#DailyDevotions Pastors Preach Doom & Gloom
Jeremiah 285The prophet Jeremiah answered the prophet Hananiah before the priests and all the people standing in the LORD’s temple. 6“Yes, so be it!” the prophet Jeremiah said. “May the LORD do this! May the LORD carry out what you prophesied by bringing back the vessels of the LORD’s temple and all the exiles from Babylon to this place. 7But please listen to what I say for you and all the people to hear. 8Long ago prophets, who were before me and you, prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms about war, calamity, and the plague. 9But the prophet who prophesied about peace was recognized to be the prophet the LORD truly sent only if what the prophet said came true.”
Well the prophet Hananiah had just prophesied that everything was going to be hunky dory, happy happy joy joy. This was in response to the prophesies that Jeremiah had been proclaiming. Well this was practically unprecedented for the prophets of the LORD to do without having proclaimed a message of repentance first. Sure, occasionally Jeremiah would have a gospel word for the people of God but it was always in the midst of God’s wrath coming down upon the God’s people who had rebelled against him.
Jeremiah answers Hananiah’s prophesy with, “Yes, so be it!” Hananiah had prophesied the exact opposite of what Jeremiah was preaching. Indeed, Jeremiah didn’t want to proclaim anything that he had been proclaiming. He would certainly would have preferred telling everyone what they would rather hear. Life for the meanwhile could have been easy just telling everyone what they wanted to hear.
Yet, that is not Jeremiah was able to do. No, if he tried to hold in the true word of the LORD his bones would burn within him and would not let him rest until he told the people what the LORD wanted them to hear. Jeremiah reminds Hananiah that all the prophets before them prophesied against many countries and great kingdoms about war, calamity and the plague. People would only believe a prophet was from the LORD if he preached peace and prosperity only after it actually came to pass.
The people didn’t want to hear what Jeremiah said. People today want pastors to preach about being healthy, wealthy, success and happiness. Many pastor happily oblige as it fills their bank accounts and makes them healthy, wealthy, successful and happy in the world’s eyes. Woe to the pastors who call God’s people to repentance. People in the Church will think you are a wonderful preacher if you preach against the sins of the world, i.e. the sins of the people not in the pews. But woe if you point out your people’s sins and call them to repentance. For them, they want to hear about how good they are and how they are not like the people of the world. Well I guess there is a place for that. We can see some models of that in Paul’s writings. Yet Paul also never lets it just sit there. If he commends them for not being like the rest of the world in their sins, he also still pokes them where they are still tender, where they have not yet been purified. He still calls them to repent of the sins they are still committing.
A true pastor will never shy away from preaching against the sins of his congregation. Those who belong to the LORD Jesus Christ should thank him for doing so. He is warning them against losing their faith and losing their reward, eternal life in Jesus Christ. Remember, your pastor has no joy when he confronts you with a sin. He’d rather leave you alone. But he loves you and does not want to see you perish like the rest of the world. He does have good news for you. There is forgiveness, life and salvation now and in the world to come for you in Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, grant us true prophets, true pastors who tell us not what we want to hear but what we need to repent and believe in Christ so we may enter into eternal life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.