When the Word of the Lord and the Word of God Collide With the Witness and Warning














Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in the first eighteen verses of the second chapter. When I read the words of the prophet Jeremiah in this particular set of verses—words which aren’t the words of Jeremiah, but the words of the Lord of hosts—I can’t help but hear the tremendous cry that is contained within them. As I read and meditate upon the words which are recorded in this passage of Scripture, I can’t help but hear the tremendous anguish and sorrow that is contained and wrapped up within them. This portion of Scripture begins and opens with these words—“Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying”—words which indicate that the Lord wasn’t done speaking. When the first chapter concludes and the second chapter begins, we immediately recognize that there was more the Lord of hosts desired to say to and through the prophet Jeremiah. The Lord wasn’t don’t speaking to and through the prophet Jeremiah, for He desired him to speak and cry out all the more to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah. When we read the words “moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,” it is necessary that we recognize the Lord still had more He desired to speak to His chosen people who as of that moment in time still dwelt within the land of inheritance. What we read in the first chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah dealt exclusively and specifically with the prophet himself, as the Lord revealed unto him His plan, His purpose and His calling upon his life. The second chapter, however, marks a powerful transition in the prophetic writing of Jeremiah, for the Lord now begins to speak to the prophet concerning the house of Judah—the southern nation and kingdom which not only was separated from the northern ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel, but had also watched as the northern kingdom of Israel had been invaded and taken captive by the Assyrians. When the prophet Jeremiah began prophesying in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, the northern kingdom of Israel was lying in ruins and rubble, as the Assyrians had come and gone. The northern kingdom of Israel was no more, for the capital city of Samaria had been taken, and the inhabitants of the land taken captive into the land of the Assyrians.  

When the prophet Jeremiah began prophesying, the southern kingdom of Judah had more than just the words of the book of the Law of the Lord which were read in the hearing of Josiah king of Judah. When Jeremiah began prophesying according to the word of the Lord during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah king of Judah, the southern kingdom of Judah, and the city of Jerusalem had both the prophetic word of the Lord, as well as the living witness and warning of the northern kingdom of Israel. When the book of the Law of the Lord was found in the house of the Lord, there was a tremendous witness that was present within the southern kingdom of Judah. The first witness and warning that stared straight into the face of the southern kingdom of Judah was that of the northern kingdom of Israel’s captivity into the land of the Assyrians. This witness was met with and accompanied by the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah, whom the Lord raised up from among the prophets in Anathoth. The third and final witness and warning was the rediscovery of the book of the Law of the Lord in the house of the Lord. THE WITNESS AND WARNING! WHEN THE WITNESS AND WARNING OF CAPTIVITY MEETS THE PROPHETIC WORD OF THE LORD! WHEN THE WITNESS AND WARNING OF CAPTIVITY MEETS THE REDISCOVERY OF THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF THE LORD! By the time the book of the Law of the Lord was found in the house of the Lord, the southern kingdom of Judah not only had the witness and warning of the northern kingdom of Israel, but they also had the witness, the warning and the word of the prophet Jeremiah. I do not believe it was any coincidence the book of the Law of the Lord was rediscovered in the house of the Lord, for the book of the Law of the Lord only confirmed the witness and warning that was already present in the earth. When the book of the Law of the Lord was found in the house of the Lord, it not only confirmed the witness and warning of the prophet Jeremiah, but it also confirmed and explained the witness and warning of the northern kingdom of israel. WHEN THE WITNESS AND WARNING IS EXPLAINED BY THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD! WHEN THE WITNESS AND WARNING IS PROCLAIMED BY THE WORD OF THE LORD! By the time the book of the Law of the Lord was found in the house of the Lord, the southern kingdom of Judah not only had the word of the Lord (the prophetic word spoken through the prophet Jeremiah), but it also had the word of God (the written word of the Lord as displayed in the book of the Law of the Lord). WHEN THE WORD OF THE LORD AND THE WORD OF GOD MEET THE WITNESS AND THE WARNING!

