We are putting on hold the series that we have been having on “Open Arms” to respond to the great challenge that God has allowed the world to face. Our country has not been spared either, and as a church we are equally affected like everyone else. The only advantage we have as Christians is that these things should not take us completely by surprise because the warning has been there all along. Our regret should be that we have not heeded the warning and we have not shouted loud enough for everyone to take cover in the Lord Jesus Christ by repenting the sins of our fathers and our own sins.
The scriptures say in 1 Peter 5:8
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
This is what the Lord says,
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘we will not walk in it.’
I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘we will not listen.’
Therefore, hear O nations; observe, O witnesses, what will happen to them.
Hear, O earth: I am bringing a disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.
What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”
Therefore, this is what the Lord says:
“I will put obstacles before this people. Fathers and sons will stumble over them; neighbors and friends will perish.”
This is what the Lord says:
“Look an army is coming from the land of the north; a great nation is being stirred up from the ends of the earth. They are armed with bow and spear; they are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men on battle formation to attack you O daughter of Zion.”
We have heard reports about them, and our hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labor.
Do not go out into the fields or walk on the roads, for the enemy has a sword, and there is terror on every side.
O my people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.
I have made you a tester of metals and my people are the ore, that you may observe and test their ways. They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. They are bronze and iron; they all act corruptly. The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out. They are called rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.”
Whenever the Israelites did unpleasant things in God’s sight, and especially when they turned to other gods, God would allow the enemy to attack and devour them.
Sin always separates us from God.
Rom 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
The purpose of the book of Jeremiah is to urge God’s people to turn from their sins and back to God. Before God allows a calamity that will touch on His people, He gives them a warning and a chance to repent. He does this because we are His people and He is merciful. When we do not heed the warning, the disaster will certainly come.
The world is ruled by sin, because without God there cannot be righteousness. It is only the faithfulness of the people of God that keeps the wrath of God away. He says in 2 Chro 7:13-14 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among the people, If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
What God is speaking to us this morning is that we carry the key to avert the disaster that is awaiting to happen. God is waiting on His people to respond to His warning to them. We must accept the responsibility because we are the only ones that can change the mind of God.
But God is holding three things against us:
- Pride– The reason why God is asking us to humble ourselves is because we have followed the world and its pleasures, and He can no longer recognize us from the worldly people. We do things as they do if not worse. We have brought corruption into the Church; immorality has been accepted in the church and it is no longer anything to be dreaded. Greed has become the next vocabulary as we seek to enrich ourselves at the expense of the poor, widows and orphans. God is saying humble yourselves and acknowledge that all things come from me and stop believing in your own ability. I have already blessed you!
- Prayerlessness– God is speaking to us this morning and asking us to return to prayer. Because of our pride we no longer turn to God for provision, but we have become slaves of our wealth. Christians are leading in the rat race trying to out do each other. Though God has blessed us, we have turned away from Him and we no longer find time to pray. The prayer life in the church has been left in the hands of a few except when we are faced by things that threaten our comfort. God is asking us to return to a life of prayer so that He can reveal to us the plans of the enemy so that we may intercede before disaster strikes.
- Wickedness– Our life is full of iniquity. Sin is no longer a thing to be afraid of. Instead of depending on the Almighty God, we have turned to other gods. God is looking at our ways and calling them wicked. Christians now entertain witchcraft and sorcery as ways of making it in life. There is no significant difference between the way we do life and the way the world does it. We dress the same way, we speak the same language-full of mockery, we are filled with jealousy and competition of space. Let’s turn from our wicked ways and God will hear us from Heaven and heal our land.
The Lord is asking us to stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and we will find rest for our souls. God has marked for us the right path of living; but like the people of Judah, we have refused to walk in it. We must decide today to go God’s old but true way. If we follow our new path of life without God, we will perish. The only way to find peace and rest for our souls is to walk in God’s path.
God says He does not care about incense of sacrifices made in Sheba (vs 20). This was a center of trade in incense and spices used for pagan worship and religious rituals. We think because we bring our tithes and offerings God is pleased with us. He is saying turn to me, that’s your first sacrifice to me when you surrender your life, time, then resources.
Vs 25-26 (read)
Jeremiah says the threat we face is real, he says self-quarantine, put on sackcloth and mourn as for an only son. What he is saying here is we ought to continuously mourn for the wickedness in the world and not just when our security is threatened. Christians must go back to the old path of worshiping God in truth at all times even when this threat passes.
Purify my heart
Vs 29;30 (read)
Metal is purified by fire as it is heated, that’s how impurities are burned away and only the pure metal will remain. We must accept this purification in the church. God tested the people of Judah and could not find any purity in them-they were called rejected silver; will He find purity in us? Do you find any impurities in your life that God needs to burn away? It is a time to confess this to God and allow Him to purify us. Let us reflect on areas in our life that He needs to purify even as we thank Him for the victory that is coming.
At ICC-Imara we are calling for a Seven Day of Prayer and Repentance starting tomorrow Monday 23rd to Sunday 29th, for ourselves, church, nation and the world at large. To beseech God that He may be merciful and cut these days short and heal our land.
The reason God is depending on you as a Christian to fight this battle is because you understand His language. The world will not understand it, they will not even grasp what the Spirit is saying. 1 Cor 2:14 says, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
We cannot remain silent; we are God’s communication frequency. We must sacrifice and deny ourselves for God to heal Kenya. God is looking for people who will stand in the gap and pray. Eze 22:30 says, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” May God find ICC-Imara standing in the gap so that He may not pour out His wrath and consume the world with His fiery anger.