HOW JEREMIAH SPOKE GOOD TO ISRAEL
By Stephen Powell
“Shall evil be repaid for good? For they have dug a pit for my life. Remember that I stood before You to speak good for them, to turn away Your wrath from them.”
I love meditating on the ministry of God’s precious servant, Jeremiah the Prophet. What a wonderful man of God. He is known as the weeping prophet. He delivered some of the most severe and harsh words to a people in recorded history, yet He wrote an entire book called “Lamentations”. He was completely broken in his heart over the state of Israel and over the judgment they were bringing down on themselves because of their sin and disobedience. When reading such prophets, we must remember that when they wept it was the tears of God because they bore the heart of God. When they pronounced judgment, their judgment was righteous and true, because it was not their own. It was God’s. Prophets like Jeremiah carried a completely pure record from heaven to the people of earth. That is why it ended up in this canon of scripture, which God has vindicated over and over again. It is his canon that He stands by and holds people accountable to. Consider these things as we look at the passage cited above.
Jeremiah asks the Lord to remember, saying, “Remember that I stood before you to speak good for them (Israel), to turn away your wrath from them”. This is a very important scripture because it contains the heartbeat of Jeremiah’s ministry throughout, which remained steadfastly the heartbeat of God in his portion of the holy canon. God sent such prophets to speak good and to turn away wrath from the people. Let’s look at some of these “good words” that He spoke to this people to turn away wrath from them; words that eventually got him exiled to Egypt and made him a despised man of his day.
2 ““Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness.
3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; You refuse to be ashamed.
7 “How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me and sworn by those that are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.
8 They were like well-fed lusty stallions; every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife.
9 Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the LORD. “And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?”
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place—on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.”
““I will surely consume them,” says the LORD. “No grapes shall be on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things I have given them shall pass away from them.” ’ ”
““For behold, I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you,” says the LORD.
“And I will appoint over them four forms of destruction,” says the LORD: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.
These are but a few examples of some of the “good” words that God spoke through his servant to “turn away wrath” from the people. The Lord told them they had hard the harlot’s forehead because they refused to be ashamed or remorseful about their spiritual sluttery. The Lord called them “well-fed lusty stallions” that were going after every man’s wife. The Lord promised to punish them, withhold fruitfulness, pour out his fury and anger against them, and consume them. He promised to send vipers among them to bite them, vipers that could not be charmed. He promised to destroy them with swords, dogs, birds, and beasts. These were “good words” spoken to help them, to save them, to deliver them from their sin and rebellion. Why aren’t these words being spoken today by those who claim to champion the message of God’s goodness?
Now before you’re tempted to think, “Well Stephen, Jeremiah was an old covenant prophet and that’s not how God talks anymore because we’re no longer under the law but under grace”, consider these scriptures:
8 “But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.
9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?
11 “And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”
18 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
These are also but a few examples out of many, expressing the same prophetic and apostolic voice which is consistent throughout all of scripture. It’s the prophetic and apostolic voice of Jesus by the spirit of prophecy. It is the voice of God to speak good which is designed to turn away wrath that much surely come on those who walk in rebellion against God. Paul, the great apostle of grace, spoke with the same prophetic voice that Jeremiah and all the prophets of old did. His speech and his actions were firmly rooted in the “new covenant era”. God, as He spoke through the prophets of old, did not mince words when dealing with Simon the Sorcerer, who was withstanding the ministry the Lord’s life-giving gospel going forth at that time. It was clearly the “hand of God” upon Simon to blind him, not the Devil’s hand. It was clearly the “Holy Spirit” upon Paul, the great apostle of grace, which inspired him to pronounce such a judgment. It was not an evil spirit causing Saul to slide back into an old covenant prophet rut. Such a proposal makes me very saddened. To think that we could be making such a grievous error today in the prophetic movement boggles the mind, especially when we have such clear articulate scripture which forms the never-changing apostolic and prophetic voice of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. Lord Jesus help us!
John the Revelator, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, using the same prophetic voice that Jeremiah used, spoke a bone chilling warning against people that would pervert the pure doctrines of Christ contained in such scripture. This was the same prophetic voice uttered by the spirit of prophecy which is the testimony of Jesus contained all throughout the scripture. That’s why the scripture is called the Word. Jesus embodies this Word. This Word of scripture, old testament and new, is his faithful witness and testimony to mankind concerning his plan of redemption and his promise concerning the end. Heed it with all fear. Take heed lest you pervert such a beautiful holy thing.
This is a part of the “Goodness of God” today that we do not understand. In fact we war against it, scold and persecute those prophets who embody this voice today: a voice of goodness designed to turn away wrath from peoples and nations who have justly incurred God’s judgment and wrath by these nation’s sins and rebellion against God. As Jonah was used to pronounce judgment (which according to scripture is a good word if it comes from the Lord), and was able to turn away wrath from the people of Nineveh, during a time a certain imminent destruction, so is God raising up chosen vessels today to do the same. So I implore you, dear reader, study the scripture and see the choice “good words” that God used to turn away such wrath; to save nations and deliver peoples. You won’t find caressing seeker-friendly prophecies that do not warn of the wages of sin being death. You will find the prophetic voice of God being spoken in love and actuality, giving a truthful witness of what is to come for all those who trod underfoot the precious blood of Jesus and consider not the spirit of grace which we’ve been given. Receive the good words of such weeping prophets today, like Jeremiah of old, who have been fashioned in the model of Jesus the Prophet. Receive these words and let’s see whole nations turn from sin, unto the Living God. It’s a belief I hold in my heart which I believe I will see before my time here is done! Let’s receive the vessels that God’s sending today just as He has faithfully always done from the founding of time.
In His Service,