Today’s readings.. (1 Samuel 29,30), (Jeremiah 5), (Matthew 16)
The word “faces” in God’s word is often used as a synonym for ‘minds,’ such as when ”the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face” [Exod.33 v.11] – and we see this today in Jeremiah. The prophet is bitterly complaining to God about the attitudes of mind he sees all around him.
“O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?” [5 v.3] But he does not find truth! God brings trouble on them, “but they felt no anguish … they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.” Jeremiah thinks there will be a different attitude among the rich, but there is not! “they are all alike … they have no sense … they do not know the way of the LORD” [v.5,4]
How parallel this is with the attitudes of mind that exist today! The people “’have been utterly treacherous to me’, declares the LORD. They have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us” [v.11,12] Today, the mature educated people sense the world’s future is going to be increasingly difficult, but they in no way sense that there is a Creator who is going to cause this – or make it worse.
Jeremiah is told to “Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah … Do you not fear me? Declares the LORD … your sins have kept good from you … They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice … Shall I not punish them for these things? … shall I not avenge myself …” [v.20,22.28,29] And God did avenge himself in the horrible destruction of the Temple and of all Jerusalem.
The chapter ends with a question we should ask ourselves. After observing “my people love to have it so” the LORD asks the question, “but what will you do when the end comes?” Do you know what you will do, for our world is so similar in so many ways to Jeremiah’s!
God’s word alone provides us with the answer – How “hard” is your “face”? Only our daily reading will enable us to fully absorb that answer – and the more we join together to discuss and more fully understand God’s word, the more that answer will become clear to us.