Jeremiah reaches out for refuge in God as his people suffer. Jeremiah trusts, even as he is filled with questions, that God is listening and that God cares. The prophet offers us an example of faithfulness in the midst of struggle and brokenness. Yet Jeremiah’s people offer a different example. Jeremiah writes:
Hark, the cry of my poor people
from far and wide in the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
Is her King not in her?”
(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?”)
Because of their suffering, the people are questioning whether God is present with them at all. They have turned to foreign idols. They have placed their trust and reliance on something other than God.
We have been taught that idolatry is wrong, that we are meant to trust in God alone. We know we are supposed to condemn Jeremiah’s people as wayward and faithless. But we make a mistake if we identify only with the prophet and not with the people in this passage. After all, how often do we root our sense of security in something other than God? We rely on money, our worldly leaders, and our routines. These earthly realities are not inherently bad, but when we look to them for our ultimate sense of certainty and comfort, we wander from a faithful focus and relationship with God.
This passage invites us to return our focus to God and to uphold our trust in God over and above our reliance on any earthly comforts or leaders. We need not question whether God is present; we know and believe that God is always with us.
Holy God, I know you are always faithful. Help me to lean on you in times of trouble. Amen.
Jeremiah, “the weeping prophet,” grieves for the plight of his people. They have provoked God’s judgment by following foreign gods, and now there is no comfort to be found. The psalmist cries out to God from a similar situation of despair. Foreign nations have overrun the land, destroyed Jerusalem, and killed many of its people. The psalmist cries out to God for compassion and restoration. The author of First Timothy gives his readers two commands. They should pray for and honor their leaders, and they should be faithful to the one true God, with whom they have a relationship through Christ Jesus. Jesus in Luke tells a strange parable about a dishonest manager who is commended for his shrewd business sense, but Jesus turns his story into a teaching about good stewardship.
Read Jeremiah 8:18–9:1. When have you called out to God in distress?
Read Psalm 79:1-9. As you search for solutions to life’s problems, how do you demonstrate God’s call to love and to justice?
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-7. How do you pray for your local, state or province, and national leaders with whom you agree? with whom you disagree?
Read Luke 16:1-13. How do you negotiate the complexities of Jesus’ call to be a good steward of your resources as you work to serve God rather than money?
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