Still, being only four chapters into this book, I cannot escape a less-than-comfortable thought: there seems to be much the same between Israel during Jeremiah's day and today in the United States.
If one has a reasonably robust devotional life, which inevitably involves being in God's Word regularly, it should not be a surprise that much of this nation (and world) has departed from God and His way. Despite this utter and complete lack for seeking to hold to His standard, there is a deluded sense of ethical and moral superiority wrapped around every politically correct, and new age philosophy that we hear and see everyday.
On one hand you have godly men and women urging us to turn away from the "idols" of this materialistic and self-centered culture, warning of the dire consequences of pursuing our own ways in everything. And on the other, you have another set of "spiritual leaders" and philosophical gurus proclaiming every "peace, love, tolerance, & oneness" message possible. If any message of change accompanies the popular mantras of today, it's that we should turn away from those very things that God's Word tells us to pursue.
So, when I read the following passage, a little light went off in my head:
"In that day, declares the LORD, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded."
Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, 'It shall be well with you,' whereas the sword has reached their very life." (Jeremiah 4:9-10)
Amid every distressing and worrisome event in this world, people are seeking to hear that they're doing the right thing, they're pursuing the right things, and that everything is going to be alright in the end. They want to have their ears "tickled". And the people get what they want...
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Such is what happened with ancient Israel. They had turned from God's way, they had turned to the false gods of the people around them, they pursued the things of the world, all while practicing much "religiosity". With their lips they praised God, but their hearts were far from Him (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8); all things that we see so prevalent today in America.
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
Oh! that we might turn from our evils ways and run to the foot of the Cross. That we might seek forgiveness in the arms of the One that does not wish for any to perish, but that we might all find Eternal Life in His Son.
Oh! that we might stop promising 'peace' and 'goodness' from the same mouths that claim that homosexuality isn't a sin, but an "acceptable lifestyle", and that killing thousands of our unborn children every day isn't murder, but is a "woman's right", or that pornography isn't destroying our families and communities, but that it's "free speech".
"For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown," says the LORD.
Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' (Jeremiah 6:13-16)