Now the Preacher, how I’ll refer to the writer of Hebrews, takes our focus off the majesty of Jesus to give us a warning about own lives. Maybe you can recall a time in your life when you felt far from Jesus? The evil one lures us to drift away from God. Being reminded of that is so helpful.
We experience daily attacks from the evil one attempting to take control of our lives and make us forget about God. The Preacher gives us two paths to take to keep ourselves on track. We need to “listen for God” and “look for God” every day.
Is it easier to ask permission or seek forgiveness? I can remember as a youth wanting to do something that instinctively I knew my parents would forbid. So, if I were to go through with it, I’d be asking for forgiveness instead. That is certainly not easy! While I was a rebellious teen, I did try to ask for permission as often as possible!
In our passage today, we see the leaders seeking God’s input to their situation. The people approached Jeremiah and asked him to pray to God. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? But it was almost as if their fingers were crossed behind their backs. They were putting on a good show, weren’t they?
Hananiah’s story is a chilling example of what can happen to false prophets. Hananiah seemed so confident that the words he was speaking were from God. Was he just that conniving or simply misled by listening to something other than the word of God?
Whatever his intention or motivation, the people were happy to believe the message he was delivering. People like stories with happy endings. Even Jeremiah exclaimed, “May your prophecies come true! I hope the Lord does everything you say.” If only Hananiah had had it right.
Paul drops a lot of names here of fellow servants of Christ. Such a great group of believers with the same mission. The common goal was to make Jesus known and to nurture and encourage other believers. How familiar does that sound?
It’s clear that Paul wants to keep in touch. He has identified for the Colossians who they can turn to for help since he’s in prison and unavailable. Seeing the network of believers listed makes me realize how thankful I am for them. Their faithfulness has made it possible for us to know about Jesus!
God is illustrating how far his precious children have fallen. The people he describes don’t sound like they would be folks I’d want to hang around with. Who wants to be slandered or taken advantage of? What’s their excuse? “‘They do not know me,’ says the LORD.”
There are plenty of people walking around this planet that don’t know God. There are even people attending church every Sunday who are clueless about God and his character, much less his desire for their life. It’s tragic. Is there something we can do? Our churches should be safe places where we can worship God, hear the Word, and share fellowship with other believers.