Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.
Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.
And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.
Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.
Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. Jeremiah 1:11-17
Even with the gospel, unfortunately, things sometimes “go with the territory”, as the saying goes. People “see” all kinds of things, and it goes with the environment they are living in. The “seers” in the more affluent West see different things than what those in less developed countries see.
It is highly unlikely, though, that many of these “seers” have the vaguest idea which direction God is headed in.
Listening to many of our local so-called gospel songs (sang by the aptly-named ‘gospel artists’), one hears the craziest things! Africans are generally a poor people and if they are not in the Spirit, they tend to “go with the territory”. In other words, they talk and behave according to the environment of poverty that they are living in. That is why the message of prosperity is so popular in Africa. Preachers of this gospel are the richest people in Africa because they have made money out of promising riches to a desperate and poor people, who in turn give all that they have into the church coffers, expecting to reap a hundred-fold in return!
People are seeing all kinds of things! One time I heard a local song that began with the words, “What are you seeing in the Spirit, my brother?”
That sounded pretty deep, so I sat up to listen. The singer had the answer to her own question, though. She screamed: “Say, ‘I am being lifted high! Like Esther and Joseph of old, I am being lifted up high! From the dust I am being raised to glory!’”
I have no grudge against gospel artists, but seriously, if they have to sing, they should just sing “Glory, Hallelujah!” and no more. They especially should not try to “preach”.
In the scripture above the Prophet Jeremiah saw many things. But here I will talk of only one of the things that he saw in the Spirit. He saw a rod.
What does that mean and what are the implications for the Church today? A rod means chastisement. That scripture means Jeremiah saw chastisement. In other words, he saw the cross of Christ. In his spirit he saw the crucified Christ and understood the message of the cross, just like the Apostle Paul would many generations later.
Jeremiah had seen well. He suffered much and he endured many things during his ministry.
When we are not on the right foundation we see what we want to see. We see all kinds of things. Another artist asked in one of his songs: “Why should I suffer when Christ is in me? Why should I have any trouble in this world? In Jesus’ Name, I command all problems to leave immediately! Right now!!” And you can hear people in the background literally going around the bend.
It goes with the territory, as I said. When we are poor, and we do not see in the Spirit, all we see is our poverty; and we begin looking into how Jesus can get out of our poverty.
If, on the other hand, we are well off financially and materially (and if we are spiritually blind), pride, arrogance and apathy become our bane.
But God has news for us, just as He had news for Jeremiah and the nation of Israel. Christians today are worshiping at the idols of materialism and the desires of the flesh. God’s servants are preaching a gospel of the flesh, for the flesh. God says He will punish them. But God in His boundless mercy always begins by punishing His servants, the faultless ones. This speaks of the true apostles and prophets in our generation who will have to suffer for the Church just as Jeremiah suffered for the nation of Israel. In other words, God always pays the price Himself! God begins by chastising His own servants.
The Apostle Paul tells the Galatians, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you”! Gal. 4:19
There are many people today who are calling themselves apostles and prophets, but they are not. They are counterfeits. You can tell them by the lifestyles that they live. These kinds of ‘ministers’ would not suffer for the gospel or for the Church. But a true apostle or prophet of God will suffer much for the Church.
It is clear today that the Church is working wickedness through the gospel of materialism that it is preaching. Someone has to pay the price to bring the Church back to God.
Just as Jeremiah saw a rod, the Church today will experience chastisement in order for it to return to a true relationship with God. That is why an understanding of the cross is so vital for the Church today. We need to embrace the revelation of the cross that Christ is bringing into the Church.
The gospel of prosperity, as it is being preached today, is simply idolatry. It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is one true gospel: the gospel of chastisement, like the one Jeremiah saw. That is the revelation the Church needs to catch today.