Readings for August 18, 2019
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Jeremiah was physically stuck in the mud. In Israel, there were those who did not like what he was prophesying, and they plotted to convince King Zedekiah that he needed to dispose of Jeremiah. So the king had Jeremiah thrown into the muddy cistern, where he found himself stuck, and doomed to die.
The Jews of Jesus’ time were also stuck. They were subjugated by a foreign conqueror and they had been misled by the teachings and practices of the religious elite; and in the midst of these challenges, they had grown comfortable in their unbelief. Put another way, when it came to their calling to love and become closer to God, they were stuck.
But interestingly, Jesus did not call for a revolution against the Roman government, and he did not call for people to turn against the religious elite. Instead he called for revolutions within households. “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.” Importantly, it is not my government or my church who is responsible for my faith, but myself and my family. Jesus is calling for my brothers and sisters to hold me accountable in my faith, and I them.
Furthermore, Jesus is coming for our comfort zones and our complacency and our sense of peace, because Jesus doesn’t want his people to get comfortable, because faith is not comfortable. Faith sets my heart on fire and it pushes me to grow, so that I might find myself closer to God. Which is, of course, Jesus’ mission. He says, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” As far as Jesus is concerned, we will be pulled from the mud, however difficult and painful that separation might be, whatever miraculous acts it may take to stir up our hearts, because Jesus is all in to help us realize God’s own burning desire for our redemption.
And as a Christian, it is my duty to be all in as well. We who claim belief as Christians must take care not to become stuck in our own mud pits. A Christian belief is an active belief, led by the will of our Creator God. I must actively choose my faith every day, especially when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. Complacency leads to lethargy, lethargy to unbelief, and unbelief to sin. When I inevitably find myself stuck, I know that God will rain down His fire to get me unstuck. When He does, it will not be peaceful. And that’s okay. I am not here to experience earthly peace, but to praise and worship God through active an active and loving faith. I will have my chance for peace when I rest with Jesus, presuming in the meantime I actively, and uncomfortably, work to follow his example to do the will of God.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!