Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.”
Like Jeremiah, I am full of the wrath of the Lord — I am weary of holding it in (Jeremiah 6:11). To whom will I speak and give warning, that they may hear? The ears of my audience are closed (literally, uncircumcised) and they are unable to listen. The word of the Lord has become contemptible to them; they neither hear it nor bend to it (Jeremiah 6:10).
What is the warning I would speak so they may hear? It is like the warning you would give to your beloved grown daughter if you knew she was making a wrong turn in life, a turn that could be devastating to her. You’d try to keep her from making a terrible mistake.
But if she was rebellious throughout her childhood (like I was), she might shut her ears to every word you say — as if there were a membrane covering them, keeping her from hearing even the sound of your words. This membrane grew thicker after each warning. Now she can’t hear you at all.
She might defiantly cry, “I love my life,” even though you can see that she faces potential violence and even death. It might even be that she finds your words to be contemptible. “That’s just Mom again. What does she know?” She might not bend to your good and loving advice. How would you react? Would you be indignant? Would you even be angry, because you know what will happen if she continues in her “wrong turn?”
What makes your daughter continue on the wrong path, despite your warnings? Is it outright rebellion, or is there more to it? Has your daughter has been listening to other people who encourage her to continue down the wrong road after that wrong turn? Maybe she was given some book somewhere that said, “If it feels good, do it,” or “You go your way and I’ll go my way and we’re both OK, no matter what.” Maybe she had a teacher along the way who said, “What’s relevant to you might not be relevant to me. What’s truth to you might not be truth to me. You keep your truth and I’ll keep mine.” You are furious, because you know your daughter is in danger!
But the wrong path she’s on is broad, after all. There are many others for her to confer with on the way. They’re all headed in the same direction. So they confirm her, saying “How cool is this path!” or “Look at all the people who are going with us! What we’re doing is good, because otherwise there wouldn’t be a bunch of people here that think just like us!” But you know that though many enter through this broad path, it leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). You know there is a way that seems right to a man (or woman), but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25). There’s a narrow path off to the side, but everyone on the broad path thinks it looks pretty uninteresting. Besides, look how few are on it! It must not be the right path.
Maybe your daughter went to Sunday school as a kid, so she’d learn about Jesus. Now you’re trying to figure out how she could possibly be taking this very wrong path. You did the best you could, you think, to bring her up right. Maybe her home life was very good, with loving parents and nothing to turn her off the straight-and-narrow. How on earth did she get into the mess she’s in? But maybe her teachers said, “Peace, peace” when there was no peace. There’s lots of false teachers of the Bible who say, “God has no problem with you — it’s just your mother being a mother. He loves you even if you ignore or disobey Him.” Or they might have said, “It’s OK to worship other things besides God. I do, and look how blessed I am! See, that’s proof that God doesn’t mind.” How would you feel about a teacher that misled your daughter that way, telling her things that were pleasing to her ears but not pleasing to you because you knew their advice was wrong?
Well, now that I have your attention, how do you think God feels? He wants to keep you from falling into sin, into error, into the dark pit that has no exit. The Holy Spirit continually cries, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or to the left (Isaiah 30:21). He is indignant that you’re not listening. He’s downright angry with you.
Like the people of Judah to whom Jeremiah spoke the word of the Lord, you have been rebellious since you were a child (like I was). God’s words through those He sent to you became more and more muffled as your ears became uncircumcised and that membrane grew thicker and thicker. Now you are unable to hear God’s voice at all, through those whom He has sent to you.
You cry defiantly, “I love my life,” and Jesus says, “Then you will lose it” (John 12:25). He does not say this to be cruel, but to turn you back to the path that leads to eternal life. If you will do as He says and put your selfishness and self-centeredness on a cross so those things die, you will live life as God has it. What you’re living now will lead to your destruction. He loves you so much He speaks these shocking words to you.
You have listened to false teachers who tell you that you are free to be whatever you want to be, and to do whatever you want to do. You liked what they said. You enjoyed what you were doing, even though God warned you that it was going to destroy you. It felt good, so you did it, and there were many others doing the same thing. So it must be good, right? Besides, you think, God doesn’t mind if I disobey Him a little bit. It’s not like I’m murdering anyone, you think. The voices of your false teachers echo in your memory, “Peace, peace!” Meanwhile, God is furious, and so are those He sends to you! The gates of hell open wide to receive you. A voice calls out the very words of God to you. But you are set on what you are doing. Dead set.
It wasn’t like Judah didn’t know her God, when Jeremiah was preaching. It isn’t like you don’t know your God, even if you never went to Sunday school. He has made Himself evident to you as you looked at His creation. People who know Him have “crossed your path.” They have spoken the truth about God and Jesus Christ. But what the false teachers said was much more appealing. So, you continue satisfying your own desires. There are no consequences or judgment, you think. And God is angry with you, not because He hates you but because He loves you and knows exactly where you’re headed. Destruction. Judgment. A lake of fire that burns eternally.
O church, O world, I’m not your mother. I’m not God. But He has given me a word for you. Turn! Stop believing false teachers who say, “Peace, peace.” Ask the Lord to forgive you. Ask Him to empower you to live for Him. He’ll jump at the chance to give you His power by filling you with the Holy Spirit. Then you will be at peace with God. His is a lasting peace. Don’t reject the gift that God has given you by sacrificing His Son Jesus Christ on the cross for you, in the most horrible death imaginable. Jesus poured His life out for you so He could pour His life and love into you. Don’t be a fool (like I was for 45 years) — repent. The gift of Jesus Christ is a gift that keeps on giving. And you’ll become a gift to those who still have ears to hear.