God’s Voice in National Peril
John Bramhall of Charlotte, N.C. provides the assemblies of God’s people with both oral and written ministry. This article ministers comfort, counsel and encouragement for God’s people today. This surely is a message relevant to our times.
One of the bravest, tenderest and most pathetic characters in history was the Prophet Jeremiah. Everyone should read his great prophecy, for there is a strong similarity between the world of today and the fateful days of Jeremiah. For the greater part, his ministry was during the most tragic time of Judah’s history, the reign of its last five kings. He was the prophet of Judah’s midnight hour. Today we are nearing the most tragic time of world history for the midnight hour is near. The second coming of Christ is at hand, the time when God’s destructive and conclusive judgments will fall on a sin-loving and Christ-rejecting world — read Revelation 14:14-20.
The Prophet’s Character:
Jeremiah possessed outstanding characteristics:
(a) Suffering sympathy shown in two directions. A sympathy for God such as few men possessed, for he entered into the life of Jehovah. He not only spoke for God but he felt with God (Jer. 7:3; 20:9). He also had a yearning, grieving and loving sympathy for his fellowmen which made him suffer with them. He not only spoke to the people but also felt with them (Jer. 9:1; Lam. 2:11; 3:48), yet he never failed to identify himself with God in his judgments (Lam. chap. 2).
(b) Patient perseverance, a pure love and devotion that carried him through such a disappointing ministry. Many prophets had a measure of success but Jeremiah never saw any response and gratitude. He was unheeded and humiliated, but bravely persistent (Jer. 20:7-9). “Love suffereth long, and is kind … beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Cor. 13). What an example of the persevering love of God was Jeremiah!
(c) Firm faithfulness, though his sensitive nature shrank from pronouncing the fearful retribution of God upon the people, yet he stedfastly continued with heroic faithfulness right to the end. Faithful to God and His people, though they were adamant in refusing God’s message through His servant. Read Jeremiah Chap. 42 through 44.
The Prophet’s Message:
This was one of emphasis, solemnity and tragedy, revealing that all of Judah’s deterioration and disaster was fundamentally caused by the nation disregarding and disobeying GOD.
(a) Three specific cases: First it is seen in the spiritual breakdown of the men who were the leaders of the nation (Jer. 2:8). Second, the result then produced in the whole nation, a condition of wickedness and bitterness (Jer. 2:19). The last is the complete blindness of the people to sin. Sin ceases to be recognized as such and Innocence is professed in the midst of moral defilement (Jer. 2:35). Is there not a similar moral blindness pervading the world today? When moral declension sets in, the momentum increases rapidly and the wrong that is indulged in by leaders of the nation will become the fashion of the people.
(b) Three tragic actions: First, King Jehoiakim himself burns the message from God (Jer. Chap. 35). Second, the princes of Judah cast God’s servant into a dungeon (Jer. Chap. 38). Third, the whole nation becomes deaf to all the words of God spoken by Jeremiah (Jer. Chap. 37:2). Nations and people who dishonor God by denying Him, if unrepentant, will degenerate into defying Him. The same tragedy is being enacted today before our eyes.
(c) Judah’s lamentable condition was definitely the result of the people’s apostasy from the true God. “They have forsaken Me the fountain of living water” (Jer. 2:13; 17:3). So today, the basic foundation of national and international problems is explained in three words, God is Forgotten. Politicians flounder over secondary causes, discussing Policy and never seeking to Forsake Sin! (Prov. 13:34). The world’s history, as written by men, has never been accurate and will not be because God is left out of the Record. The ultimate result of this is stated in Psalm 9:17. Nevertheless, God’s voice still speaks to us today.
God’s Voice in Days of National Peril
He is heard speaking in three specific directions: (a) To the Wise of earth, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom.” (b) To the Powerful of earth, “Let not the mighty man glory in his might.” (c) To the Wealthy of earth, “Let not the rich man glory in his riches.”
The three greatest possessions that men esteem and proudly boast in are completely discounted by God: earthly wisdom, earthly power and earthly wealth. Yet the whole world of mankind outside of Christ is basing the solution of their problems upon these three things which can but fail.
Study carefully the contrast of man’s wisdom with God’s wisdom as recorded by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 1:19 through 1 Cor. 2:16). “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” It may seem a strange forecast, hut according to the Word of God the wisdom of this world will some day collapse in Utter Failure.
Examine the fourth chapter of Daniel and read how God brought down from his pinnacle of power and boasting the greatest of all Gentile Kings, Nebuchednezzar. Poor puny man, building up an empire of power which will be broken “with a rod of iron” and dashed “in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” See Psalm 2. Daniel 2:29 through 35.
Read the parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12:16-21 and realize the uncertainty of riches for all men (1 Tim. 6:17). Also read James 5:1-5 and see the coming day of judgment upon the economic structure of the nations. Read the 18th of Revelation to know the inevitable judgment of God upon godless commercialism in the last days. “For in one hour so great riches is come to nought” (Rev. 18:17). The glory of human wisdom, power and wealth will be brought to Nothing in that day (Rev. 6:12-17).
True Wisdom, Power and Wealth (Jer. 9:24).
What is it?
(a) “He understandeth and knoweth Me,” saith the Lord. A true
knowldege of God is the noblest aim of human understanding. How much He longs to be known by His creature! May you and I make this our pursuit, beloved of the Lord.
(b) The divine exercise of “loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness, in the earth.” The manifestation of godly and moral virtues are directed toward mankind. How much “loving-kindness” exists today? Where is “judgment” or “justice” administered with equality for God’s glory? And “righteousness?” The wise man wrote, “Righteousness exalteth a nation” (Prov. 13:34), but lawlessness prevails everywhere, foreshadowing the coming appearance of one who is called in Holy Scripture “The Lawless One” (2 Thess. 2:8, JND Trans.). Read Revelation 13.
(c) Christ is the true wisdom, power and wealth, for us who hear God’s voice and come unto Him in the obedience of faith through Christ His Son, we read that “Christ … is made unto us wisdom, and righteoussness, and sanctification, and redemption, that, according as it is written — He that Glorieth, Let Him Glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30, 31).
“O mind divine, so must it be
That glory all belongs to God:
O love divine, that did decree
We should be part, through Jesus’ blood!
“O keep us, love divine near THEE,
That we our nothingness may now,
And ever to the Thy Glory be
Walking in faith while here below.”