Jeremiah: out of the pit

We are approaching some very unstable years in numerous Western nations. Always an interesting time for those with prophetic ministry. A time to prophesy hope – hope is certainly spoken in the Scriptures in the context of oppression. Yet hope is not spoken without an acknowledgement of the threats, indeed hope was spoken because the threats were obvious. The hope went well beyond an ‘all will be well’ message, and not all will be well in these coming days. There is always a path through, but the path through is seldom ever the path around – it is a path through. If we genuinely embrace the land then we will also experience the pain of the land (Israel’s experience of bondage in Egypt is the bondage of the land due to our corporate sin), and the pain of the land has to be embraced.

I recently had a dream where I was taken to a specific nation and in a main arena a well-known attested prophet was holding forth. The space was filled with no room for any other perspective or word to come forth, although there was a seemingly verbal acknowledgement of others; eventually this person moved from simply speaking to shadow boxing. It became very evident that this was denigrating into a show, nothing of substance taking place but plenty of entertainment. I left with Gayle and we went into a side-room where it was apparent that a person who was committed to bring through a next generation prophetically was totally engrossed in themselves and how powerful they were. We could only spend a short while observing that, as again we knew this was going nowhere productive.

When a nation (city / region) is under threat and those threats are more or less obvious to all who have sight and ears and also the prophetic becomes locked inside the fortress then the words that come will almost invariably be regarding breakthrough. I think of the warnings Jesus gave that were into that very scenario. Jerusalem surrounded, but in that context ‘false prophets’ arising (false does not necessarily mean inaccurate). In the Jerusalem context a process unfolded of words released of deliverance and calling for trust in God, and then miraculously the deliverance came – Rome had to withdraw as back in Rome it was plunged into Civil War (68AD – the year of the four emperors). Deliverance; believe the prophets and you will prosper! However, we know that what followed was not a deliverance but quick destruction.

The voice that is silenced in that time is the Jeremiah voice. These past days I am calling for the Jeremiahs who have been silenced, who have been put in the pit, to come forth. Your voice is not a negative voice but one of sight and faith and who will enable people to live the other side of trauma, to live in a new context, to live not calling for the shalom of ‘Jerusalem’ but learning to prosper in ‘Babylon’, praying for the shalom of that city. It is not a prospering from Babylon but prospering in the city. Yours is the voice of hope, hope through the valley that we enter where our paradigms get pulled apart never to come together again in the same way.

There is a shift coming of enormous proportions. Borders being redefined, greater movement of the tectonic plates, and even Civil War within an established nation, with what could almost be some form of enactment of Civil War taking place on the governmental floor.

In coming days I want to write about borders and boundaries. They are ever so important as wrong boundaries is one of the simplest of strategies to obscure God. For now, Jeremiahs arise. You will be raised out of the pit and for a season and have an unusual freedom to speak.

A text I have read

Ever read Scripture and then come across a text that you have not read before. Maybe I was reading it in the NIV and so it read differently (I am not competent to comment on the Hebrew translation). Here it is:

We were with child, we writhed in labor,
but we gave birth to wind.
We have not brought salvation to the earth,
and the people of the world have not come to life (Is. 26:18).

I know some translations push toward the idea that Israel had not been victorious in the world, maybe indicating a lack of military prowess. However, I thought what if something is creeping through in this verse as the purpose of Israel, not one of being ‘saved’ and others damned, but of being the means through which salvation was to be made available to the non-covenant nations? So that those within the nations who in turn truly find God could be the means of salvation expanding? In Acts we read of the amazing gift of God to the non-Jewish nations: the gift of repentance (thinking) to LIFE.

OK the text might not be clear but I do like Jeremiah, I think way ahead of his contemporaries. There is a big ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem’ theme that is present in the OT. Classically expressed (and loved to be quoted by the ‘come let us pray’ people):

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity (Ps. 122).


Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper (Jer. 29:7, emphases added).

The similarity is amazing… and the context delivers us a marked contrast! I do wonder if Jeremiah was light years ahead of his contemporaries, or maybe more in touch with Israel’s call. I wonder if he even thought the idea of a promised land was a compromise, and like Paul much later, understood that the promise to Abraham was not a piece of real estate but the whole world? After all it was promised that as far as he could walk and see would set the boundaries, and given that promise included his descendants, I wonder if Jeremiah sneakingly thought now that we are in Babylon (even though it is cos we have not been very good!) we might be able to really get hold of this vision that any prayer for Jerusalem is small-minded. I kinda think that his critique of the prophets who came prophesying what the people wanted to hear, was a critique of them saying ‘we are being persecuted, we can’t sing our songs in a strange land, but God will restore us to safety, we will once again be mighty and rule…’

Of course I read Exod. 19:5,6 as so key. Israel as a priesthood for the world, the means of salvation, the means of blessing coming. Maybe it was understandable that Israel fell into ‘we are the people, the others are the outsiders’… but the people who follow Jesus?

I will respond to the book I am reading of the ‘strange death of Europe’… A vision from the past for Israel in Exile would be, we got to repent, God will restore us, and back to Jerusalem we will go… A vision from the future I think begins with, the past is gone, it was never sufficient to get us into the future, our sin has got us to this point, let’s repent that a deeper sin was going on of exclusion. Babylon is our home.