It was on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses, or statements, on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, marking the start of the reformation movement. For centuries, the Bible had been available only in rare, hand-copied manuscripts, and because of ignorance of the Bible, religious leaders had developed a form of religion that was far removed from biblical revelation. As a monk, Luther had access to the Scriptures to study them for himself, and he concluded that we are saved by grace alone, not by good works or by paying for indulgences. By 1522, he had translated the Bible into German, and because of Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, the common people could read it for themselves, and the Reformation was in full swing.
In his time, Jeremiah had also tried to make the people understand that their problem was a lack of trust and faith in God, along with an absence of fear that caused them to take Him for granted. They, too, were not heeding God's Word, and had stopped putting God first, replacing Him with false gods, those that would not make them feel guilty or convict them of sin.
Jeremiah 6:10 – To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it. (NIV)
Through Jeremiah, God warned the people that He was going to punish them if they did not change their ways.
Jeremiah 6:16,19 – 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.' Hear, O earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law." (NIV)
Perhaps the "disaster" is reflected in so many awful things happening in the world today: thefts, murders, and mass shootings are in the news every day; there is embezzlement and corruption in high places; there are power struggles in the political arena. Church leaders are unhappy that the Scriptures don't say what they think society wants to hear, so they re-interpret the Bible to their own wishes and desires. Because of their ignorance of the Bible, people in the pews, who are struggling with a secular society, are ready to accept what they hear from the pulpit.
Just like at the time of Jeremiah and at the time of Luther, we are in desperate need of a new reformation, whereby the authority of Scripture is respected as the only rule of faith and life, regardless of what society wants it to mean.
Do you feel inadequate to make a difference because of your age, education, or talents? Have you kept quiet because you are not a skilled speaker? The next time that you are tempted to bypass an opportunity to promote the authority of the Bible, remember that God will not lead you where He cannot help you.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we are so concerned about some of the things that are going on in the world and in the church these days. We worry about the general apathy about faith in You as Saviour and Lord. We ask that, if we have an opportunity to speak up, You will give us courage to do so. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Who Is On The Lord's Side" (Lyrics)