I can’t escape the reality and concept of the word of the Lord and the word of God meeting the witness and the warning manifested in the earth. The warning to the southern kingdom of Judah first came through the example of the northern kingdom of Israel, which had been taken captive into the land of the Assyrians. The warning of the southern kingdom of Judah would be confirmed through and by the prophetic word and ministry of Jeremiah, whom the Lord took from among the priests and ordained to be a prophet unto Him. The warning of the southern kingdom of Judah would further be confirmed—and even explained—when the book of the Law of the Lord was rediscovered in the house of the Lord. At this juncture, I can’t help but wonder if the rediscovery of the book of the law of the Lord isn’t the final witness and warning which is manifested in the earth prior to the judgment of the Lord. I am convinced that what so stirred and so moved the heart of Josiah was not simply the words which were read from the book of the Law of the Lord, but how those words bore witness to what the prophet was speaking, and what Josiah knew had occurred in the northern kingdom of Israel. It might very well be said that just before judgment is about to strike and befall a nation, the Lord will allow His word to be rediscovered and manifested in the earth once more to confirm the prophetic word which is being spoken, and the witness of history. WHEN THE WITNESS EXPLAINS HISTORY! When the book of the Law of the Lord was rediscovered in the house of the Lord, it not only accompanied and bore witness to the prophetic word of the Lord, but it also confirmed and explained what had taken place in the northern kingdom of Israel. I believe that what so pricked the heart of Josiah king of Judah wasn’t merely the words recorded in the book of the Law of the Lord, but how those words confirmed and explained what had taken place to the north in the land of Israel. When the words of the book of the Law of the Lord were being read to Josiah, undoubtedly he considered how the northern kingdom of Israel had been taken captive and now lie in ruin. I would dare say the Lord of hosts deliberately and intentionally allowed the book of the Law of the Lord to be rediscovered as a third and final witness and warning to the southern kingdom of Judah prior to judgment befalling both Jerusalem and Judah. The Lord allowed the book of the Law of the Lord to be rediscovered in the house of the Lord, for it would further confirm both the prophetic word of Jeremiah, and the witness and warning of the northern kingdom of Israel.

THE WORD AND THE WITNESS! WHEN THE WORD AND THE WITNESS ARE CONFIRMED BY THE REDISCOVERY OF THE WORD OF THE LORD! WHEN THE WITNESS OF THE PROPHET, THE WARNING OF A NATION AND THE WORD OF GOD COLLIDE IN THE EARTH! There is not a doubt in my mind that when the book of the Law of the Lord was found in the house of the Lord, the word of God, the word of the Lord, and the warning of a nation all collided in the southern kingdom of Judah. When the Lord brought Babylon up against Jerusalem and Judah, He didn’t do without warning to and warning against both city and kingdom. At one point in time, the southern kingdom of Judah had the warning of Israel, the word of the prophet Jeremiah, and the word of God contained in the book of the Law of the Lord all present in the midst of it. Consider the tremendous witness that Josiah king of Judah brought to the southern kingdom of Judah after he had launched a campaign for holiness unto the Lord within the land. “Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: AND HE READ IN THEIR EARS ALL THE WORDS OF THE BOOK OF THE COVENANT THAT WAS FOUND IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments, and His testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. AND HE CAUSED ALL THAT WERE PRESENT IN JERUSALEM AND BENJAMIN TO STAND TO DO IT. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 34 :31-32). Please don’t miss the two distinct phrases and descriptions that are found in this particular portion of Scripture, for within it we not only find Josiah reading in the ears of all Judah and Benjamin the words of the book of the covenant of the Lord, but we we also find him causing all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to make a covenant to walk after the Lord. The book of the Law of the Lord was first read in the hearing of the king of Judah, yet the words contained within that book weren’t just read in the hearing of the king of Judah, for the king would take those words and read them in the hearing of all Judah and Benjamin.

Consider Josiah’s response to words which were contained within the book of the Law of the Lord which was found in the house of the Lord—“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying, Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book. And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Hulda the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they speak to her to that effect. And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou headrest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself befor eme, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before m; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again” (2 Chronicles 34:21-29).

