Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Jeremiah was sent to Judah to warn the people of the coming wrath of God for their sins. The entire city of Jerusalem, the temple, the walls, all the buildings—everything would be destroyed. NO ONE who escape the judgment.
Sometimes when I read the Old Testament I find the destruction of nations to be staggering and the total annihilation of people incredible to imagine. Just how bad could these people have been to bring about such punishment?
But then I read this passage and get a better idea as to why God was so grieved.
“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,
look around and consider,
search through her squares.
If you can find but one person
who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
I will forgive this city.”
Now this got my attention for two reasons. One, if not a single person in this city of thousands was honest and looked for truth, something was fundamentally wrong with the culture, celebration, education and lifestyle of these folks! Not one person was honest! Good grief—no wonder God was so dismayed with them. Is there anything so annoying in a family or band of friends than to have to deal with one that is dishonest and a constant liar? It eats at the very fabric of a family, club, fellowship or office. Stealing you can often spot, but lying is one of those things that only God can see—-and He truly hates it.
Jeremiah does not say that God will punish Jerusalem because they are dishonest and don’t seek the truth, but simply that it is so bad and no one is honest! Without getting political, I sometimes wonder if it is possible to run for a high office in the USA and truly be a man or woman of impeccable honesty and truth. Please forgive me if those words offend a politician reading this blog, but it’s not only not lying that God demands, but also seeking the truth.
Secondly and paradoxically, I find it interesting that no one came to the salvation of Jerusalem. God, who cannot lie, would have saved the city if one person of character had come forward. But there was none….
And what if I was there at this time in history, living and dwelling among people whose very habit was to lie, deceive and avoid truth. Certainly, and sadly, I would have been no better. In fact, save for the fact that Jesus Christ redeemed my life forty-five years ago I, could be quite comfortable right now, here in 2017, living as bad or worse than these folks did. And that is not to say, of course, that I am any better than the worst of them. No, but I was forgiven by the One who does deal honestly and showed me the truth: Jesus, the Son of God.
One man could have saved all of Judah by simply having been an honest and trustworthy man. 2000 years later another man saved the world by meeting that requirement of being truly pure and holy man. He wasthe divine One from God, the One who could serve as the sacrifice for the rest of us.
In light of what He has done, ought not every one of us at camp, or church, or in Washington, DC, or Paris, or Bogota, or Mexico City or Beijing also be people that cannot be corrupted into lying, deceiving and defrauding? Many of us bear the name “little Christ”, i.e. Christian, in a cavalier manner. Jeremiah would have something to say were he walking amongst us.