“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
Brokenness is real. We are broken because of sin. Our brokenness is seen in the violence and hatred around us, as evidenced once again sadly in Nice, France yesterday. The brokenness is evident in strained marriages, troubled youth, and very distracted Christians. When we are standing in the wake of the consequences of our sins or of the sins of others, we need healing. However, we must be cautious of seeking superficial healing as spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah.
Let’s take a bite out of Jeremiah 6 today and reflect on why God said the people were only healed superficially.
Vs. 13 – Everyone is greedy, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely.
From the king to the servant, and from the prophets to the priests, all were greedy. The priests and prophets dealt falsely. They told the people what they wanted to hear, and the people “loved to have it so” (Jer. 5:31). They told the people what was politically correct and easy to the ear. The priests and prophets lined their pockets by offering a feel-good message of “peace, peace.” The problem is, first of all, that message was not from God, and secondly, there was no lasting peace in that message.
In contrast, Jeremiah was delivering a message of doom and destruction. He called them to “amend their ways and their deeds” (Jeremiah 7:3,5). Real healing, whether for the individual, for the marriage, for the church, or for the nation, requires us to look honestly at the truth, no matter how painful it may be. We have to call out evil, hatred and violence for what it is. Truth demands real change and repentance. The truth calls us out for who we really are and what we have to do to change. Do we want the preacher really to tell it like it is? Do we really want the shepherds of the church to tell us what we need to hear? Do we want superficial answers, or do we want truth? We demand truth from our physicians and mechanics, don’t we? How about God?
Vs. 15 – Were they ashamed? They did not know how to blush.
Real healing happens when we are truly ashamed for our behavior and our words. Not just sorry that someone caught us. Not just sorry that we can’t continue our double life. The people of Jeremiah’s day had become so calloused that their over-the-top wickedness was considered mainstream. Because they were so desensitized, the word of God did not penetrate their hearts. If you don’t see a problem with immoral behavior, how can you feel bad for participating in it?
Vs. 16 – Ask for the ancient paths…but they would not walk in them.
God’s paths are old. God’s truth is ancient, but His truth is timeless. The words of Moses were around 800 years old by the time of Jeremiah. They were old and ancient, but they were from God and still were relevant. Superficial healing comes when we pacify ourselves with modern philosophy, pop culture, and any “new” idea that may come our way. Real healing begins when we ask for the ancient, old Jerusalem gospel.
Vs. 17 – I set watchmen over you…but you would not listen.
Just as there were false prophets, there were also true prophets like Jeremiah. The people of Judah had a choice as to which group would be their advisors. The same choice exists for us today, men. God will allow us to choose superficial healing promoted by those seeking their own glory. He will also put people in our life who can help us get to true rest and healing. They may say things that hurt, but in the end we will be saved. It’s our choice.