“Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us.” – Jeremiah 4:6-8
In Jeremiah chapter 3, God warns continually that judgment for sin, wickedness, idolatry, and abominations or coming. Yet does He also continually offer mercy, telling them that if they will but repent, that he will be able to stay the judgment.
Scripture is clear that God takes no pleasure in suffering or in the death of the wicked. It is also made abundantly clear that He rather delights in mercy. Yet again, however do we read in scripture that because He is patient with us because that it is not His will that any should perish so that He gives us much space for repentance; that because of this delay between sin and the judgment for it is man’s heart often made more lax toward, and determine to, sin and wickedness. They loose their fear of consequences and gain more confidence in their foolishness.
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” – Ecclesiastes 8:11
Therefore, does there come a point at which God is forced to step back and let men learn their lesson. Lest He be unjust in His judgments; which He cannot be. Therefore, though He warned so clearly in chapter 3, was His mercy’s not heeded causing chapter 4 to bring a decree of sure judgment.
Sadly, I feel that this is where we are as a nation and a people. God has been so merciful. He has warned so clearly. He has offered extensions and space for return and repentance, but just like ancient Israel, the church as a whole has not changed their direction. They have put their trust in everything but Him. Therefore is the window closing.
He said in quietness and rest (in other words, in the prayer closet) would we find salvation (Isaiah 30:15). He said if we humbled, prayed, and repented (2 Chronicles 7:14) we would be saved from the judgment that is coming, but we wouldn’t. We trusted more in politicians than in evangelism. We trusted more in courts than in His words. We stopped feeding the lambs to organize movements of man built on sweat, ideas, ambitions, and good intentions that will amount to nothing and cannot save us! We traded agonizing in prayer And intercession for organizing in committee meetings. We traded the anointing (which comes from time spent with Jesus being stripped of self) for appointments with men and ministries who agree with us and our agendas. We trade prayer and fasting for Conferences and performances. Many have danced before the masses, but how many have danced alone at home with Jesus? Many have called for conferences before men to petition heaven to change it’s position, but how many have cried out in repentance unseen in their prayer closet that they might change theirs and get into alignment with heaven? Many have praise God in front of cameras with their lips, but where is their heart when no one is looking? What does their life and agreements say about where their faith is? The sad truth is this, that the many want God to change everything…. but them.
Only repentance can change a nation and save it from judgment. Stop all the organizing, plotting, and planning! Your window has been wasted! Why weren’t you preaching? Why weren’t you praying? Why weren’t you fasting and gather men to do that which God commanded? Why were you chasing distractions? Now will it come and not be undone.
Chapter 4 tells of war, invasion, starvations, destruction, a nation facing the judgment that it chose by refusing to trust the only one who could save them from it. Because that they trusted in themselves, in men, in the tools of Egypt, and in the false prophets of it. It’s not what God wanted, it’s what the people chose. The things they put their faith in was given to them as their covering, and it failed them severely in what was coming. Yet in this, did a remnant among them learn with clarity and reverence that only God can save, and that it can only be done His way.
Preach the gospel and trust in Jesus. Everything else that men trust in will be shaken and taken away from them but the word of God is a sure foundation. It will stand when everything else is falling. It will not return void. It will accomplish it’s mission. Safe, wise, blessed, sure, stable, secure, covered, and firmly planted is the one who puts their trust in it. For all else, they will weep and wail when they see how frail the things they have trusted in for strength real are.
“Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us.” – Jeremiah 4:5-8
“Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” – Jeremiah 4:13-14
“Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart. My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.” – Jeremiah 4:18-19
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” – 2 Peter 3:9-10