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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 4:9-12

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, July 31, 2014

When Jeremiah was called to be a prophet, the Lord told him he would
“stand against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land” (Jeremiah 1:18). Listen for the list: “king, priests and prophets” in verse 9. As we hear about the people condemned by God, we have the privilege of Gospel history to know what—and Who—God’s solution to this problem was.

9 “When that day comes, declares the LORD,
        the king will lose heart,
        and the officials as well.
The priests will be horrified;
  the prophets will be astonished.”
10 I said, “O Lord God!
        You must have completely deceived these people and Jerusalem.
You said, ‘You will have peace,’
  yet the sword is at our throats!”

False prophets were loved by the people because they said things that were encouraging, whether those things were true or not. They prophesied in the name of the Lord, the True God, and swore by his name (Jeremiah 14:14). They made promises about danger being quickly averted, and that Judah would never go into exile. We will witness an example of this in chapter 28, when Jeremiah is opposed by the popular but false prophet Hananiah. When the nice-sounding promises didn’t come true, the people cried out, “God lied to us!” But God hadn’t lied. The people had paid a prophet to lie to them so that they might feel better. Making people feel better is not the role of the church, although some atheists like Karl Marx felt this to be the case. The role of the church is to glorify God and to proclaim God’s true word to people who don’t know that they stand condemned before God. This truth—the law and gospel—either turns them away from their sins into God’s eternal forgiveness, or it may harden some hearts into rejecting God altogether.

In the face of God’s truth, all people are helpless. Prophets, priests and kings cannot help themselves nor the people they are supposed to be helping. Instead, God sent his own Son as Prophet, Priest and King to rescue us and to serve in all of those roles perfectly.

As our Prophet, Jesus was anointed to preach the good news of the Gospel. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 11:5). He still proclaims this message through his holy word today.

As our Priest, Jesus made a sacrifice. Old Testament priests made sacrifices again and again to praise God and to atone for the sins of the people, but those sacrifices were not sufficient to pay for all sins for all time. Christ offered his own body on the cross to be “the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). He still prays on our behalf to his Father in heaven today.

As our King, Christ won the victory over sin, death and the devil so that he might rule in the hearts of believing Christians in this world. “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:57). He still reigns in our hearts today.

11 At that time it will be said to these people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the desert hills blows toward my people, but not to winnow or purify. 12 A stronger wind than that comes from me. Now I am passing judgment on them.”

Knowing that we have a true Prophet, a true Priest and a true King to save us, we can stand firm against the coming judgment—even the sure and final judgment of the Last Day. Some of the troubles that come to us are “to winnow or purify,” and turn us back to God out of fear, and we are welcomed back through the gospel. But when the End comes, we will be ready and we stand ready at this very moment because we trust in God alone.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1,2)

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.