Jeremiah 16:20 Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!”
Unfortunately, God was so angry with His people in Jerusalem and Judah to a point He cautioned prophet Jeremiah not to even marry or have children in this land because He will bring plagues and deaths to the people there. This was written in Jeremiah 16.
Jeremiah 16 New International Version (NIV)
Then the word of the Lord came to me: 2 “You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.” 3 For this is what the Lord says about the sons and daughters born in this land and about the women who are their mothers and the men who are their fathers: 4 “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like dung lying on the ground. They will perish by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals.”
6 “Both high and low will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned, and no one will cut themselves or shave their head for the dead. 7 No one will offer food to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even for a father or a mother—nor will anyone give them a drink to console them.
From the beginning of the book of Jeremiah up until chapter 16, God has expressed His displeasure about the defiance and rebellious nature of His people. Not only have they violated God’s instructions to not worship other gods, they have also taught their children the same. This was pointed out in Jeremiah 16 where the children were even more wild and distant from God than their parents.
11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.
Suffice to say, it has been a scene of monkey see monkey do and when not contained or controlled, the consequences are more disastrous in the next generation than the preceding one.
Friends, the scripture gives us a perfect example of how our lives should be led and where we should take ourselves to when we have questions about difficult episodes.
The scripture also tells us how kings have lived and perished through their greedy and insidious ways of often chasing after the wrong things. Some parts of the bible also informed us about how great and peaceful life would be when we follow God. For example, the rewards of divine blessings are spelt out when we spend more time with the Lord because in doing so, we will be wrapped in His holy grace, mercy and love. But men often have other thoughts and they often distract us from our daily walk with Him to a point where we’ll just forget our relationship with God and begin chasing after our own selfish ambitions and lusty thoughts to fulfill our personal desires. This has brought on the kind of calamity that we now see in Jeremiah 16.
Tragic as it may have been, this life we see playing out now in Jeremiah 16 is a direct consequence of their very own doing. Is it the fault of the children? Let’s pause and think for a moment.
Parents have a large role to play for their children. Not only are we responsible for just their daily meals, hygiene, school and play but also in inculcating the right values and habits that can keep their walk straight when they grow up.
Clearly in Jeremiah 16, the worldly pleasures have eaten into the fabric of society and the moths of destruction have begun chipping away the holiness of these people’s lives. The trade off from a worldly pursuit of selfish agendas have replaced God’s guidance and directions. Instead of prioritising God as the living voice to champion our lives, we have inadvertently replaced Him with the voice of other visibly better packaged subjects and objects to show us the way. Will you not be angry if you were the father of such children since they are directing all their efforts in chasing the voiceless idols?
God doesn’t need us to be perfect for He is forgiving and merciful. He also does not require us to be an angel at all times knowing that we are human, not God. We are only asked to be more Christ-like, not be Christ himself. But in so doing, it does mean we are to obediently follow His principles of loving and caring for our neighbours and friends just like we love and care for ourselves.
At the point of writing, we are raising a 15 years old teenager at home and inevitably, with the loud pounding of the mass media and popular polls, public opinion has often time and unfortunately taken over God’s opinion as the highest authority. We as parents as such have our personal struggles while facing the questions and the thinking patterns that have encroached into our daughter’s mind, as have other children in other families. But should we throw in the towel and let her be as she desires? The academically sound answer is no but only God knows how far to the limits have such trials pushed us to. And to be honest, we see ourselves attempting to pull her back on track almost daily so God is not replaced by fame, likes, followers and empty friendships forged by the acceptance of a new follower on the widely celebrated apps.
Will we succeed in pulling her back or shaping her future so we will not witness Jeremiah 16 being played out all over again? I believe the onus is on us, the parents. If we can display how faithful we are to the Lord through our daily walk, habits, conversation style, use of the holy vocabulary and loving a soul as Jesus would, I sincerely believe it will penetrate into the cranium of her skull and take root in her brain and immerse in her vision and subsequently conquering her soul and being. But if we are often hostile, irritable, unfair, deceitful, disrespectful and distasteful in the way we treat others, then this monkey will undoubtedly go out of control knowing full well that the older monkeys have broken all principles.
I pray that if you’re a parent reading this, you will work at your walk with God and show your children the way one should carry themselves in life. I pray for God’s holy wisdom be with you, in Jesus name, Amen!