“But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted,
following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward….The land will lie in complete desolation.
Jeremiah 7:24, 34b (NLT)
In 1942 the British Empire commissioned a submarine, naming her “Stubborn”. The boat had a less-than-distinguished
career, at one point having to be towed back to harbor. But, she stubbornly persevered and lasted the
length of the war.
Ultimately the HMS Stubborn was used for target practice and sunk
off Malta in April 1946; something
of an ignominious end for a fighting vessel, the Stubborn was scuttled.
Jeremiah has been called the weeping prophet, mainly because he
hardly had any “good news” to share.
Every time he opened his mouth, it was time to cry over what came out. God’s stubborn people have often felt judgment’s
sting of being scuttled.
In this prophecy Jeremiah is drawing a parallel between ancient
Israel when Moses first led the children out of Egypt, and his Israel. The ancients were constantly complaining
about everything, including the menu.
God provided manna; they wanted meat.
God provided protection; they wanted a king. You couldn’t please this stubborn people.
Jeremiah’s prophecy brought together the ancient result of
stubbornness (lack of faith, going backward instead of forward), with his day…a
day of open and flagrant distrust of God’s ways. Jeremiah’s prophecy was of how Israel would
be conquered, destroyed and lay desolate.
Not a pretty picture!
It’s really difficult to refrain from drawing parallels between
the United States and Israel. Our
foundations are so similar, born out of a quest for freedom and faith, as well
as being world leaders – we share faith in the same God (while differing on the
identity of Messiah).
We are not Israel, but we share the same stubbornness. As Israel of old, America is on a downward
slide in the faith-in-God department.
As Jeremiah noted that in his day, parents were literally killing their
children as offerings to false gods; the US continually leads the way aborting
An obscene observation!
Allow me to use Jeremiah’s weeping voice at this point: How long can this continue before the
judgment of the weeping prophet falls on this unsuspecting nation for killing
the unborn and for other sins of the flesh?
We have sowed to the wind and are courting a harvest of whirlwind.
Another Old Testament lesson can offer some hope for America (and
all humankind), Esther.
If you recall, the ancient Jews were in real trouble. Xerxes was the Persian king whose empire
extended from India to Ethiopia, including Jerusalem. Esther was a Jew but became Xerxes’ queen
because she was very beautiful and he fell in love with her.
Jealous officials tricked the king into signing an edict that
would have wiped the Jews off the face of the earth. But Esther’s uncle Mordecai convinced the
queen to intercede. He said to her:
If you keep quiet
at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some
other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were
made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NLT)
Esther spoke up, and the Jews were saved. God intervened because Mordecai’s faith
provoked Esther’s action.
This is always the hope of a nation. Christians must speak up for righteousness’
sake, standing in faith that God has placed us where he needs us for just such
a time as this.
For You Today
Not everyone is called to be a prophet, but all are called to
proclaim the truth.
Speak the truth of holiness today.
Go forward, not backward.