I’ve been reading Jeremiah in my devotional times lately. Talk about a book that will keep you up at night (or make you suicidal). . . .
Basically, God’s people have screwed up again and God has had enough. They’ve been prostituting themselves to other gods by worshiping idols, acting unjustly to others, ignoring Yahweh except when they want something from him, going through the motions of worship in hopes of gaining his favor without having to really commit to him. The usual stuff people do when they turn their backs on God. (The word “backsliding” occurs several times in the book).
So, God sends Jeremiah to let the people know what’s coming. He wants them to think about the hammer that’s about to fall on them. He wants them to sweat it out. He wants them to be afraid. . . be very afraid. (Yes, there are elements of grace in the book; but for the most part God is just cutting loose on the people).
The passage that got me today was Jeremiah 16:4. Talking about those who will soon be judged, God says, “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.”
Wow! “Like dung lying on the ground.”
That’s kinda vivid!
I think church is probably one of the few places that you can still hear the word dung. It’s less offensive than other words we could use. And by all means, we certainly don’t want to offend any nice church-going people.
Or do we?
I think that’s EXACTLY what God was trying to do! He wanted to offend people!
I know it’s really fashionable to talk about how loved by God we are (and we are). I know it’s more fun to talk about how God wants us to succeed and be happy and drive nice cars and live in big houses and wear nice clothes and eat at the best restaurants.
But I think we also have to–at least occasionally–talk about how God also wants our obedience. He wants us to give him our lives, our hearts. Without question. Completely. After all, he is the one who created us. We belong to him.
And when we don’t give to God what is really God’s, he gets ticked. When we church people prostitute ourselves to false gods, go through the motions of worship without really meaning it, act unjustly toward others, and generally just live a life of sin, God gets ticked.
And when God gets ticked, you and I could end up like **** on the ground.