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The Intent of the Lord's Heart

posted Aug 23, 2010, 7:52 AM by Allen Bergstrazer   [ updated Aug 23, 2010, 7:56 AM ]

The 12th Sunday after Pentecost                   Jeremiah 23:16-29


  God was a demanding God in the Old Testament. You know He didn’t allow the people to worship in any kind of convenient way. They were expected to make their way to Jerusalem for specific feasts and offer their sacrifices only there in the temple. He set forth the way things were to be and He expected the people to obey.

  So, who can blame the prophets when they were only making it easier for the people? For instance, when they allowed for worship of God on any mountain that was nearby, rather than having to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; they were only trying to make it easier for the people to worship God. Or when they began to say that Jehovah was the same God as the Bails; they were only trying to be inclusive and make it a more seamless transition for the foreigners to adopt God as their God.

  And of course the relaxing of certain laws was imminent, for as the people became more enlightened, they certainly didn’t need all of those divinely given regulations any more. They belonged to cultural oddities of years gone by.

  But God had a little something different to say. “Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who prophecy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (v16). In other words, the prophets no longer spoke prophetic words from God; and if not from Him, then who? And if the prophecy was not of God and according to His will, then it could only lead one to disfavor with God and destruction.

  For such as these there is only destruction in their future according to the will of God. His wrath has gone out and will burst upon the head of the wicked (v19). The day would soon come when Judah would be overthrown and conquered and her people exiled in a foreign land. God’s justice would be delivered. The despisers of His word would not escape His wrath, nor would the unrighteous escape disaster.

  The intent of the Lord’s heart is that His people would be righteous, pure, and undefiled. His laws and His divine rules were established to show the people all that was necessary for them to avoid the Lord’s wrath, but they would not listen. Instead they sought to do what was right in their own eyes and they willingly listened to the prophets that told them the sweet things that they wished to hear. And so, with the Law forgotten, there was no need of the Gospel. If all things were just fine under these smooth talking prophets, then what need was there for a Messiah? If there was no bondage, then why worry about a promise of a Savior?

  The Word of the Lord is like a fire that consumes that it might purge and purify; that it might reduce and refine. Even though so many prophets said that all was well, it was Jeremiah’s prophecy from the Lord that bore true. The whirling tempest of God’s wrath went forth and burst upon the people of Judah and God purged them of the wicked. He refined Judah to the remnant that remained and returned to rebuild the walls and the temple of Jerusalem.

  But the lies prophesied in the name of the Lord continued and were finally levied against His Son. It is the perfect prophet that spoke only God’s Word. It is the anointed one, Jesus Christ that prophesied of a baptism by fire. It is the righteous One, that would suffer as the unrighteous, the One that honors God’s Word that would meet disaster as a despiser of God’s Word.

  God’s wrath would go out as a whirling tempest and would burst upon the head of His Son. His anger would not turn back until He had executed and accomplished the intents of His heart. It is now in these latter days that you can understand it clearly. The Christ must suffer and die as one cursed under the Law. The Law must be fulfilled and honored completely that justice may be complete. In these latter days it should be clear as God’s Word declares that Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith and that as the patriarch’s were justified before God through faith in the promise, so too are we justified through in that same promise fulfilled. There is no hope apart from faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. All other councils and prophecies are lies and deceptions.

  It is maddening and saddening that these false prophets that distort and upend God’s Word still exist today. So many that directs God’s people to depend upon their works instead Christ’s. So many that undo God’s Law and try to defang it such that the Gospel holds no real promise of hope. Do not listen to those that prophecy and fill you with vain hopes. They speak to satisfy the visions of their own minds and not the will of God.

  The intent of the Lord’s heart is that your flesh might be put to death under His wrath and that your faith in the promise would raise you to new life. This is all accomplished in your baptism, where you died with Christ and were raised with Him to new life. There is no need to add your works; Christ has already fulfilled the Law for you. There is no need to lesson the Law; Christ already suffered death as sinner under the Law for you.

  That which is to be understood in these latter days is that the promise has been fulfilled. God has followed through and done all that Abraham was looking forward to see; He has fulfilled the promise. The intent of the Lord’s heart is accomplished and His desire is that it be fulfilled also for you through faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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