I like to write about things that are uplifting and encouraging. This is only day 4 and I happened to land upon a text from Jeremiah! Today’s Lectionary reading is Jeremiah 6:1-10. The passage is a warning for the people of Jerusalem that invasion and destruction lay near. We all remember poor Jeremiah, a prisoner in a hole in the ground. The rulers and people who were profiting by the current regime in Jerusalem did not want to hear what he said.
Jeremiah told the people about the city of Jerusalem, “there is nothing but oppression within her. As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her wickedness” (vs. 6c&7). This was a culture that reveled in wrong-doing. A quick glance at the magazine covers in the check-out line of the supermarket reveal striking parallels. The difference between our culture and theirs lies in verse 10.
“To whom shall I speak and give warning,
that they may hear?
See, their ears are closed,
they cannot listen.
The word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn;
they take no pleasure in it.”
They would not listen to the word of The Lord. They rejected God and His prophet over and over. Period. That lead to their downfall. When God sent Jonah to Nineveh the people in that city repented, listened to the word of The Lord and God saved the city from destruction. This is by no means the only instance in the Bible where God saved a people who were doomed because they listened to Him and changed their ways. As God told Jonah He didn’t want to see people,cities and even the animals living in them destroyed.
Certainly, there are people in our culture who reject the Bible, but there are vast numbers who do not. It is not an object of scorn to most. It is true that too many don’t really take time to read it. However, it is not only the best-selling book of all time, but also the most popular app of all.
This morning I think that is the point. I did not want to write about a text from Jeremiah, because it is depressing. I did write this because reading the whole of the Bible gives us a perspective we could not achieve only reading the happy parts. Some parts of life leave us feeling like Jeremiah, in a hole in the ground. Those parts add depth and character to us. We grow strong and focused through adversity. We don’t want to let ourselves get so consumed with the “good life” that we forget about eternal life.
Today I recommit to listening to the word of God. Cheerful or despairing it all leads me to be uplifted since it shifts my attention onto my need for my Savior, Jesus Christ. As I wrote yesterday, my focus on my own needs and wants leads me from true devotion. Jeremiah reminds me of why it is so important that Jesus went to the cross for me. As the old hymn says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is shifting sand.”
Blessed Savior, you went to the cross to set me free from my mistakes. Help me to live anew, restored to turn my attention off myself and back to you. Let me listen to your word, all of it, with fresh eyes, seeing your forgiveness and promise of salvation. You are my hope and my joy. Amen.