Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Where is the Lord?

Sometimes the unasked questions are more haunting than the asked questions.  Such was the case in the days of Jeremiah.  The priests were guilty of not asking, "Where is the Lord?"  In a time when the house of Israel was defiling the land and making God's inheritance detestable, there was an eery silence.  When the right people at the right time refuse to ask the right questions, wrong conclusions take root in the hearts of the people.

The priests of Jeremiah's day needed to firstly direct the question to themselves.  God, speaking through Jeremiah, says, "Those who deal with the law did not know me." There is no point in asking society a question that we have not even asked ourselves! Our willingness to introspectively address our own souls is a prerequisite to addressing the soul of society.  The only thing worse than unasked questions are questions that apply to everyone but ourselves.

Secondly, the priests needed to direct the question to the present.  It's easy to name sins of the past and indict previous generations for omitting the Lord from their midst.  However, it takes great courage and grace to be prophetic in the Today.  When we speak forth questions that reflect a heart after God, we embrace the risk of isolation, ridicule, vilification, relational strain, or misunderstanding.  Our understandable struggle with these realities often cause us to shy away from confrontation.  In so doing we opt for unity over truth.  But God compels us to speak the truth in love.

And thirdly, the priests needed to direct the question to the future.  Was anyone in Jeremiah's day concerned with the consequences of their "idolatrous commotion on the hills?"  Apparently not.  We are not the first society to be deceived by delusional living that is banking on the permanence of Today and the avoidance of consequence for Tomorrow.  We mock God when we erroneously assume that we can despise the Lord even in the Future. 

Despite all this, the love of God for us leaps off the pages of Scripture.  "Return, faithless people...for I  am merciful," declares the Lord.  Let's return to the Lord.  Let's be bold in our questions.  And may it not be said of us, "Where is the Lord?"

Ex nihilo,

R.J. Rhoden