Every time I read the news, I see our fate as a nation written with a “pen of iron”. What do I mean?
Take a look in the Bible at Jeremiah 17 which explains that the sin of the nation of Judah was written with a “pen of iron”, meaning it was not erasable because it was “graven upon the table of their heart”.
Why would God bring judgment upon His beloved people? We can learn much from the history of the nation of Judah, now part of modern day Israel. The Book of Jeremiah provides some history of this terrible time before the captivity.
The people in Judah had embraced behaviors and beliefs that God considered wicked. Thus their heartfelt acceptance of evil behaviors and beliefs brought about their condemnation before God.
“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills. O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders. And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever. Thus saith the LORD, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” Jeremiah 17:1-6 KJV
These verses written by the prophet Jeremiah describe exactly what would happen in Judah. The altars and groves refer to the places where the people had placed their altars to worship false gods. The people were wicked because they had forsaken the Lord God Jehovah. Three Kings, Josiah, his son Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, reigned during this time of rebellion against God. Yet it was during the reign of Zedekiah, that the people were carried off to Babylon. This was a terrible punishment for this people! Zedekiah watched his sons being killed, then his eyes were put out. He was put in prison in Babylon until his death. An unnecessary conclusion to a great people. Thankfully, God preserved a remnant who would one day return to Judah.
Think about what we’ve been reading in the news and watching on the TV. In today’s world, you will hear and read about things that were unheard of in polite society in times past. Things the Bible calls wicked, we readily accept as normal in our society of today.
God warned the people to cease from their idolatry. He gave them warnings through two Kings, then acted during the reign of Zedekiah. He gave them generations to change to no avail. They continued to worship false gods. They continued to disobey God’s Laws and His commands. They were idolaters, leaving their first love, choosing instead sin.
Whenever mankind disobeys, there are consequences.
In today’s world we are without excuse. The Bible which tells of God’s Laws is readily available. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians:
“That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” Ephesians 3:6-12
It was always God’s intent that mankind seek Him and live by His words. He identifies through the prophets and apostles and the history of the Israelites what is true and righteous. We are not unlearned, for His law is written on our hearts as it says in Romans 2:15a. Take a look at what the Bible says:
“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” Romans 2:5-16
This Bible passage is very important because it tells us that we know the difference between right and wrong. Since we know, because God put it in our hearts to know the difference, we are without excuse. We cannot in good conscience say the wickedness we see practiced today is righteous. We do not make up our own truth; we have the truth from the Creator God Himself.
Jeremiah warned the people to no avail. They were carried off into captivity, but in time, a few were restored to their homeland where the reconstruction of the Temple began.
It is important to follow the teachings of God to avoid judgment and condemnation. We can be forgiven for our sin. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are embracing the One who took the punishment for our sin. We are cleansed, forgiven, and promised a relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:20-26
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:8-9
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23
Jeremiah affirms this truth of salvation.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:7-10
A purified heart that belongs to Jesus will not have to worry about the “pen of iron”. Our sins are forgiven and we have the promise of eternity spent with our Savior.
“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14