Saturday April 9, 2011
Concerning the prophets: My heart is crushed within me, all my bones shake; I have become like a drunkard, like one overcome by wine, because of the Lord and because of his holy words. For the land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course has been evil, and their might is not right. Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their wickedness, says the Lord. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall; for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, says the Lord. In the prophets of Samaria I saw a disgusting thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a more shocking thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from wickedness; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah. Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets: ‘I am going to make them eat wormwood, and give them poisoned water to drink; for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.’ – Jeremiah 23:9-15
At first glance, this seems a rather dark passage, without a glimmer of hope! It is hard to believe these are ancient writings — what is spoken of can be found right here, right now in our modern times. Sometimes it is disheartening to see history repeat itself.
In this season of Lent, perhaps we can be encouraged to look for deeper meanings. Looking inward, are there places where the light of truth needs to be shined, so we do not walk in lies? The rebuke in this passage should shake us to our core – beware the false teachers, the lying prophets, and those who use God as a cover for personal gain or hidden agendas!
God will surely bring forth wrath upon evildoers and those leading His people astray. And yet, there is hope in this passage. God sees everything! Even those times when we are distracted or our eyes are turned away from the Lord.
Even when our faith is weakened, or the path has become slippery and muddy. God sees, and cares, and calls us back. God provides us with strength, and healing, and a feeding of truth. Our hope is in the name of the Lord!
Heavenly father, my spirit is grieved by the false messages that continue to distort your word among us, even today. Breathe your word into our spirits and allow your words to sink deep within us. Echo in us only truth. Renew our minds so that every thing we say and do is edifying to you. Allow our actions to express you Lord as we strive to faithfully serve you. Amen.
Tammy Serrano is a longtime McCormick staff member working on the fundraising team. She was married last summer and her daughter began at Hope College last fall.