Perhaps one of the most profound truths which surrounds both Jeremiah and Josiah is that both had to live with the warning of the Lord concerning the southern kingdom of Judah. Even though Josiah’s heart was tender before the Lord upon hearing the words contained within the book of the Law of the Lord, Judah and Benjamin would still experience the judgment of the Lord. The Lord spoke through Huldah the prophetess and declared to Josiah that He was going to bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that were written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah. Both Josiah and Jeremiah share one thing in common, and that is that they were both warned of the impending judgment that was going to befall the southern kingdom of Judah—Judah and Benjamin alike. Josiah heard the words of the warning which were contained within the book of the Law of the Lord, yet didn’t just hear the warnings contained within the book of the law of the Lord, but also heard the confirmation of those words of warning. Josiah heard the words which were contained in the book of the Law of the Lord, and discerned that great was the wrath of the Lord, which was poured out upon the kingdom of Judah. Josiah clearly understood that their fathers had not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that was written in the book of the Law of the Lord. Not only did Josiah hear the words contained in the book of the Law of the Lord—words which revealed the curses that would befall the heritage of the Lord—but Josiah also heard the confirmation of those words, as the prophetess declared the Lord’s intention on releasing His wrath upon the southern kingdom of Judah. Despite Josiah’ campaign for cleansing and holiness, and despite his call to celebrate the Passover in the land, he still spend his days living with the knowledge that the Lord was going to bring judgment upon both land and people. Jeremiah also lived with a similar knowledge within his own heart and mind, as the Lord continually and repeatedly warned him concerning judgment which would befall the southern kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem. WHEN PROPHET AND PRIEST LIVE WITH THE WARNING OF THE LORD! Both Jeremiah and Josiah lived with the witness and warning of the Lord, as Josiah encountered the word of God, while Jeremiah encountered the word of the Lord. The Lord brought the word of God to the king, and brought the word of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah. At one point, both the political leader of the nation, as well as the prophet to the nation received warning from the Lord concerning the judgment of the Lord which would befall the kingdom of Judah and the city of Jerusalem.

I can’t help but consider what the lives of both Josiah and Jeremiah were like as both of them lived with the witness and warning of judgment was revealed. We know that Jeremiah faced the tremendous weight and burden of the witness and warning of the Lord, as he was often times known as “the weeping prophet.” In fact, there is an entire Old Testament prophetic book entitled Lamentations that is essentially the heart’s cry of Jeremiah—the anguish, the sorrow, the travail, the weeping and mourning that so gripped and consumed his heart and soul. Jeremiah was one who continually lived with the warning of the judgment of the Lord—warning which he could not keep to himself, but was required to proclaim and declare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah. Josiah heard of the great wrath and evil the Lord was going to bring upon this place, yet he was also given the promise that he would not see the wrath and evil which the Lord purposed to bring against that place. Josiah would die and go the way of his fathers, and the wrath and evil of the Lord would come in the days and generation of his son(s). What’s more, is that in addition to hearing the words contained within the book of the Law of the Lord, and in addition to the words which were spoken by the prophetess Huldah, Josiah also undoubtedly heard the words which the prophet Jeremiah spoke and declared in the land. For Josiah personally, he not only encountered the words of the book of the law of the Lord, but he also encountered the prophetic witness of Huldah and the prophetic warning(s) of Jeremiah. For Josiah, the words which were contained in the book of the law of the Lord were confirmed by the prophetess Huldah and by the prophet Jeremiah. The Lord sent witness and warning to the southern kingdom of Judah through the example of the northern kingdom of Israel, through the discovery of the book of the Law of the Lord, and through the prophetic word and ministry of Jeremiah. There was absolutely no excuse for Jerusalem, nor Judah, for they were clearly warned ahead of time and in advance by the Lord. I would dare say that Josiah’s campaign for holiness and righteousness in the land was not so much about turning away the Lord’s wrath and anger, but rather as a witness and testimony of the wickedness and iniquity that was found within the land. Even though the Lord would bring judgment upon the southern kingdom of Judah, there would be a great cleansing that would sweep through the land prior to its release. First came the cleansing of the land during the reign of Josiah, and then would come both the rest of the land through captivity and exile, as well as the cleansing of the temple by fire which was cast into it. I would dare say that Josiah’s actions within and throughout the land would completely cleanse the land prior to judgment, for when the Lord would bring evil upon the land, the land would begin to be purged of the great evil that was contained within it. There would still be evil and wickedness in the land during the days of Ezekiel the prophet, yet Josiah would bring about a tremendous cleansing prior to judgment.

