Jeremiah speaks with such conviction!
We see the power of a prophet in Jeremiah’s passage for today. Some pretty unpopular words come from his mouth in his Temple Sermon – with many of the priests, prophets, and people in attendance.
Upon hearing him speak of turning their ways, they turned on Jeremiah. They “laid hold of him saying, ‘You shall die!’” They decide that he deserves the sentence of death because he has prophesied against them.
Jeremiah appeals to their senses and declares that it is the Lord who sent him, and filled him with these words. He declares, “Now therefore amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will change his mind about the disaster that he has pronounced against you. But as for me, here I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to do.”
Sometimes I marvel at Jeremiah’s spirit. We too live in a time when God’s ways are pretty unpopular. And I don’t see a whole lot of us sticking our necks out like Jeremiah did. His life was on the line!
One of the ironies of this passage is that Jeremiah is talking about how if they change their ways God will change his mind, and in the midst of this they actually change THEIR minds. He had decided to kill Jeremiah. But they change their minds.
It is the small glimmer of hope that many people miss when they read this passage. Already God is at work in their lives, molding them, nudging them, changing them.
How do we need to change our ways? We abuse the earth and its resources. We abuse one another in relationships, in our jobs, at the store. Are we really using Lent to change our lives? Or are we going about them exactly the same, feeling good about ourselves because we gave up chocolate for Lent?
Jeremiah speaks of something greater. He speaks of a time when our ways are God’s ways. I wonder if I wouldn’t be one of those temple priests asking for a harsh punishment for Jeremiah. None of us like to look at our lives under a microscope. None of us likes to be criticized.
But here it is. God demands self-examination, repentance, and the seeking of a better relationship with God and others.
Let’s do that today. Together.