Lord and King, sweep my life clean and make my life new. Hear my resolve. Heal my unresolve.
Read JEREMIAH 22:1-30
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.
“Don’t ask for ease. Don’t ask for manageability. Ask to be given a burden for a challenge bigger than yourself, one that will make a difference in the world” (John Ortberg).
Jeremiah continues to speak to and about the king of Judah, whether named or not. One factor that has led to the imminent defeat of the house of David at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (25) is that the kings have become careless about justice. The health of a society may be judged by its treatment of the vulnerable, and the standard is clear (3). These kings have become more focused on spacious rooms in their palaces built on the backs of forced labor (13) than on expansive provision for those who cannot care for themselves. These priorities were fueled by idolatry (9), as they always are.
There are a range of idols behind the selfish use of resources, and one of them is a desire for security. The royal house sought the security (21) of generous living conditions (23) and reliable international allies (22). Despite Jeremiah’s persistent warnings, these things continued to look like the path to maintaining the good life—but they were not. There is nothing wrong with the fundamental human desire to feel safe and well provided for and to plan for a secure future, but life is uncertain. Any idol, anything in which too much hope is placed, can let us down. Palaces become ruins; societies disintegrate. Only the sovereignty of God over all that he has made is certain.
For the last kings of Judah, the tragic consequences of their misplaced trust would be alienation and loss of identity as they are exiled from their land and lose the throne of David (26,30). The loss of a sense of who we are is the final outcome of misplaced trust. We in the West, who know more about physical security than any people in history, do well to listen to the words of Jeremiah on that score.
Acknowledge before God points at which your own desire for security is in danger of becoming an idol.
Powerful Lord, all around me nations and alliances tremble, cities crumble. Help me not to curse this darkness but light candles of help, hope, and healing.
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