Decadence and Decay
Draw me near to Your heart and help me to bring Your light to a world in darkness.
Read Jeremiah 5:14-31
 Therefore this is what the LORD God Almighty says: “Because the people have spoken these words, I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes.  People of Israel,” declares the LORD, “I am bringing a distant nation against you- an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand.  Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors.  They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust.  “Yet even in those days,” declares the LORD, “I will not destroy you completely.  And when the people ask, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’  “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah:  Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear:  Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.  But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away.  They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’  Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good.  “Among my people are the wicked who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch people.  Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful  and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor.  Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?  “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land:  The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end? Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn what ways does our society reflect Israel in the passage?
As faith is abandoned as the foundation of many modern societies, an important question arises: if not faith, then what else can provide a moral framework? Atheists and humanists insist that a society can be a healthy and caring one even without the foundation of faith. But Jeremiah disagrees–as, I would suggest, does the evidence before us today. In addition to the idolatry already highlighted by Jeremiah, as faith wanes other sins now become evident and are listed by the prophet. These include the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor (26,27); contempt for justice and the shameful mistreatment of the vulnerable (28); corrupt government and the abuse of authority (30,31). Jeremiah is clear: when a nation acts with complacency and its leaders and people forget they are answerable to God, there is inevitable social and moral decline. Decadence and decay are inseparable. Jeremiah refers to the fear of the Lord (22,24). By this he means the right worship of an all-powerful God to whom worship is due both as Creator and as one who keeps covenant faithfulness with his people (as implied in v. 25).
Consider what you fear. Do you fear to displease God more than others? Take time to pray and reflect.
Your Word says that to fear You is to hate evil. May I give no place to that which separates from You.
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