Gary W. Ritter
(Jeremiah 14-16; 1 Timothy 5)
When a particular individual is singled out for his wickedness in the Bible, you can be assured that the things he did were over and above God’s threshold for tolerance. And let’s be honest: God has a pretty high threshold. How many times did Israel reject Him and fall into idolatry and sexual immorality, yet He relented, forgave, and returned to bless her? However, God has a long memory. It also seems like there was a template that the people followed from times past which, when they repeated it, angered God until He could take no more.
The wicked king whose sins the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel continually emulated was Jeroboam. We often see reference to “the sins of Jeroboam” when the Biblical text describes why God brought disaster upon this segment of His inheritance. Running a close second to Jeroboam in that region was King Ahab, who did quite a lot to kindle God’s wrath.
In the Southern Kingdom of Judah, although there were several good kings, one was specified as having been particularly egregious in his transgressions. It was his leadership and example that tainted the people of Judah down through the years and became the last straw, breaking the proverbial camel’s back and causing God to finally act to drastically punish His beloved children. Here is what we’re told in Jeremiah 15:4:
And I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.
Manasseh, son of good king Hezekiah, was the poster child for Judah’s downfall. He took the people he was supposed to shepherd and lead toward God into great apostasy. That had consequences. God instructed the prophet in Jeremiah 16:10-12 what to say to those around him:
“And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?’ then you shall say to them: ‘Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the Lord, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law, and because you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me.”
Did they not have a clue what their sins were? Perhaps not. It may be that they were so deceived by their wickedness that they thought all was good with God, despite their having turned from Him.
Jeremiah tried to tell them they were on a road leading to disaster. God declared what would happen because of these transgressions in Jeremiah 16:13:
“Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.”
The Lord told Judah well beforehand the nature of her fate. He would cast the people from this good and plenteous land that He had so graciously given them. Rather than serve Him and receive all His merciful blessings, they would be forced to endure the harsh requirements of other gods.
How would this come about? Where would they go? Jeremiah 15:2 detailed this:
… “Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence,
and those who are for the sword, to the sword;
those who are for famine, to famine,
and those who are for captivity, to captivity.”
Throughout the ages, these have been the big four destroyers that God has sent to punish those who had earned His severe condemnation:
If plague didn’t bring the fear of death, then God would unleash a foreign power upon the people. If they didn’t perish in war, they would be reduced to famine conditions and starvation. If that didn’t destroy their pride and self-will to continue rejecting the Lord, He sent them into slavery in another land. Perhaps through these punishments, Israel would awaken to her need for the One true God.
Similar times are coming upon the earth in our current days. Although we haven’t had apostate kings, per se, to lead our nation far from God, the lure of Marxism has been strong, working in conjunction with the abundance of our nation. Playing upon guilt and privilege, our children have been taught that life is unfair. The only way to rectify the problem is through socialist, equal distribution so that all in society have the same outcome. They’ve learned that diversity, equity, and inclusion are the only means to achieve parity, which is the highest god above all.
This has brought about many evils and led the vast majority of our nation to reject God while embracing the State. After all, only government can regulate the thoughts and actions of people to ensure this fair and just outcome. Since we’ve forgotten God, exactly what is left for Him in this equation? Our hearts are hard against Him, and He has no use in our lives.
Here’s what Jeremiah 15:6 shows is God’s response to this kind of nonsense:
You have rejected me, declares the Lord;
you keep going backward,
so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you—
I am weary of relenting.
God’s patience is long and storied, but it also wears thin and finally reaches a breaking point. For the hard-hearted and stiff-necked, God will give them what they want. They desire life without Him? Fine. They will get it.
How near must we be to this point where God completely gives people over to their own burning needs? All conditions are in place. Perhaps there are a few more people whose hearts will melt, they will repent to trust in Jesus, and they will ensure their entry into the Kingdom of God. Beyond that, what’s left?
Only the Rapture of the true church. Once we’re out of here, the world will rejoice, and it can have its own way. But soon it will learn how that road leads only to destruction.
As I’ve mentioned in the Author Note of previous articles, the Lord put it on my heart this year to write a daily essay relating to my practice of Reading Through the Bible in a Year. Last year, that resulted in my producing the Awaken Bible Study Notes, a 4-volume set correlating with each quarter’s readings. This year in my writings, truly through the grace of God, I’m producing the 4-volume Awaken Bible Commentary and Reflections series. Volume 1, which covers January – March (Genesis 1 – Judges 5; Matthew 1 – Luke 7), is now available on Amazon in both paper and Kindle e-book formats at this link:
Awaken Bible Commentary and Reflections series Volume 1
If these daily writings have been a blessing to you, I hope that you’ll acquire this first book and the subsequent ones as I finish editing them. My intent in all I write is to bring God the glory and to make His people think. As in the Study Notes from last year, the Commentary and Reflections delve into the prophetic and supernatural nature of God’s Word, a combination you simply won’t find elsewhere. They attempt to show the parallels to our times and the peril from the past when God’s people turn away from Him and His commands. Scripture is very much a blueprint for today.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and prolific author. His Whirlwind Series comprises three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is a Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has written many other Christian thrillers that will challenge you, and which you can learn about at his website: www.GaryRitter.com. Recently, Gary wrote a novella for the new Kindle Vella platform called Tribulation Rising: Seal Judgments – The Coming Apocalypse. This seven-part short work can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z462WD. You can also watch Gary’s video Bible teachings on Rumble at his Awaken Bible Prophecy channel: https://rumble.com/c/c-783217.