Jeremiah 26.4-9 – The authority of the Bible
Posted: 13 January 2013 in Jeremiah

And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

It has a familiar ring to it when, in the above passage, people resist what God is saying to them in the person of his prophet. They don’t like what they are hearing, so they close their ears to it. Widespread today is the notion that God should adjust himself to our current attitudes and cultural mores. An example of that is belief in universal salvation. Not only is there no scriptural basis for that, but it seems to directly contradict what the Bible does say on the subject. But still it is believed in, because it is what people want to believe in. Another example is eternal punishment, which gets rejected even when it is accepted that salvation is not universal. Here is Matthew 25.46 from the lips of Jesus himself:

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

It says pretty much the same thing in any translation of the Bible you care to look at, so it is not just an oddity of a conservative translation. I cannot easily imagine that God will be appreciative if we substitute what we would like to be true for what he reveals to actually be true. It seems to me a fundamental matter of obedience to let the Lord speak for himself; whether we like what we are hearing or not. Jermiah’s listeners didn’t like what they heard. As difficult as it sometimes is, I think we must also refrain from the impudence of setting ourselves up in judgment on God.

Constructing a god who is nothing more than the personification of what we would wish God to be like can only be described as idolatry.

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