Repentance looks good on you (and me) – a lesson from Isaiah & Jermiah

by | Mar 25, 2021 | blogging, Confession - Repentance

As I’m grunting out the minutes at the gym each morning, I’ve been listening to the Bible via my YouVersion Bible app (if you don’t use it, it’s worth the download… and free). It’s been a while since I spent time in the Major Prophets, so that’s where I began.

Isaiah. Jeremiah. Those guys had a tough job.

They were told to express God’s displeasure about His people, TO His people, and to let them know that Divine judgment was coming as a result of their disobedience.

You tell me, how does it usually go for YOU when you have to point out somebody’s wrong to them?

And what if you ALSO had to tell them that a God-sized judgement was coming theirway as a result?

Carrying out the role of a prophet in that context would be about as pleasant as taking a morning stroll through a mine field.

None of us would like it and none of us would want to do it.

But those Old Testament prophet guys did it anyway. And don’t let yourself sanitize it because they are characters in the Bible. It was tough for them, too.

Jeremiah makes it pretty clear why he did it…

As I’m grunting out the minutes at the gym each morning, I’ve been listening to the Bible via my YouVersion Bible app (if you don’t use it, it’s worth the download… and free). It’s been a while since I spent time in the Major Prophets, so that’s where I began.

Isaiah. Jeremiah. Those guys had a tough job.

They were told to express God’s displeasure about His people, TO His people, and to let them know that Divine judgment was coming as a result of their disobedience.

You tell me, how does it usually go for YOU when you have to point out somebody’s wrong to them?

And what if you ALSO had to tell them the God-hammer was coming down as a result?

It would be about as pleasant as taking a morning stroll through a mine field.

None of us would like it and none of us would want to do it.

But those Old Testament prophet guys did it anyway. And don’t let yourself sanitize it because they are characters in the Bible. It was tough for them, too.

Jeremiah makes it pretty clear why he did it…

If I say, “I will not mention Him, or speak any more in His name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

Jeremiah 20:9

Prophet of God Most High

There were at least moments when Jeremiah didn’t want to experience the personal grief that would come from speaking such an unpopular message to his neighbors, rulers, and the religious leader types of his day.

Like you and me, he knew how it would go down when spiritully blind and puffed-up people were confronted about their blindness and puffed-up-ness.

But the LORD wouldn’t let him keep his mouth shut.

I don’t personally know what it would be like to have a Divinely ignited fire burning inside me because I’m resisting saying what God gave me to say, but it doesn’t sound like any kind of fun. Jeremiah clearly didn’t think so.

What Jeremiah’s attitude teaches me…

  • When God gives you marching orders, march.
  • Refuse to focus on the potential consequences of doing so.
  • Trust Him with every step (or syllable).

 

Continuing to listen to the scriptures each morning, I’ve noticed something else those faithful old brothers are saying (to us, as they did to their original audience).

Isaiah and Jeremiah were beating the SAME drum, over and over and over. And the drum played a consistent rhythm…

God’s people have rebelled against Him and God warns them to turn back to Him.

If they humbly turn back to Him, He will restore them.

If they do not, He will judge them (through military invasions, destruction, and captivity).

Recognizing those things, I have to ask the pertinent questions…

 

Have God’s people today rebelled against Him?

 

I’m not one of those “Turn America back to God” guys. So this section is not about that.

I’m one of those, “Turn God’s people wherever they may live, whatever color they may be, whatever background they may have, back to God” guys.

We Christ-followers are a holy nation of people who belong to to God (1 Peter 2:9), a people made by Jesus to be His kingdom and priests within that kingdom (Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10).

That identification spans borders and trumps governments. So I’m looking across the globe as I ask the question…

Are believers in need of turning back to God?

The answer is self-evident.

Jesus called us to be lights in the dark world (Matthew 5:14). But the world keeps getting darker. That can only mean one thing… our lights are dim. The cultural quagmire we find ourselves in demonstrates that the church (God’s people) is having little to no impact on the OVERALL course society takes.

The only way to turn our tiny LEDs into a Hollywood-premier-style spotlights is to get closer to Jesus. HE is the true light that came into the world (John 1:9) and His word promises us that the darkness has not and cannot overcome it (John 1:5).

 

MY PRAYER OF LATE has been for an overwhelming move of the Holy Spirit among God’s people.

 

Call it a good old-fashioned “revival” or another “great awakening” if that helps you envision what I have in mind. It’s something we need. Get that, we NEED it.

It’s something the world needs, too.

Enough dalliance with the enemy’s diversions. Enough compromise cloaked in “cultural relevance” clothes.

The world of hell-bound people we rub shoulders with don’t need us to be relevant, they need us to be different. Add your favorite Christianese descriptor here – transformed, changed, made new, separate, holy.

Jesus is looking for godly men and women, filled with the Holy Spirit and gripped by the reality of the Kingdom of God.

Will you be one?

Only by the gracious touch of the Holy Spirit of God. May it be so. Make it your constant prayer.

Prayer Response

Would you join me in this prayer?

Jesus, as Your people we are often well-intentioned but sadly misguided. We accommodate things we shouldn’t and get drawn into the same “fit in” mentality of the world. Stir up a new vision in us, a Kingdom-sized view that empowers us to see everything in this life in light of the eternal realities You reveal to us in the scriptures.

Make our hearts new by breaking us of the long-held sin habits and worldly thinking that has characterized Your church for far too long. Bring a thorough and deep repentance that is godly, not aimed at elevating us but at lifting You high for the world to see. Give us eyes and hearts to see You at work and the faith-filled courage to join You in that work, no matter the cost.

Start a move of Your Spirit among Your people. Overwhelm us with His person, presence, and power so that we cannot continue life as we normally would. Make Your agenda ours. Begin all of this with me, even as I read (type) these words. Break down every prideful resistance that has a hold on me. Make me one of those who call You Lord and live as if You are.

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