“A time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.” —Jeremiah 9:25-26 (NLT)
I wonder if being picked for a criminal lineup as a stand in is a compliment. Is that the kind of impression you want to give somebody? How does that conversation go? “You’d be excellent for our criminal lineup! You’re just the kind of guy we’re looking for. You’d fit right in. None of the other criminals would suspect you didn’t belong.”
It seems like an insult. It should at least be a wake up call. You need to change your associations and/or your behavior because there isn’t much of a future in being the guy a who’s picked to stand in a criminal lineup.
As far as Jeremiah is concerned above, the nation of Judah is part of a criminal lineup because they are just as guilty as the criminal nations. But Judah is either oblivious or in denial. God has sent Jeremiah to wake them up.
I don’t envy the job God has given Jeremiah to do. He’s young, has no credibility, and is relatively unknown. He has no currency and no platform. What he does have is integrity, a call, and a message. God is the source of all three. Confidence in this keeps Jeremiah on task because his audience is hostile. Even so, as a guy who makes a living in communications, I’m here to tell you, Jeremiah does not have good job security. For success to happen, ideas must resonate with the audience. The reason 90% of start ups fail is the messenger doesn’t connect with his audience.
Remember what Jeremiah had, though:
- integrity from God
- a call from God
- a message from God
Jeremiah’s audience is God. Jeremiah knew this so, no matter how difficult it was, this is how he behaved. What Jeremiah didn’t know, however, was that future prophets were also his audience. Daniel for example, read Jeremiah’s writings (see Daniel 9:2) to figure out how Daniel himself could participate in God’s plan of redemption for Israel.
Jeremiah’s message is for you too. The example he sets is for you, also. Your audience is God. What are you doing with the integrity, call, and message He’s given you?