Devotion and Prayer for Week of August 18, 2013

Meditation for the week of August 18, 2013

 

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.”    Jeremiah 23:16

 

With all of the troubles in this life, we love to hear of something to give us hope.  It warms our hearts to hear stories on the news about people doing good in the world rather than evil.  It makes us feel good when we see someone find a twenty dollar bill, and rather than keeping it, they give it back to its original owner.  All of these things restore our faith in humanity, and give us hope that we’re not so bad.

I remember in the days following September 11th, 2001 how often the news showed images of all the people who came to help the victims and the families of the victims of the attacks on the twin towers.  It truly was heartwarming to see the outpouring of goodwill from everyone toward the people of New York.

Unfortunately, when we hear that such things restore our faith in humanity, we are being filled with a vain hope.  Our ultimate hope isn’t in humanity.  This isn’t to say that it’s a bad thing for people to rally around each other in times of crisis and emergencies.  We absolutely should, and that’s a good thing for us to show love and care in those times.  However, why is it that it takes crises and emergencies like this for us to rally together?  Why is it that it takes terror to unite us?

Later in Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah writes, “Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”  Our Lord’s Word, especially His Law, and His commands explain to us why it takes a crisis to unite us.  His Word tells us that we are sinful.  As we look at His commands, we see how badly humanity fails to keep them.

Our Lord calls us to love, Him, the One True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our strength, and with all of our mind.  He also tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are called to do this perfectly.  But His Word shows us that we don’t do this perfectly.  Not only does humanity as a whole fail to do this, but we as individuals fail also.  No one does this, as we should.  And so our Lord’s Word is a like a hammer.  It breaks us to pieces.  It takes our vain hopes in humanity and dashes them against the rocks.

Of course God doesn’t do this so that we will be hopeless.  He breaks us to pieces so that He can put us back together properly, and He has done this in His Son Jesus.  In Jesus we see where our true hope lies.  He is the one who has loved God perfectly and has loved His neighbor even more than Himself.  He has loved each and every one of us more than Himself, dying for us, suffering the Hell that we should suffer, but rising again to new life, so that we would live forever with Him.  There is a real hope.  A hope that isn’t vain, a hope that’s eternal.  Amen.

 

Our Weekly Prayer

Lord God, Heavenly Father, this world is filled with vain hopes, yet You sent Your Son Jesus to save us and give us the true hope that is the hope in You.  Bless us always to hope in You and trust in You alone.  Bless us to trust not in ourselves.  Through Your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever.  Amen.