Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.
Jeremiah 5:1 (NIV)
Read: Jeremiah 5:1-4
Consider: In the last post the question was asked: ‘Surely someone will listen!’. Surely there are people who will listen and not ignore God’s message of hope and forgiveness.
Jeremiah firstly considers the ordinary people of the city of Jerusalem and God gives him a challenge to find one person in the city who deals honestly and seeks the truth. If he can, then God will forgive the city. This doesn’t seem too difficult a challenge. Surely it must be possible to find this one person! However, while Jeremiah may be able to find someone who deals honestly, it would be more difficult to find someone who seeks the truth. An inability to find someone who seeks the truth puts what is said in chapter 6:10 into perspective. If the word of the Lord is obnoxious to the people, then it is little wonder that no-one seeks the truth.
This reminds me of Abraham when he was pleading with God for Sodom (Genesis 18). Abraham questions God and starts with 50, reducing to 45, then 30, 20 and finally 10. God says he will not destroy the city if ten righteous people can be found in Sodom. Unfortunately we know that Sodom was destroyed and can conclude that even this low number of ten couldn’t be found to save the city.
In Jeremiah 5, God cuts to the chase and goes straight for the lowest possible number of one. If only one person in the whole of the city of Jerusalem is found to be honest and seeks the truth, then God promises not to bring destruction on the city.
The question then must be ‘Is there anything else that could save the city?’ Recalling how God dealt with the people of Nineveh in the book of Jonah, we know that God decided not to destroy the city, despite Jonah’s protestations. What changed God’s mind was that the people responded positively to Jonah’s prophesy and as a result they were given the opportunity to repent of their evil.
Interestingly in the story of Jonah and God’s dealings with the people of Nineveh, we are told in Jonah 3:5 –
The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Having found that the ordinary people are ignoring God, Jeremiah’s prophesy moves on to the people in leadership; those that rule over nations and cities. Surely the leaders will listen! That is where we will start in the next post.
Pray: Father, we are conscious that the nations have turned their backs on you. The people have not been seeking your truth and we see your standards for living being set aside in favour of something that people find less demanding and more acceptable. Break through this indifference; pour out your Holy Spirit to bring about revival in our lands. Amen