People often make the mistake of thinking that the Old Testament is just a dry, boring history that has no meaning or purpose for our lives today. But there is much we can learn from the Old Testament. In fact, it is impossible to fully understand the New Testament without it. It has been said, very truly, that the New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New. Today we are going to see the message the book of Lamentations has for us.
“The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading.” (Lam. 2:14)
Far too often, we don’t want to hear anything that makes us feel uncomfortable. We don’t want a preacher who steps on our toes a little bit, by preaching something that makes us feel the convicting power of the Holy Ghost. We certainly don’t want a preacher who exposes our sin, even if it is to ward off our captivity. In fact, we get downright huffy about that. We’ll just find us another church to go to if they’re going to be preaching like that! We’d far rather hear nice little “feel good” messages, or uplifting “you are so special” messages. We like those “peace and prosperity” messages that assure us we can have both, if we only ask in Jesus’ name. We don’t understand that the messages they give us are often false and misleading.
Those preachers who preach on the power of positive attitudes and positive thinking are great motivational speakers. They can certainly help us in many areas of life. But they aren’t truly preachers. Preachers are those who teach us God’s will and God’s ways.
Are these “peace and prosperity” messages Biblically accurate? Well, let’s look at what Jesus himself had to say:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:19)
We can be sure, from what Jesus taught us, that we WILL have troubles in this world. It is unreasonable to ignore that part of His teachings. We need to beware of only wanting to hear messages that make us feel good. The apostle Paul warned Timothy of just such an attitude:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (II Timothy 4:3-4)
We must be careful to take heed of every single part of God’s holy Word, not just the parts that promise us something or make us feel good. Every single portion of Scripture has meaning and revelation for us today, as much as when it was written. Paul tells us:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:16-17)
While it is always great to hear an encouraging, uplifting message, we need to realize that we need to hear the entire Word of God, not just the “good” parts. We need to hear the things that make us uncomfortable, that step on our toes, that cause us to feel the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. We need to hear the things that bring us to an attitude of repentance and obedience. The only thing that leads to a life of Godliness is not a positive attitude, or a belief in “name it and claim it” promises. The key to a life of receiving God’s blessings is an attitude of repentance and obedience!
Blessings, Rev. W.E. Ferrell