TO CHEW ON: “Thus says the LORD to this people;
‘They have loved to wander;
They have not restrained their feet.
Therefore the LORD does not accept them;
He will remember their iniquity now,
And punish their sins’ “ Jeremiah 14:10.
There is probably nothing that draws our attention toward or away from God like tragedy. Whether it’s the personal tragedy of sickness, death, or accident or mass disasters like flood, earthquake, fire, or war, when such things touch our lives we feel compelled to ask life's hard questions.
In our reading today Jeremiah describes horrendous drought conditions. There is no water anywhere. Man and beast alike languish (Jeremiah 14:1-6).
He links these physical conditions to the spiritual state of the land’s inhabitants - Jeremiah 14:10 (our focus verse).
As if that isn’t bad enough, God goes on to command Jeremiah not to pray for these people because even if they perform outward signs of repentance (fast, bring offerings) God knows that their repentance isn’t genuine (Jeremiah 14:11,12).
God is especially hard on the religious leaders—false prophets—who claim to speak for God but don’t (Jeremiah 14:13-15).
Back to us, we hesitate—maybe too much—to link difficult circumstances and tragedies to our spiritual condition. Maybe there’s a stronger connection than we acknowledge. For starters, we live in a fallen world where things devolve into chaos rather than evolve into order. Additionally, as citizens of nations that have, in effect, turned their backs on God, Christians are not immune from feeling the effects of God’s punishment on the countries in which we live.
Maybe the consequences resulting from spiritual hardness of sword, famine, and pestilence is one that should not surprise us, both personally and nationally (Leviticus 26:25,26).
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to search my own heart and keep clear accounts with You in good times and in bad. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.