Nobody had more reason to live a detached life than Jeremiah. His only friend in life was God.
Jeremiah Felt God’s Pain
His own nation, Israel, hated him because he confronted them over their idolatry and the breaking of God’s commandments. The royal officials considered him a traitor. For he was telling the city of Jerusalem to submit to the Babylonians who were encamped outside its walls. The King, Zedekiah, imprisoned him lest he goes on preaching. His reward for proclaiming God’s word was to be beaten, placed in stocks, thrown into a muddy pit, and confined in jail. Yes, Jeremiah had every reason to apathetically retreat into his world and await the destruction he knew was about to befall Jerusalem.
But God never allowed Jeremiah to do that. He required that Jeremiah share some of God’s own conflicting feelings. God’s heart was torn asunder over Israel. He loved His people dearly. Yet He was angry over their constant faithlessness and heartbroken over the judgment that awaited them. Instead of reciprocating God’s love, they lavished their affections on idols, representations of gods that didn’t even exist. Instead of turning to the living God who loved them and showered them with blessings, they ignored Him. And God wanted Jeremiah to share some of His own inner agony.
Feel What God Feels
Therefore, God put some of His own love for Israel into Jeremiah. He also put into Jeremiah some of His own zeal for righteousness. The result? Jeremiah was also angry over Israel’s sin, yet broken-hearted over the captivity they would suffer (Jeremiah 8:18–9:2). As a Christian believer, maybe you feel the same way about America. You love this nation, but you are sickened and distressed over what it’s become. You’re angered by those who keep administering poison to cure America’s ills, instead of giving what it really needs—God. You feel the same inner agony over America that God and Jeremiah felt over Israel.
Can I share a little encouragement with you? First, God loves America too. And he is immensely more broken-hearted over its decline than you are. In fact, your grief over America is only a tiny portion that He’s placed in your heart from His own grief. So you are sharing part of God’s love and sorrow for America. Therefore, be confident as you pray for this nation. Like Moses, Samuel, and Ezekiel you are standing in the gap between a guilty nation and the God who is both loving and just (Ezekiel 22:30). You are appealing to God to pour out His mercy and His Spirit upon America, as He desires to do. For, in God’s mind, mercy always triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). For God shows mercy because He loves too. But He judges only because He has to.
And there is more good news. God has a future for America, just as He had a future for Jerusalem. For in those last days before Jerusalem’s destruction God sent an important message to Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 32:1–15, God told the prophet to purchase a piece of real estate in the Kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah received instruction to invest in what was to become “ground zero” for His wrath.
Can you imagine someone doing such a thing? Can you imagine someone purchasing the World Trade Center just before its destruction?
It actually happened. Developer Larry Silverstein signed a contract to pay the New York Port Authority $3.2 billion for the Twin towers in July 2001. This was two months before they were destroyed. Of course, Silverstein did this unaware that his prime real estate would become ground zero in America’s worst terrorist attack. But Jeremiah knew that Judah would fall to the Babylonians, yet God told him to purchase the land. God wanted him to invest in them anyway.
Why would God do this? Because God had a future for Jerusalem and Judah. God told the exiled Jews in Babylon, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for peace and not for calamity, plans to give you a future and hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). God promised to bring them back into their own land and bless them again (Jeremiah 29:10).
And God has invested much in America. He has millions of saints in this nation who cry out to Him day and night. God continues to breathe revival throughout this land, adding believers to His church daily. He continues to use America as His torch of freedom and His instrument of peace throughout the world. So don’t give America up for dead. Pray for America, that America will remain morally straight, spiritually fit, and militarily strong.
Dear Father in heaven, please bless the United States of America. Breathe a revival across our land and create in us a hunger and thirst for righteousness—as well as an abhorrence for evil. Raise up men and women of God to be our representatives and leaders in government. Do not allow, we pray, the wicked and godless too reign over us, to make our laws, or to set the course for this nation. But raise up men and women of God to be our Presidents, our senators, our congressmen, and our Supreme Court justices. We join our voices with the rest of Your saints and pray, may Your kingdom come and may Your will be done on earth—and in America—as it is in heaven. Amen.