In my book, “Their After Life,” I present a fictional scenario for the fall of America, the end of time foretold in the Book of Revelation. How can God’s people become so callous that they cannot be brought back by conviction, or return in want as the prodigal son? Are we coming once again to a time of divine intervention? There are warning signs that we can glean from the account of the Israelites as documented in the Book of Jeremiah.
A nation is about to be invaded and destroyed. The prophet gives warning, and explanation. Firstly, their leaders failed them.
Jer 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
Commentary by Matthew Henry:
“(Jer_10:21): The pastors have become brutish. When the tents, the shepherds' tents, were spoiled (Jer_10:20), it concerned the shepherds to look after them; but they were foolish shepherds. Their kings and princes had no regard at all for the public welfare, seemed to have no sense of the desolations of the land, but were quite besotted and infatuated. The priests, the pastors of God's tabernacle, did a great deal towards the ruin of religion, but nothing towards the repair of it. They are brutish indeed, for they have not sought the Lord; they have neither made their peace with him nor their prayer to him; they had no eye to him and his providence, in their management of affairs; they neither acknowledged the judgment, nor expected the deliverance, to come from his hand. Note, Those are brutish people that do not seek the Lord, that live without prayer, and live without God in the world. Every man is either a saint or a brute. But it is sad indeed with a people when their pastors, that should feed them with knowledge and understanding, are themselves thus brutish. And what comes of it? Therefore they shall not prosper; none of their attempts for the public safety shall succeed. Note, Those cannot expect to prosper who do not by faith and prayer take God along with them in all their ways. And, when the pastors are brutish, what else can be expected but that all their flocks should be scattered? For, if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch. The ruin of a people is often owing to the brutishness of their pastors.”
Their leaders did not exemplify and promote trust in God, exercised in faith. Instead, the congregations of men became self reliant and prideful.
Jer 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Commentary by Matthew Henry:
“The prophet here acknowledges the sovereignty and dominion of the divine Providence, that by it, and not by their own will and wisdom, the affairs both of nations and particular persons are directed and determined, Jer_10:23. This is an article of our faith which it is very proper for us to make confession of at the throne of grace when we are complaining of an affliction or suing for a mercy: “O Lord, I know, and believe, that the way of man is not in himself; Nebuchadnezzar did not come of himself against our land, but by the direction of a divine Providence.” We cannot of ourselves do anything for our own relief, unless God work with us and command deliverance for us; for it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps, though he seem in his walking to be perfectly at liberty and to choose his own way. Those that had promised themselves a long enjoyment of their estates and possessions were made to know, by sad experience when they were thrown out by the Chaldeans, that the way of man is not in himself; he designs which men lay deep, and think well-formed, are dashed to pieces in a moment. We must all apply this to ourselves, and mix faith with it, that we are not at our own disposal, but under a divine direction; the event is often overruled so as to be quite contrary to our intention and expectation. We are not masters of our own way, nor can we think that everything should be according to our mind; we must therefore refer ourselves to God and acquiesce in his will.”
When happy times roll with sufficiency and contentment, I find that I quickly turn my attention away from God. My efforts of prayer, Bible reading and meditation, are replaced with entertainment and the fulfillment of desire. I want more of the pleasures that the world has to offer. My attention is quickly diverted, often even before I realize the change of course.
But when a threat of illness, financial loss, or suffering for my family looms at the door, I quickly run back to Him, the God I need at that moment. Like a sniveling coward, I plead for mercy, hoping to avoid the pending loss and pain.
And now we live in a time when our spiritual leaders no longer teach Revelation, and overlook much of the Biblical text that has become contentious, established in varying religious dogma.
The sign that warns of the coming end time – here is a quote from my novel, “Their After Life.” It reads, “When the church stops proclaiming the truth,” he paused for affect, “then I’m afraid, my dear, that the end is near.”
A seminary student recently debated theologically that prayer does not move God, because the course of His actions are already established by omniscience, and in that sense predetermined. His discourse at a home church planted seeds of doubt.
Consider these Scriptures:
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. The Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.Our sufficiency is of God.
Lead us not into temptation.O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.My times are in thy hand.
Deut. 31:6,8; Josh. 1:9; Prov. 3:6; Heb. 13:5,6; II Cor. 3:5.; Matt. 6:13.; Jer. 10:23; Psa. 31:15.
During times of self-fulfillment, doubt always returns. Is God really involved in our lives?
Perhaps the motivation of the young pastor was to impress others and to establish his authority. But in the process, he misrepresented the Lord. It doesn’t matter that God already knows. He already knows that He will be persuaded by our prayers, that he will be joyful in blessing his children, rather than disciplining us, as we abide in His loving presence. Or that we won’t pray, and…
More relevant is an understanding that God is sovereign and has a plan for the greater good of His creation, unfolding according to His ordained time. This is Providence.
And the more important question for each of us is, “Am I following Jesus as a sincere disciple?”
If my recent life were to be reviewed, what do my priorities, my most consistent behaviors, indicate?
This I know, if He is to direct my steps, if He is to be my helper, than surely He is involved in my life. If He is to be my sufficiency, than I must be devoted to Him and His calling. Wow, just imagine… that we are part of His magnificent plan!
This is my confidence and the source of my courage. Will you join in this persuasion for His cause?
I have perplexed and stewed about the warning signs, as I see them present today. The invaders are at our doorstep even now. A natural disaster will open that door.
Many will be tested, and exposed, when the comforts of the lives we live are interrupted. Despite false assurances for living a worldly life, we must return to the Sovereign God of all creation, and we must do it now! He is our Redeemer!! Hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah.
Learn by example. “Their After Life,” is an easy reading novel that teaches greater truth.
"This book is meant to be shared." Tell your friends to visit UpdykeBooks.com.
Blessings! Alan Updyke
Write a comment
Melissa (Monday, 17 July 2017 09:20)
Loved this reading. Yes, it seems harder and harder to find truth; however, I am moved when I do hear it. In my experiences, I'm finding that many have received un-truths in their lives that has left them hurt, angry, and searching...a confirmatory sign.
As far as prayer, I like this verse. James 5:16: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Righteous being the key. To me, it means praying for God's will. Jesus prayed for His burden to me removed ( cup to be taken away) BUT ultimately that God's will be done.
Praying for His will in our lives rather than our own and pressing in to know His will and ultimate plan may just be the difference.