Todays readings.. 2 Samuel 1, Jeremiah 7, Matthew 18
How many ‘tell the truth and nothing but the truth’ when they are asked to swear in giving evidence in a court of law – or sign their name to a document that it is the truth of some matter? If it should incriminate them in some way, the ‘truth’ gets bent – even if it is not an outright lie. The politicians seem to set the example! We have what is sometimes called ‘doublespeak’.
Can God-fearing men and women be influenced by the attitudes that are all around them? Of course they can – and the only protection is whether their relationship with God is real – or not. If it is real – then they are strong in heart. Look how David ended the 31st Psalm, “The LORD preserves the faithful …be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD”
Our thoughts were provoked along these lines as we read ch. 7 in Jeremiah today. Very few years were left before God allowed the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem, the prophet can only speak a message of doom. God tells him, “you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished: it is put off from their lips … for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.” [v.28,29]
Let us try to sense in our hearts and exercise our imagination as to the ‘burden’ Jeremiah carried in trying to make God’s people aware that their attitudes had become so bad that their God had given up on them, disowned them! The few good people God could use, especially Daniel and his friends and Ezekiel had been among those already taken away into captivity to do work for God there – only Jeremiah is left among those who remain, he is to declare “truth has perished.”
He is even told, “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.” [v.16]
How comparable is this situation with our world of the 21st Century? It has not reached this stage yet – we hope – but godlessness is multiplying fast! In coming days we are going to read the words of Jesus in Matthew ch. 24, “…. Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” [v.12-14]
Let us follow the example of prophets such as Jeremiah and have a real relationship with God and then our prayers will be heard. We are to “stay awake” said Jesus, “for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming …” [v.42] Reading and meditating on God’s word is an essential foundation for staying awake.