Listen for Your Life
Father, many pulsing messages press in on me every day. Help me to tune to Your frequency, to hear Your voice.
Read JEREMIAH 19:1-15
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“If you are religious, it is easier to read some pious books other than the Bible. The Bible treats you like human life does, roughly” (Oswald Chambers).
Comrade Duch was responsible for the deaths of about 16,000 people in the infamous Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh. To walk round this nondescript building is to be overwhelmed by the suffering. On the day of writing this note, a news report says that Duch has sorrowfully asked the Cambodian people “for the harshest punishment” for his crimes.
Walk through today’s reading in similar awed silence. Observe the verbs: what society has done (from top to bottom—elders, priests, kings, people); and what Jeremiah announces that God will do. Be appalled. What is there to say? The smashed pot is beyond repair (11). Jerusalem is to become Slaughter Vale. The people’s evil (ra’ah in Hebrew) is to feel the full weight of God’s ra’ah (disaster, v. 3). Unspeakable rites will be matched with cannibalism; the city will become a rubbish dump, a cemetery. The judgment is final, enormous, decisive, unchallenged.
Reflect on the words “will not listen” and “disaster” which resound like mournful gongs through chapter after chapter of Jeremiah. Right down to the very end of Jeremiah’s ministry, when everything he has predicted has come true and he has been dragged down to Egypt, the people are still not listening (44:16). I use this chapter, not to sit in judgment, but to reflect on my own listening, my attentiveness to the voice of God. Obedience has its root in the Latin verb audire, to listen. An eagle’s freedom lies in the air, a whale’s in the ocean. My freedom lies in the will of God as an expression of his love.
From a young age we become experts in “tuning out” sounds which we do not want to hear. Ask for God’s help to pay attention to his voice.
Lord, my life can get so easily skewed. My relationships become messy. I have pressing obligations, and endless demands. Help me to seek Your will above everything else.
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