CLEANSING BEFORE JUDGMENT! I find it absolutely incredible that Josiah’s actions didn’t deter, nor did they prevent the wrath of the Lord upon the land, but rather, his actions brought cleansing to the land. In essence, the Lord raised up and used Josiah to bring cleansing to the land—a cleansing which would precede judgment! WHEN CLEANSING PRECEDES JUDGMENT! I can’t help but wonder who among us in this generation will launch a campaign to bring cleansing within and throughout the nation, yet even with that being said, I do not believe that cleansing can or even will deter the wrath, the judgment and the evil which the Lord has purposed to bring against this nation. In fact, I would argue that sometimes cleansing is in and of itself a witness and testimony of the judgment and wrath to come. Josiah’s campaign for cleansing and holiness only confirmed the evil and wickednessness which had so consumed and saturated the land. It might very well be said that the rediscovery of the word of God and even the cleansing of the nation were both in and of themselves a witness which confirmed the judgment of the Lord upon the nation. WHEN CLEANSING STANDS AS A WITNESS TO JUDGMENT! I am convinced we dare not miss the importance and significance of the days of Josiah and Jeremiah, for despite Josiah’s actions within and throughout the land, both Huldah and Jeremiah prophesied the judgment, the wrath, the evil which the Lord had purposed upon the land would still be poured out and manifested. When we come to the second chapter of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, we find the Lord declaring of Jerusalem that He remembered them, the kindness of their youth, the love of their espousals, and how they went after Him in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. WHEN THE LORD REMEMBERS! WHEN THE LORD REMEMBERS THE DAYS OF INTIMACY! The Lord was essentially proclaiming and declaring to Jerusalem His remembrance of the intimacy, the communion, and the fellowship of Jerusalem during the days of her youth—how she went after Him in the wilderness. The Lord remembered at one point when Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and was the firstfruits of His increase. Let me ask you this question—Is the Lord asking this of you right now? Is the Lord declaring to you that He remembers the kindness of your youth, the love your espousals, and how you used to go after Him? I REMEMBER WHEN YOU USED TO GO AFTER ME! I REMEMBER WHEN YOU USED TO COME AFTER ME! I remember when you couldn’t wait to enter into my courts and bring your worship before me. I remember when you used to come to my holy altar to present yourself as an offering, and to bring your offerings unto me. I remember when you couldn’t wait to enter into my presence and seek my face. I remember when you couldn’t get enough of me—of my presence, of my glory, of my word, of my Spirit.

WHAT INIQUITY HAVE YOUR FATHERS FOUND IN ME, THAT THEY ARE GONE FAR FROM ME, AND HAVE WALKED AFTER VANITY, AND ARE BECOME VAIN? Pause for a moment and let the words contained within that question sink into your heart and spirit this day. WHAT INIQUITY HAVE YOUR FATHERS FOUND IN ME? Look beyond just the words that are found in the King James Version of the Scripture and hear what the Lord is really asking. What iniquity have your fathers found in me? What fault have your fathers found in me? What wrong have you perceived I have done to you? What offense have you somehow found in me? In what way(s) have I offended you? There is not a doubt in my mind that this question must be carefully examined in this generation, for there are a number of men and women whom the Lord is asking this question of. There are countless men and women whom the Lord is right now asking what wrong they have found in Him. There are men and women who are living with tremendous offense before the Lord as they feel the Lord has somehow and some way wronged them. The Lord very pointedly asked Jerusalem what iniquity their fathers found in Him that they had gone far from Him, and had walked in vanity. It is absolutely and utterly amazing how much offense can cost us, and where offense can bring us within our hearts and lives. If we aren’t careful, we can become offended with the Lord, and can even feel as though the Lord has somehow wronged us. Does this describe you right now at this very moment? Do you find yourself offended with the Lord? Do you feel as though the Lord has somehow done you wrong and has committed evil within your life or against you? Can you hear the anguish, the sorrow, the hurt and the pain within the heart of the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah? Jerusalem had reached the point where they no longer asked for the Lord who brought them up out of Egypt, nor for the Lord who led them through the wilderness—through deserts, through pits, through drought, and even the shadow of death. Oh that we would read these words and thoroughly examine our hearts and lives and see if we have somehow grown and become offended with the Lord of hosts. The Lord is even right now pleading with a people who have allowed themselves to grow and even remain offended with Him because they feel as though He hasn’t fulfilled or met their expectations. The Lord is pleading with, the Lord is contending, and the Lord is calling out to those who right now have found fault and wrong with Him—with His actions within their lives. Oh that we would read these words and allow ourselves to come to terms with our own sense of self-entitlement before the Lord, as if the Lord should somehow meet our expectations and demands. Let us this day come to terms with the witness and warning the Lord is releasing in the earth in this generation, and even within this nation. Let us hear what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking to the church this day—at this very hour and in this very generation.

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