) The leaders wanted to continue praying to a false God and decided to go where they were told not to go or there would be disaster. And of course they did it anyway and Jeremiah’s prophecy came true!
The reason I went into a bit of detail was to say that I wondered after, about some of the things I read.
One of the most obvious things I found, is that some things remain unchanged throughout the history of the world. And that is that so often we do the same things today whether Christians or Non-Christians. We do what we feel in our hearts is not the right thing to do, even though as Christians we believe the Holy Spirit is our guide; as Non-Christians…our conscience for lack of a better word…. is telling us. And so often we end up in some form as a disaster or definitely not in a better place, for having done so.
Another thing I ‘wished’ that we could hear from the Lord in such a precise way as the prophets of the Old Testament did. Jeremiah prayed, and within a matter of days had the answer he was sure enough about being direct from God himself, that he would relay to kings and other leaders that “This is what the Lord God Almighty says”. Period. No questioning or doubt as to whether he had heard God correctly.
I thought about that ‘wish’ of mine for a while and then came to the conclusion that at the time the Old Testament the prophets did not have the Holy Spirit to guide them and so God had to instill an assurance to them that they were hearing exactly what He was saying to them was in fact the truth and did not need to be questioned. We on the other hand Do have the Holy Spirit and if we are walking closely with the Lord and know His character and are trying to follow His will, have to trust that when we pray we will be led accordingly. Having said that wouldn’t it be wonderful to always be ‘sure’!
Another thing that struck me rather startlingly was the ‘disasters’ that were foretold by the Lord through Jeremiah and how brutal they seemed to me. That’s where the justice of God became real. Even though God is to me a loving God, he is also a God that demands obedience and when we do not obey, our ‘disasters’ while seemingly not of such a brutal nature, are in fact to our body, mind and very soul very much so!
I don’t know if what I’ve taken from what I’ve read is theologically correct but it’s what I feel.