How do you think Jeremiah felt when talking about his fellow prophets in such a way? Do you think he was glad God exposed their sinfulness? Do you think he feared for his life for saying such things?
In our recent readings, we have seen the focus on the corrupt kings and their role in the demise of God’s people in Judah. Here, we see there are other players “getting their hands dirty.” “For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets that wickedness has filled this land.” That’s a bold statement to be sure!
Paul knows Christ-filled living is not easy. He wants to encourage us with these verses. Believing and trusting in Jesus is the difference between whether we’re dead or alive. That’s the message Paul is confirming for this new congregation.
Being a Christ follower is not for the faint of heart. Paul gives us a concrete example of what we can do to be strong. “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.” What an illustration. Can you picture yourself being built on Jesus? What does that look like?
It’s inevitable. We are going to sin. But how far do we have to fall before we realize we need help? Are we as blind as God’s “flock” that we can’t see our own destruction happening before our eyes? Who do we blame for our predicaments? Don’t be in denial about your weaknesses as you read through this. Jeremiah tells us what we can do. “Give glory to the Lord your God before it is too late.” Acknowledge him. Listen and pay attention to his voice.
When we read through Scripture, we shouldn’t just read the words but let them percolate a little and speak to our hearts. It’s easy for us to look at what’s happening in Jeremiah’s day and dismiss it as “just history.” But history does repeat itself as we’ve seen time and again. The situations may be different, but the motivations remain the same. People continue to be separated from God because of their sinfulness.
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.
Were you surprised by the second chance God offers here (or maybe the umpteenth chance) to repent. It’s almost as if God is in denial because he does the same thing over and over expecting different results. Hoping for different results. God doesn’t want to give up on the possibility that his people will repent and do the right thing.
That’s a beautiful thing when you think of it. But like any loving parent, God often overlooks behaviors because of the intensity of his love. Do you think God still looks the other way, or is he still hoping we’ll do the right thing.