…If you do not, my anger will leap out
like a flaming fire against you
that no one will be able to put out.
That will happen because of the evil
you have done. Jeremiah 4:4
God speaks powerfully through His Prophet, Jeremiah, to His people who are once again under the rule of another. In His effort to restore the relationship between He and His people, He must go over the offenses, and remind them of the boundaries and ramifications that come along with breaking the covenant agreement.
I found verse 4 an issue because God is speaking, and my fear is that the people both now and then were not listening. As we soak in God’s love, perfume ourselves with His grace, and cloth ourselves with His mercy, we are blind to His wrath, and destined to experience more of it. God warns the people, it can be the best of times, or the worst of times. They can align with His Word, or stand in disobedience to it.
We memorize all the scriptures with blessings and promises, and ignore the warning and instruction. God says, “Dedicate yourselves fully to the Lord…” God desires for us to be fully dedicated, not partially dedicated. The people ended up in their current circumstances because they had spiritual affairs on God. They worshiped false idols and desecrated His temple by giving the living God a non-living roommate. They sacrificed on His altar, offering that which was intended for the Lord to a false god. They could not advance or prosper because they were not fully committed to the Lord.
Of course I gasped. As I look at our current state, I see us suffering and blaming the adversary, binding the work of the devil while the Lord holds back the angels and the hedge placed around us, exposing us and leaving us vulnerable to the enemy. God was using them to chastise His people in an effort to direct them back into a right relationship with Him, and they adjusted to their new normal, remained in error, and abandoned their pursuit for righteousness. We don’t have to remain in our current state! We can restore to us what has been taken by dedicating ourselves fully to the Lord.
God says this, “…get rid of everything that hinders you from being committed to me.” So I ask you:
What is hindering you?
What bothered me about this statement is that often the things we see as aids are hindrances. There are things we consider blessings that are weights in the pool of faith. As we swim from shore to shore, the cares of this world weight us down in such a manner that we find ourselves struggling to get closer to Him.
Which bring us to the end of the verse, “If you do not…” God warns them there will be a price for not removing the hindrances and fully dedicating themselves to the Lord, that price will be God’s anger.
God warns, “…my anger will leap out like a flaming fire against you…” God gives us the visual of his anger being like a flaming fire. It’s the language of leap out that grabs the immediate attention.
Much like 3 Hebrew boys, God’s anger can rage so hot that it leaps out and consumes all in it path. God says a refusal to honor our covenant will place the people whom God has placed His name on in the position of enemy. Worse, the fire of God is not an out of control and random fire, its a hot and focused fire which has a focal point. Lord forbid we be the point of His Anger.
It seems today we like to play chicken with the Lord! The game chicken we played as children seems to be the lifestyle of many believers.
In this game, two people take a challenge that has the potential to harm both participants, and measures how far each will go before either harming each other or yields. The aim is to get the other to flinch first. thus showing fearlessness and moxie.
We hear the word, read the word, know the word, but refuse to acknowledge a portion of its promises. Just as much as the Bible gives promises of blessings, it gives promises of action towards those who refuse to be obedient. God sends Prophets to us to correct us, but we stop up our ears, and dare the Divine to visit us. Its as though we believe we can wave His Word in His Face, and use His promise of blessing to nullify the warning through the same Word!
Stop Playing Chicken with God!
In the past, the Israelites benefited from the help from others, but God warns them. No matter the marriages and or the connections they have made with those who are not in relationship with the Lord, “…that no one will be able to put out.” Everyone can grab a bucket and a hose, and focus all their resources on putting out the inferno God has sent your way. We can collectively sacrifice all our resources and find ourselves bearing witness as you are reduced to ash and dust. Why play chicken with the Lord.
I know what you are thinking; how cruel! Nah, God concludes “That will happen because of the evil you have done.” Having a merciful God does not mean He is not just and that we do not pay for our actions. God says it is imperative that we assess our relationship with Him and look to restore and repair it before He is forced to take action. He will do this to protect His name, and to display His conviction about righteousness for His creation.