Today’s readings.. 1 Samuel 29,30, Jeremiah 5, Matthew 16 

We quoted these words at the end of our thoughts yesterday.  They were the words of God to Jeremiah. What was it that God’s people loved to have in a certain way?  God said, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land; the people prophecy falsely and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so” [Ch.5 v.30,31]

Why would the people love to have it this way?  In earlier verses we read more of God’s complaints about the attitude that had developed among his people, “They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God.’ ”[v.24]  They had not appreciated that he provided the “rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain.”  God further says, “their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich” [v.27].  That is, they had gained their riches through exploiting others. There are so many parallels with similar attitudes in this 21st Century. Human nature has not changed in 2500 years!  So often wealth is built up by clever dealing, manipulating the stock market, so that trading is often no more than gambling, so much “wealth” today is not the result of honest labour.

There is no fear, that is, no awe of God, the great Creator.  Worse still, as we quoted above, “the priests rule at their direction” many who parade themselves as being in the service of God bring a false message to those who hear them, such as ‘your loved ones are still alive, they are in heaven looking down on you.  They also say, God is totally a God of love, he always forgives however you live your life – once you are saved you are always saved!  

Jeremiah laments about those who “have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us… ” [v.12].   In a later chapter Jeremiah says, “the LORD is with me as a dread warrior, therefore my persecutors will stumble … O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and mind … to you I have committed my cause.  Sing to the LORD; sing praise to the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of the evildoers.”  [20 v.11-13]  May we have the same spirit as Jeremiah.   

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