Photo by mandj98 on Flickr.
By Lisa Nordell-Detres
…stays in Vegas. This was a tag line from the Las Vegas Department of Tourism a few years ago. What those ads tried to imply was that there was a glitzy place where one could go to do things that would never be found out by one’s family or friends, should that be of concern. The saying caught on somewhat until the CDC came up with a list of diseases that could easily follow one home.
Jeremiah 23 gives a glimpse of God’s exasperation with the false prophets and presumed holy men of Israel who ignored Jeremiah’s prophecies for happier, feel-good projections of what the impending war with Babylon would bring. It wasn’t that these quasi spiritual leaders lacked the correct information; but rather, they refused to listen to the Word of God, who at that time still spoke directly to His prophets like Jeremiah.
“Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the Lord,
“and not a God far away?
Who can hide in secret places
so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:23-24, NIV)
It was as if the false teachers thought that God was not aware of what they were telling the people; offering happy thoughts at a time of impending destruction. They seemed completely oblivious to the fact that they were contradicting God’s prophecies through Jeremiah and even tried on several occasions to end Jeremiah’s life.
There are many false prophets out in the world today who soft pedal around eternal life and death issues, fearing that they may offend somebody. Here is what God had to say about their counterparts from the seventh century BC:
“Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:31-32, NIV)
Not all of us are called to stand on the street corner shouting that the end is near, but if we call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to tell others about the sacrifice that He made to save us from our sins. How we convey that message is as individual as we and those to whom we share the message are. We just need to know what the message is by reading and studying the Bible every day and then being ready and willing to speak when God’s Spirit prompts us. And yes, this message is just as urgent as Jeremiah’s call to repentance as the Babylonian army closed in around Israel.
The world as we know it may not end tomorrow, but according to the World Health Organization, about 150,000 people died each day in 2011. For them, that was the end of the world. We do not know when the end will come for anybody, so we do have an urgent message for our friends, family, and those with whom we come in contact each day. Let’s go get the Word out before it is too late!
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.