Headlong into Danger
Loving Father, You speak words of promise and I answer with words of praise. You are good and Your mercy is forever.
Consider: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22). Compare with 2:10. A reminder to keep our ears open to hear the voice of the Lord.
Jeremiah paints a sobering picture of Jerusalem. It is a city that lacks safety. That is why the people of Benjamin must flee (1). What makes it unsafe is that Jerusalem is filled with evil, and destruction is to be visited on it (1-5). The alarming thing is that even though oppression, wickedness, sickness, greed and deceit (13,14) are everywhere in the city (7), the people seem oblivious to the danger they are in. They should be rushing towards repentance and change, yet their response is one of complacency (14,15).
The problem for Jeremiah is that, in spite of the urgency, no one seems to be listening to his prophecy (10)--not even the priests or prophets. Judah's ears are shut and the whole culture has moved away from its relationship with God to ways of injustice and immorality. It's so different from the inspirational vision of Psalm 78:1-7, where people are urged to pass God's truth down the generations, so that those yet unborn would put their trust in God. Here, what is being passed down is sin and corruption.
The disaster coming to Judah is not only punishment for sin. It is the result of the people's violation of their identity, denying the truth of who they are as God's covenant people. When we apply this prophecy today, we must first apply it to ourselves in the church, for our own identity is as members of the body of Christ. Our calling is to integrity and truth. Before we can ever rebuke our culture for apostasy or destructiveness, we need to allow God's Word to convict us, so that we think and act as the people we are--Christian disciples--and are ready always to seek God's forgiveness and peace.
How might your identity as a Christian be challenged today? Confess where integrity and truth might be lacking, and receive God's forgiveness.
Merciful Father, I am reminded of my call to walk before You and others, with sincerity and integrity. Cleanse my heart and clarify my focus on You, and You alone.
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