Tuesday after the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Jeremiah 5:1-19 (NKJV)
1 “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; See now and know; And seek in her open places if you can find a man, If there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her. 2 Though they say, ‘as the LORD lives,’ surely they swear falsely.”
3 O LORD, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return. 4 Therefore I said, “Surely these are poor. They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the LORD, the judgment of their God. 5 I will go to the great men and speak to them, for they have known the way of the LORD, the judgment of their God.” But these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, a wolf of the deserts shall destroy them; A leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many; Their backslidings have increased.
7 “How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me and sworn by those that are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. 8 They were like well-fed lusty stallions; Every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the LORD. “And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?
10 “Go up on her walls and destroy, but do not make a complete end. Take away her branches, for they are not the LORD’s. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously with Me,” says the LORD.
12 They have lied about the LORD, and said, “It is not He. Neither will evil come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine. 13 And the prophets become wind, for the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them.”
14 Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts: “Because you speak this word, behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. 15 Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” says the LORD. “It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say. 16 Their quiver is like an open tomb; They are all mighty men. 17 And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread, which your sons and daughters should eat. They shall eat up your flocks and your herds; They shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; They shall destroy your fortified cities, in which you trust, with the sword.
18 “Nevertheless in those days,” says the LORD, “I will not make a complete end of you. 19 And it will be when you say, ‘Why does the LORD our God do all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them, ‘Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve aliens in a land that is not yours.'”
When one reads the words of today’s devotion, he might be compelled to think of the Lord’s plea recorded by the prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Is. 55:6-7).
In our text from Jeremiah the Lord laments the fact that, though He searches diligently, He cannot find a single man who seeks truth in all of Jerusalem. May it not be said of us that we took the grace of the Lord so lightly that we did not diligently seek truth, and Him, throughout our days. The Lord desires that all be saved, so if we are blessed to hear the Gospel, but yet turn away from the eternal truth contained in it, there is no one to blame but ourselves.
Like ancient Jerusalem in our text, we live in a land abundantly blessed by the Lord. Yet it seems to be ever more challenging to find a man who seeks truth. Rather than truth, the big pursuit today is for self-indulgent satisfaction and denial of guilt. It is always someone else’s fault, and many refuse to repent though we know all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God is forever gracious and merciful, but if we insist on rebellion and reject the truth, He has no choice but to judge us according to our self-proclaimed desire of not being His children.