“To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.”
Now did you hear that last phrase? This is an indictment of God’s people through the prophet Jeremiah. They take no pleasure in the word of God. The whole picture here is Jeremiah’s trying to warn them of judgment that’s coming, and the people don’t want to hear it. They’re not listening. They’re hard toward that word. It’s an object of scorn to them. And they take no pleasure in hearing what God has said. In fact, a couple of verses later, Jeremiah talks about how people love hearing news of peace. Peace, peace, when there is no peace. They still want to hear it.
God help us to hear the clear message of judgment due sin and to rest in the finished work of Christ.
And, I think about this. I use a devotional in my Bible reading most days that is written by D.A. Carson, and he was commenting on this passage. And he says, “Most of the religious leaders in this circumstance are not addressing the sins of the age and seeking to reform the people of God. Rather, they are giving soothing talks for busy people, above all avoiding things like judgment and punishment.” I hear that, and I think, “That’s not just Jeremiah’s day. That is totally our day.” How common is it, even in the church, for people to hear soothing talks as busy people that avoid themes like judgment and punishment? We don’t like hearing themes like judgment and punishment.
Just encourage us. Peace, peace, when there is no peace. Now obviously, yes there’s peace in Christ. Yes, there’s joy in Christ. Yes, there’s all of these good things in Christ. But they all flow from the Gospel. And the Gospel, before it’s good news, it’s bad news. We are sinners before God. We need to repent of our sins. We must turn from our sin. And without that news of judgment, we’ll never understand the news of grace and mercy and love and peace that are found in Christ.
So God, help us to have ears to hear your word. God, help us to hear your call to repentance. God, help us to hear the clear message of judgment and punishment due sin all throughout your word, inherent in the Gospel. God, help us to hear that, help us to preach that, help us not to gloss over that. And then as we hear that, God help us also then, yes, to hear of your grace and your mercy and the peace that’s found in Christ. But God, we pray that you would deliver us from soothing talks for busy people that avoid themes like judgment and punishment.
God help us to take pleasure in your word, in all of it in the way it confronts us and the way it comforts us; in the way it rebukes us and in the way it redeems us. God we pray that you’d help us to receive your word in all of its fullness, with the totality of its message. Oh, God, make us a people who take pleasure in all of your word, we pray, in hearing it and responding to it and obeying it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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