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Jeremiah 42:10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you. KJV
The Prophet Who Decided to Stay
In the text, Israel’s sins of indifference towards God had resulted in the judgment of God coming against her; resulting in Israel being sent into captivity and the tyranny of King Nebuchadnezzar and the sinful influences of the Babylonian kingdom. This judgment from God came about because the Jewish leaders had begun to think more of themselves than they ought. In time, Israel’s religious leader’s manufactured policies and procedures had overruled the laws of God. In obeying man rather than God, God’s people marginalize the will of God and reduce his word to mere suggestive options to be adhered to or rejected according to their selfish preferences. These leaders having gained for themselves worldly merchandise and the acclaim of men, had in the process lost their souls; trading them for this world’s goods. It must be understood that these leaders were not alone in this folly because the people were not totally innocent in this account. When they should have raised considerable objections, they stood still as stones while their religious leaders, abusing the privileges of their office, reduced the once illustrious glory of Israel to a mere laughing stock of their heathen neighbors. We have come to understand that whenever you make men greater than they really are, we then simultaneously make God less than He really is. They continued to go through the motions of religious practices and ceremonial duties but the spirit of God was noticeably absent. Without the presence of God in the midst, they were now susceptible to the attacks of their enemies. Consequently, their enemies came upon them and carried them off into bondage and humiliation.
The once holy and productive nation of Israel now found themselves a mere shadow of their former state – and even those which remained were in reality still not standing together. This was a truly miserable and unhappy state for the citizens of Israel. So much so that many Jews decided to leave their homeland of Israel and voluntarily move to Babylon where at least they would have access to what they saw as a more pleasant standard of living. The prophet Jeremiah had considered making this move to Babylon himself; but was convicted and convinced by the spirit of God not to evacuate Israel’s homeland but stay and watch God renovate that which was in disrepair. We cannot avoid the troubles of life and the penalties of our sins simply by changing our physical location. The words of the prophet were clear and precise – the people need not depart from their place looking for something they hoped would be more pleasant and more pleasing. God had assured them that if they would stay He promised to “build” them and not bring them down. Likewise, by remaining God promised that he would “plant” them and not pluck them up. God’s nature is to love and therefore judgment is strange work for a God whose preferable nature is to bless and show mercy. God is ever ready to respond with mercy and forgiveness to any man that would repent of their wrong and acknowledge their transgressions. Because of their newly born obedience, this dutiful and devoted remnant of believers not only saw God greatly improve the conditions within their locality; but their obedience brought about the recovery of all the nation and of all that had been lost in their previous time of disobedience.
Brethren, like the word set into these scriptures, I too strongly believe that our church’s season of replenishing is upon us. The prayers of the righteous have prevailed and the enemy is withdrawing his invading infernal hoard from the hallowed ground of the church. With the enemy’s departure comes a new and welcomed freedom. This freedom comes with a divinely directed reordering of his people. All of this is occurring not because of those who have and will abandoned the church but because of those who by God’s grace remained and prayed for day. Jesus said that “the promise of the Father is upon us” and I can feel the dawning of a new day – this is not the time to evacuate, it is now the time to get ready to renovate! Prepare yourself for behold God is about to do a new thing! #Leadershift2018
Bishop Rex Waddell