Sunday, June 26, 2011

When Even God Gives Up

Jeremiah 15:1-21

Jeremiah finds himself at rock bottom and levies some serious complaints. He pities his parents and curses his own birth. He accuses God of injustice in terms just short of blasphemy. Apparently the people had put so many barriers between themselves and God that it was too late to avoid the consequences. God tells Jeremiah that there's no point in even praying for the people any more (11:14) and that not even Moses or Samuel could fix this mess. Even toward the faithful Jeremiah, instead of comfort, God tells him that things are about to get worse.  He says Jeremiah has been running with men, but he's about to run with horses and that he fell down in a safe land, but just wait until he gets to the jungle (12:5). Destruction is coming in every area of life. Cheery thoughts, huh?

Jeremiah knew from the beginning that his call would involve destruction and rebuilding (1:10). It's a continuing cycle of humanity. The "prosperity gospel" is right about half of the time. There are rewards for faithful living. There are also random acts of tragedy. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and sometimes the wicked prosper. There are consequences when our choices reach the tipping point into disaster. It seems we would have learned by now that the rules of cause and effect are a little fuzzy when it comes to moral issues. So why worry about faith? Is God playing dice with the universe after all? It seems to me that God is showing us a bigger picture -- one beyond a basic eye-for-an-eye relationship. If we could determine the rules, then someone would figure them out and publish them in an academic journal for theology and we'd be done with it. But it doesn't work that way. We have to keep seeking unity with God based on the increments of spiritual knowledge that He give us. It's an eternal process of asking and receiving, seeking and finding, and knocking on closed doors. God doesn't leave Jeremiah without hope for restoration, but He also doesn't give hope that any earthly restoration will be permanent. The injustice that we see around us is not a flaw in God's plan, but a hint that we need to be looking beyond our nose for the truth.

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