Royalty and Ruin


A True Prophet Always “Builds”

Thank God for the words, “to build and to plant.” The Lord’s purpose was to restore and to heal. Jeremiah was fearlessly to deliver prophecies of swift-coming judgments, yet he was to accompany these messages with assurances of forgiveness to all who would turn from their evildoing. RR 145.5

Jeremiah worked to encourage the people of Judah to lay spiritual foundations broad and deep by thorough repentance. For a long time they had been building with material that Jeremiah likened to dross: “People will call them rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.” Jeremiah 6:30. Now he urged them to build for eternity, throwing away the rubbish of apostasy and using as material pure gold, refined silver, precious stones—faith, obedience, and good works—which alone are acceptable to God. RR 146.1

The word of the Lord was, “‘Return, backsliding Israel, ... and I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the Lord, ... ‘for I am married to you.’” Jeremiah 3:12-14. RR 146.2

And in addition the Lord gave His erring people the very words with which they could turn to Him: “We do come to You, for You are the Lord our God.” “We lie down in our shame, and our reproach covers us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.” Verses 22, 25. RR 146.3

The reformation under Josiah had cleansed the land of shrines to idols, but the hearts of the multitude were not transformed. Thorns had choked the seeds of truth that had sprung up and given promise of an abundant harvest. Another backsliding like that would be fatal. RR 146.4

Jeremiah called attention repeatedly to the counsels given in Deuteronomy. He showed how these could bring the highest spiritual blessing to the nation. “Ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16. RR 146.5

On one occasion, at one of the principal entrances to the city the prophet urged the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath day: “‘If you heed Me carefully,’ says the Lord, ‘to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it; then shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, ... and this city shall remain forever.’” Jeremiah 17:24, 25. If the people did not act on the appeals to obey the God of their fathers and to hallow His Sabbath, the city and its palaces would be utterly destroyed by fire. Only by the firmest measures could they bring about a change for the better; therefore the prophet worked most earnestly for the unrepentant. “O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved.” Jeremiah 4:14. RR 146.6

But the great mass of the people left the call to repentance unheeded. Those who ruled the nation had been untrue to their trust and had been leading many astray. From the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign, Jeremiah had little hope of saving his beloved land from destruction and captivity. Yet he was not to remain silent while complete ruin threatened the kingdom. He must encourage those loyal to God to continue in rightdoing, and if possible he must persuade sinners to turn from iniquity. RR 146.7

The Lord commanded Jeremiah to stand in the court of the temple and speak to all who went in and out. He must not soften a word! RR 147.1

The prophet obeyed. He lifted his voice in warning and pleading. “‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates.’ ... ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.”’” Jeremiah 7:2-4. RR 147.2