Ignorance Is Bliss?
Ignorance Is Bliss?
If I go out into the field, behold, those pierced by the sword! And if I enter the city, behold, the diseases of famine! For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land and have no knowledge.
Jeremiah 14:18 (ESV)
No greater evil can befall God’s people than to be served by ignorant teachers. When those charged with expounding God’s Word neglect their task and teach their own fabrications, the Church will decline as God exchanges blessings in Christ for curses.
Wherever Jeremiah looked, God had withdrawn His covenant blessings, thus fulfilling the promise of Deuteronomy 28:16. The land of abundance and plenty, security and rest, had become a place of famine, disease, and slaughter. Fields that once flowed with olives, figs, and grain now flowed with blood. There was nowhere to flee for safety.
The cause of famine was not to be found in ministerial incompetence within the Department of Agriculture. Military downfall could not be blamed on defense budget cuts or bungling generals. The source of the crisis was located with the preachers of God’s Word. Israel’s problem was ignorant teachers.
It was not that the priests and prophets were simply misinformed. Rather they maliciously peddled lies, proclaiming peace, and denying that sword or famine would ever come (v. 13). Yahweh had not sent them, nor had He told them what to say (v. 14). Yet still they came; their teaching was their own invention, tailored to suit what their audience most desired to hear. And so God’s judgment fell, in perfect retribution, as those who denied that sword and famine would come upon the land were themselves extinguished by those twin destroyers.
The prophets’ and priests’ lack of knowledge arose because Yahweh had not spoken to them (v. 14). Whereas Jeremiah had been taught of God (1:9) and spoke only that which God had commanded (1:7, 17), these teachers neglected God’s Word. Tragically, they continued to instruct God’s people. Their worthless words must have sounded sweet and plausible; in reality they brought the stench of death.
The reverse is true for the Lord’s prophet; his call for repentance seldom sounds sweet, but contains the very words of life. His petitions, like Jeremiah’s, will worry his enemies. As the mercurial Mary Queen of Scots once fretted, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than an army of 20,000 men.” Mary rightly realized her struggle was not against a man—but the God whom he represented. A nation’s safety or ruin pivots upon its response to the ministry of the army of one—the man of God.
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050