The overall vision of what God gave Jeremiah distressed him greatly. The Lord had raised him up to warn, and warn again, the people of Judah of God’s judgment coming upon them, but they would not listen. Foreseeing what was to come burdened the prophet so much that he must have felt at times that he could bear no more. He loved his nation and the Jewish people. When they purposely turned from Yahweh into their own evil purposes, it brought Jeremiah physical torment. He saw the problem, knew its source, and could do nothing about it other than call out the sin and pray for the people to heed the Word of God. So steeped in their wicked ways, they refused to believe anything would happen to them.
Consider the lament of the prophet in Jeremiah 10:19-21:
Woe is me because of my hurt!
My wound is grievous.
But I said, “Truly this is an affliction,
and I must bear it.”
My tent is destroyed,
and all my cords are broken;
my children have gone from me,
and they are not;
there is no one to spread my tent again
and to set up my curtains.
For the shepherds are stupid
and do not inquire of the Lord;
therefore they have not prospered,
and all their flock is scattered.
His hurt was bone-crushing in its intensity; the wound felt like the ruthless slaughter of an innocent person; the affliction left him broken and ruined.
Every aspect of his house, perhaps the metaphorical house of Jerusalem, was broken and unrepairable. Whether his own children or those of his people, Jeremiah knew that the next generation was lost. They hadn’t been taught to fear the Lord; they’d gone their own ways; nothing and no one were left to reestablish a righteous household, or the city itself.
Those who had been charged with overseeing the moral and ethical lives of the people had become dull of hearing. Their hearts were consumed with useless, wicked activities because they’d forgotten the Lord their God. None of those whom they were supposed to guide into righteous living remained, having been dashed to pieces for their sins.
Can you imagine Jeremiah’s woe that he called down upon himself?
For those of us watching the dissolution of America as our society, and the culture itself, crumble all around us in these latter days, does it not grieve your heart? The United States was such a bright and shining city on a hill. God blessed our nation so abundantly because of how the hearts of the founders, and of many people over the years, had been toward God. They revered the Lord and worked for His kingdom. The Word of God went forth from our shores to other lands. We proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world. God’s ways were instilled within the family and even in the public arena. Schools at one time helped children to walk in faith. Churches were places where people were saved through powerful preaching.
Now there is just a remnant of that.
The Lord loves our country just as He loves the nation of Israel. But just like with His Chosen People, when they turned from Him to follow other gods and He had to punish them for their rejection of the truth, so God is exacting judgment upon America.
For those of us who read God’s Word, it is evident this had to happen. Since our nation doesn’t appear in the end-times narrative, something had to occur to bring us down. No longer are we a country with Godly morals and ideals. Our leaders are corrupt beyond description. The houses of worship in this once great nation have fallen into apostasy, following the ways of the world rather than those of God. They retain some element of spirituality, but it has nothing to do with the righteousness and holiness that leads people to the truth found only in Christ Jesus. And so it is with the peoples of this land. They are ignorant of the Lord because the generation before them neglected to instruct them in the fear and admonition of God. Those who go to the vast majority of churches have no real concept of the Person of Jesus and who He is as the way, truth, and life.
For all this, does not your heart grieve, just as Jeremiah’s did? He saw his city and nation coming to ruin. Despite all the prophet did that God gave him the means to do, it had to feel like a worthless effort. No one would heed his voice crying out to turn back to the only One who could save them.
For those of us continuing to do the work of God to advance His kingdom, does it not feel hopeless at times? Yes, little pockets of transformation crop up here and there, but the overwhelming tide is rushing toward the shore of darkness. But, we knew these days would come. Scripture has plainly told us there would be no reprieve; no Great Awakening.
Knowing this, what are we to do? God has told us a day is coming when He will remove us from this alien place known as the world. That is our overarching hope. It is God’s promise to which we cling. So, should we just head to our bunkers and wait for this marvelous moment?
By no means! As hard as it is; as disheartening as it sometimes seems; we are to work while daylight still remains. God placed each of us here, in our particular places, at this specific time, to accomplish something that we’re supposed to do. If we neglect this duty, how faithful are we? How trustworthy? Will we be the good and faithful servant who carries out his responsibilities while his master is absent?
That’s what God wants for each of us. When He returns, will He have found us diligent in our daily chores?
I think we need to simultaneously look up as we await Jesus’ return, but at the same time keep our hands on the plow and our eyes on the field ahead, so that as we til our rows are straight.
Would God want any less of us?