Jeremiah was a prophet who didn’t pull any punches; I love reading his work for that reason. Jeremiah told it the way it was. He always spoke of the enormity of God, that the God who loved and cared for us was both a God nearby and a God far off; a God that filled both heaven and earth. Jeremiah railed against the number of false prophets, who cajoled the people with their dreams and lead them away from the word of fire that was spoken by our omnipresent God.
He lambasted those false prophets who would prophesy lies, and the deceit of their own hearts. He spoke against those who plan to forget the name of god; just as their ancestors forgot Gods name for that of Baal.
We still have an abundance of false prophets; but the fire of God’s word, like a hammer breaks a rock in pieces. It is that same God we call upon to quell the unjust and the false, the lies and deceit, when we use the Psalmists words, “Arise, O God and rule the earth, for you shall take all nations as your own.”
There are troubles in the earth we know, and since the days of Abraham and his descendants there have been the stalwart in faith who have lead the people and conquered kingdoms, administered justice, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging fire, won strength out of weakness and put foreign armies to flight. They were heroes of faith before the time of Christ. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel; their stories continue on even today as we are called to the same strong faith to deal with the falseness that invades this, our world of today.
Jesus, like God his father said, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled.” And he also said, “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, but rather division.”
Jesus was speaking against the false prophets in the Temple, and the religious rulers in Jerusalem, who controlled the lives of the people with their temple tax, and the demands of living according to the strict code of laws overseen by the established priests and Pharisees; laws which were impossible to keep.
He speaks today, to those who will listen, the same lessons. You are free from the lies and deceit of the false prophets who proliferate today. If your heart and love is with God; and you love your neighbor as yourself, you will see beyond the falseness offered by so many others. Amen.
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to email@example.com.