If you watched The Bible series earlier this year, go back with me to the episode where we meet Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah warns the King that if they do not turn from their ways, they would be overtaken by the enemy. Do you remember that scene? No one, even the King, took Jeremiah seriously even though he was speaking God’s truth. I remember after watching that scene, the perception that I had of this prophet changed. Since a young age, I have always clung to Jeremiah 29:11-13. I think you know the verse. It is cross-stitched on every pillow, framed in 32.0% of homes in America (I made that statistic up), and you could probably find it on 10 plus cars in our city (mine included). That verse is filled with hope and promise, so my view of Jeremiah was that he only spoke those kinds of words; the kind of words that are easy on the ears.
Yet, Jeremiah had a responsibility to the Lord. In our reading for today, we see that his responsibility was to speak the truth of encouragement and the truth of judgment. I think the truth of judgment is a harder pill to swallow, don’t you? Personally, I do not like to hear the bad stuff. I would much rather hear that cotton candy is going to be falling from the sky for breakfast and that it is going to be cloudy with a chance of meatballs for dinner.
However, as the people of God, we must take the encouragement as well as the hard truths. Our God is so merciful and I love how even in today’s passage there is still a glimmer of God's Hope.
“Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy you completely. [Jeremiah 5:18]
With our God, hope is never lost! Even in the midst of God’s justice, there will always be a dawn! God loves His people. He always has and He always will. He does not change, not one bit. He is the same yesterday, right now in this moment, and He will be the very same tomorrow! The reason God operates both in love and justice is exactly because of His great love! When we have to deliver a word, be it encouragement or of a hard truth, it is only because of the love of God! He does not want us to perish and will warns us time and time again to avoid that path.
Jeremiah had to deliver God’s truth. He was opposed, He was shunned, and no one took Him seriously. Yet Jeremiah spoke what God told him to speak.
Although I would rather be the one to deliver the encouragement and leave the harder stuff up to someone else, I know that I must be obedient to what the Lord would ask of me. There have been times this has occurred in my life and I have been tempted to remain silent. Ultimately, I desire to be obedient to God when it is easy, but most especially when it is hard. We can rest in knowing that the reason God asks us to do anything is all rooted in love! True love, God's love, speaks the hard stuff even when it is not easy.
Lord, we thank You for speaking Your truth to us out of the love You carry for us. Thank You for making us better, and for speaking both encouragement and the hard truths in love. Your plans really are to prosper us. Help us to embrace what You have to say. We thank You for the unstoppable flow of mercy over our lives. You're kindness is what leads us to You, Your goodness draws us to Your side.