Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Jeremiah 15:1-9 (NRSV)
Then the LORD said to me: Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! And when they say to you, “Where shall we go?” you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD:
Those destined for pestilence, to pestilence,
and those destined for the sword, to the sword;
those destined for famine, to famine,
and those destined for captivity, to captivity.
And I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, says the LORD: the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the air and the wild animals of the earth to devour and destroy. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what King Manasseh son of Hezekiah of Judah did in Jerusalem.
Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem,
or who will bemoan you?
Who will turn aside
to ask about your welfare?
You have rejected me, says the LORD,
you are going backward;
so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you—
I am weary of relenting.
I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork
in the gates of the land;
I have bereaved them, I have destroyed my people;
they did not turn from their ways.
Their widows became more numerous
than the sand of the seas;
I have brought against the mothers of youths
a destroyer at noonday;
I have made anguish and terror
fall upon her suddenly.
She who bore seven has languished;
she has swooned away;
her sun went down while it was yet day;
she has been shamed and disgraced.
And the rest of them I will give to the sword
before their enemies,
says the LORD.
These verses seem harsh to us, and probably were to those who first heard them. There will always be verses in the Bible with which we struggle, but there is a message for us in those words and we must seek to understand it and find the truth in scripture.
We live in a very individualistic society, which tells us to focus completely on ourselves. Following that logic, we do not share the benefit of accomplishments or the punishment for disobeying with anyone else.
The people of Israel were seen as a single unit, as a nation rather than individuals. God judged Israel as a nation, holding everyone accountable for the actions of the nation. When you consider how the actions of even a few people can have such a widespread effect on others, God’s judgment of Israel doesn’t seem very fair. However, everyone has a voice and a responsibility to stand up for what is right. Even if we cannot change the behavior of others, we are still to be an example of the love of God for them. Be the example. Be the light of God shining in the dark places.
Lord God, help us to be the light in your world. Whatever you need, wherever you need us, we will go gladly. Thank you, God. Amen.
Go with God.