When I was a small child, my dad belonged to a volunteer fire department. In those days there were very few departments that had any firemen that actually stayed in the firehouse. A siren would go off at any time of the day or night and dad would hop up, grab his gear and head off to meet the other volunteers. I never saw an actual fire burning until one night when the neighbors house across the street caught on fire.
I remember the brightness against the night of the flames, the loud sirens and the firemen yelling out orders to make sure there was no one still left in the house. It was a frightening scene to me and for many months afterwards, I wondered how such a thing could happen to someone I knew. I wondered if it would happen to our house?
As much as I have tried to avoid the news, I find myself gravitating at some point every day to see what the latest headlines are. I don’t know about you…but I am absolutely stunned to hear and see what is happening in our cities and towns; to our citizens, to Christians, and most of all…how God is being driven further and further out of our lives; either because of complacency in what is actually going on around us or because of fear to push-back or take a stand. The Word of God is being ignored and rejected. The consequences of these things are much like a burning house or building.
Today I am asking myself the same questions as when my neighbor’s house was on fire. How could marriages, families, churches, and fellow Christians have gotten into this burning building situation? What caused it? Will it or has it happened to me? What needs to be done to put out the fire? A bigger question is this…are we even aware of the burning fire around us?
Just as a building burns board by board, so goes our lives when we become consumed with something other than God, His Word, and promises. One compromise leads to another and gets easier. It may start out as a small flicker, but over time will end up being a raging fire which seems uncontrollable. We have lost our purity; respect for life; we are self-centered; and have become angry.
To answer my own questions… How could this fire be burning so bright and causing so much destruction? Increasingly, we are finding our security in things other than God. There seems to be no need for Him. We are putting our security in ourselves. We can be a stiff-necked people who do not want their lifestyle threatened. We are receiving so many mixed messages from the culture, educators, and even some pastors, that it is getting harder and more difficult to keep our axis and foundation on God’s Word. Where are the role models to help the younger generation navigate this turbulent life? It seems the culture is much louder than the church.
Could this fire happen to me or you? Has complacency or indoctrination already gotten a foot-hold in our lives? I will be honest with you and say there are days that I have “lost my Jesus.” (As my pastor stated last week in his sermon). At times it is easier to go with the flow, join the masses, lose our integrity and love for one another. We can always find someone else who is doing it and therefore justify our thoughts and behavior. It is easier sometimes to give up in hopelessness. (Just what the enemy is trying to do).
Facing continual opposition as a Christian brings real fear and anxiety on us. In one of my son’s sermons he quoted Steve Lawson as saying, “Wherever God’s servants are sent, a battlefield of spiritual warfare is awaiting them. It is common to all followers and we can plan on it lasting a lifetime.” We are in a battle!
So, what do we do? Nancy Leigh DeMoss once stated, “If you saw your neighbor’s house on fire, would you just stand back and let it burn? Or would you run to tell them and help pull them to safety?” Of course, we would try to warn and save them.
Dr. Michael Youssef said, “We urgently need God to awaken our nation from its spiritual sleep.”
The prophet Jeremiah was tasked with giving God’s people oracles from Him. Judah was not the devoted bride anymore. They were following foreign or strange God’s. They refused correction. Jeremiah was to call for them to return to God or there would be a judgment. They were to change their ways.
Jeremiah 9:17-18 says: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the skillful of them.” (In those days it was an actual job to be a professional wailer to be with people going through grief.) They were skilled at it. Verse 18 says, “Let them come quickly and wail over us til our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.” God takes what we do seriously and tells us to wail and return!
First of all, we need to wake up to the current situation. Then examine ourselves to see if change needs to happen in us. Then we “wail.” Wailing isn’t just shedding a few tears like during a Hallmark movie. It is a gut-wrenching awareness of our sin and an intense repentance. The scripture says wail until our eyes OVERFLOW with tears. We cry out in surrender to God’s ways. This is not a manufactured wailing. It is from the pit of our being.
Third, we need to warn others. We must give up our independence and dependence on ourselves and move to influencing those we love and who are in our lives. We must be women who know God’s Word so we can be used by Him. Jeremiah told the people of Judah that a judgment was coming. We are told a judgment will be coming on us as well. Jeremiah came to give a warning and we are called to warn others of pending judgment if our ways do not change.
Listen to this friends….God is so merciful that He gave Judah an opportunity to be forgiven and change and He has done the same for us. We live with hope and thankfulness for his love, mercy, and work at the cross to give us opportunities to change our lives and refocus on our calling.
Finally, we wait on the Lord. He is our only hope and answer. His Holy Spirit will extinguish the flames of our burning houses. We must be diligent in prayer. Pray without ceasing. In my son’s sermon he stated, “pray for God’s righteousness to be vindicated.” We do not need to fear coming face-to-face with the burning building. Our perfect, loving, God is with us. When it seems like He’s taking a long time to put out the flames, do not give up or get discouraged. He is the Victor and has already won the battle.
HE IS COMING BACK ON A WHITE HORSE. HE IS THE GREAT I AM.