“No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
It is easy in a judgmental society in the midst of a divisive period in our history to lose track of the bigger picture. God is working to save and bring life to everyone. It is an ever-widening vision of a God who reaches deep from within eternity to encounter us deep in the heart of history and life. In fact, the context of the verse above says that God will reach deep into our hearts – to the very center of who we are.
In Jeremiah’s time, God’s people were a total mess. Leaders were irresponsible and had no interest in doing what is right. In fact, King Jehoiakim who is mentioned in the text we have for this week literally takes the words that God has given the people on a scroll and tosses them in a fire to be burned. He not only has no interest in God – he seems to have a disdain for God.
But even in that moment God is not thwarted – God tells Jeremiah to write the words on a scroll again and persists in moving ahead, even without the cooperation of the leaders of the day.
So two things to remember as you reflect this week:
- In the times in which we find ourselves, the world is in crisis and there is no shortage of cynicism from both liberals and conservatives about the state of leadership dealing with it. Some think the current administration are irresponsible idiots. Others think the incoming administration are dangerous radicals. While we all have to hope and pray for leaders to be effective (and short-term our lives may depend on it) God is not stopped by bad leadership, even rebellious leadership like King Jehoiakim in the time of Jeremiah (this is not God’s first rodeo).
- God persists through these rough patches throughout history to keep doing what God does – bring life to the world. In Jeremiah’s prophetic words we hear God’s vision for this and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we see God’s commitment to this. God will do what needs to be done to bring redemption to the world.
So, while there is much to bemoan about the state of the world and all of us may have doubts about whether we have the leadership in place to navigate the crises we are in, the scriptures remind us that in Christ, hope is still very much here – and it always will be.