Jeremiah 6: 10-15
‘’Who will listen to me?’’ (10)
‘’They’ve tuned out GOD. They don’t want to hear from me.’’ The Message.
This is Jeremiah speaking, but ultimately the issue was about listening to God, who was talking through Jeremiah. From one angle, a ‘disciple’ is someone who answers this call. They listen, and learn (and obey!) Attitude towards God’s Word is an index of the heart (10b). Every pastor longs to see hunger for God’s Word among God’s people. But this passage opens by talking about those who did not want to listen to the Lord’s Word. In fact, they loathed it. Jeremiah had a message the people did not want to hear (11). He preached an unpopular sermon about impending judgment. Are we guilty of going for the more ‘soft-centred’ Bible truths? Do we avoid the ‘nutty’ passages that are hard on our teeth?
Regardless of the negative attitude of his congregation, Jeremiah would not be silenced: ‘’The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it. But…’’ (10b).
Although Jeremiah’s message was unpopular, it would come to pass (11b, 12: notice how God again speaks directly at this point.) The second half of verse 11 points to the comprehensive nature of the judgment that was soon to fall. It would affect people of all ages from right across their society.
Jeremiah would not be like the false preachers who served up only what the people wanted to hear (13, 14); who doled out false hope. He would not offer them only sweet, soft-centred sermons; his messages also contained nuts (and some people had a bad reaction!). Preachers who do not give a proper treatment of the doctrines of sin and judgment end up dealing with people’s deadly wounds as if they were just scratches and grazes. Their messages are not radical enough; they don’t go deep enough.
Somebody said that the gospel is bad news before it is good news. We must know how sick we are before we will be prepared to call in the doctor and ask for a cure. We must understand that we are sinners in the sight of a holy God, and what this means, before we will be prepared to cry out to Jesus to save us.
As we have seen, there were profound problems in Jeremiah’s society which were caused, or certainly exacerbated, by a corrupt ministry. Whether they realise it or not, preachers create a culture by their sermons. If they twist the truth, they produce a toxic culture. Let’s pray for all who teach God’s Word. They carry an awesome responsibility. May they not be moved from the truth.
‘’Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar, little people and big people alike. Prophets and priests and everyone in between twist words and doctor truth. My people are broken – shattered! – and they put on band-aids, Saying, ‘It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.’ But things are not ‘just fine’! Do you suppose they are embarrassed over this outrage? No, they have no shame. They don’t even know how to blush.’’ The Message.