On occasion, we actually realize the truth about ourselves. Too often we easily shrug off our iniquities as small infractions; we're as not as bad as the other guy, or not as bad as we could be. Yet sometimes when everything has piled up and it seems inevitable that people are going to find out that our lives are not as well put together as we try to outwardly show, we finally break down. In the moment that we finally take a good, long, critical look at ourselves we discover WE are the ones who have messed up. Then there is only one thing to do: call upon God.
We find ourselves here when the world, and our own word, seems to condemn us. But thankfully those words are followed by a word that we crave to hear, and hopefully hear often: "You are special, not because of what you do, but simply because you are mine." That word is the one that brings refreshment.
God, you know I have messed up. It seems like I do that pretty well. But I remember your promise that no matter what, I am still your child. You promised to never take that away. It looks like I have to hold you to that, God. Amen.
Desert Cross Lutheran Church, Tempe, Ariz.
Master of Divinity, 2008
Jeremiah 14:7-19 (NRSV)
7 Although our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name's sake; our apostasies indeed are many, and we have sinned against you.
8 O hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler turning aside for the night?
9 Why should you be like someone confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot give help? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not forsake us!
10 Thus says the Lord concerning this people: Truly they have loved to wander, they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them, now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
11 The Lord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people.
12 Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt-offering and grain-offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.
13 Then I said: "Ah, Lord God! Here are the prophets saying to them, 'You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you true peace in this place.'"
14 And the Lord said to me: The prophets are prophesying lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.
15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name though I did not send them, and who say, 'Sword and famine shall not come on this land': By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.
16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword. There shall be no one to bury them--themselves, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their wickedness upon them.
17 You shall say to them this word: Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease, for the virgin daughter--my people--is struck down with a crushing blow, with a very grievous wound.
18 If I go out into the field, look--those killed by the sword! And if I enter the city, look--those sick with famine! For both prophet and priest ply their trade throughout the land, and have no knowledge.
19 Have you completely rejected Judah? Does your heart loathe Zion? Why have you struck us down so that there is no healing for us? We look for peace, but find no good; for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
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