Last week in the Adirondack mountains of New York State, while serving there, some of my dear Christian brothers were discussing and sharing with me this term “magic pill”. It is one they ascribed to the passages in the Holy Bible that many like to believe are just that … magic pills. These are Bible verses the popular mega-church pastors and tel-evangelists like to throw around. These are they kinds of verses in which many modern believers like to place their hope.
For example, Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite. One of our brothers led a wonderful team devotional time in this passage. God says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” What is not to love?
Here God says to His chosen people Israel that He has plans for them and these plans are those of peace. He has a goal for them and He is going to work that out and does not want evil for them. And, in our modern day of Israel-replacement theology, many preachers tell us that this verse is ours for the claiming.
Well, we might want to slow down just a second. Good Bible students study IN CONTEXT. What is the context of that passage? Here in Jeremiah 29, God’s people are being punished for their disobedience of turning their heart from God. (The mega-church preachers don’t like this kind of truth.) They are being led away captive into a heathen land. They were treated mercilessly in a way that makes modern ISIS look not so bad.
And, the same God who speaks in verse 11 says in verse 4 that He has caused this to happen to His beloved chosen people! He goes onto tell them that they will live in this captivity for 70 years. And in that 70 years, the people of God are to buy homes, marry, have children and plant gardens (verse 5). And in verse 7 they are told to live in peace with this heathen land in which they are captive. The message here is one that they should be content and realize this is the will of God and it will not change for 70 years.
I wonder how the modern American believers would respond if God told this to us. If the “live free or die” crowd was told by the Almighty that they were going to been taken over and live as captives or slaves for 70 years, would they still worship and praise the goodness of their God?
Then in verse 10, God says after all 70 years are complete, THEN I will live out verse 11 with you and through you. So, many in the modern Western world claim verse 11 as a permanent stance of God and will for their lives when the very context of that passage says the opposite.
This ‘favorite’ verse was given by God to comfort a people which He was punishing for 70 years. It was given as hope for them to know that this too shall pass. The Sovereign God of heaven was still in charge. Although many would die in captivity, their children and children’s children were still going to be blessed of God.
But let me ask you, what kind of Bible teacher or preacher takes this text completely out of context and gives it to an American culture which has turned from God and uses it to convince this land that we should expect a blessing rather than judgment? Are we more special to God than Israel? Do we deserve better than they?
This kind of judgement happened over and over again with Israel and each time, the way out was humility, brokeness, confession of sin and repentance form sin (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Listen friends, inspirational speakers are one thing, but men who claim to be ministers of the God’s Word and carelessly throw the Holy Word of God around to give false hope and gain more followers are not good men.