People have told me that they don’t watch the news or let their children view the awful violence that floods across the television reports. They choose to insulate themselves from all the negative influences—at least, as much as that is actually possible.
However, this approach is short-sighted. For readers of our weekly Updates, you know that we do report the news and that includes some things that are extremely unpleasant. This is a job which has been given to the Church of God, and it is a part of proclaiming the gospel which must incorporate a warning message of evil things to come. Included in the commission given to God’s faithful servants is this command:
“‘Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins’” (Isaiah 58:1).
This was the work given by God, and the prophet Jeremiah was among those chosen to deliver this message.
Following the rebellion of the House of Judah, God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to plunder their land and lead many of the survivors into captivity. They had been warned that their evil conduct would result in grave punishment from God, and it did! However, even while they were living as dispossessed slaves in Babylon, Jeremiah was inspired to send them a remarkable letter, in which God said:
“‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Jesus Christ came to this earth to bring a message of peace and hope to all of mankind, and His proclamation is called the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15). Jesus also lifted His voice like a trumpet and told the people of His day that they must repent and obey God. The gospel is the central message of the Church of God—as witnessed in Peter’s dramatic preaching on the Day of Pentecost (compare Acts 2:14-39).
That first generation of the Church lived to see the destruction of the nation of the Jews—including the demolishing of the Temple of God in 70 AD. Yet, the good news of the Kingdom of God was preached then, and so it is again to be preached in our time (Matthew 24:14)!
While we certainly must confront the shocking and deplorable age in which we live, we must never lose sight of the promise God has set before us! And not only for our benefit but for the future and hope of all of mankind—note what we are told:
“So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, FOR MY SAKE AND THE GOSPEL’S, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time–houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions–and in the age to come, eternal life’” (Mark 10:29-30).