Wed, 10 March 2021
(Jer.7:23-28; Ps.95:1-2,6-9; Lk.11:14-23)
“They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.”
The Lord calls His people to “listen to [His] voice,” to “walk in all [His] ways,” that they “may prosper.” But with whom is there obedience? How many harden their hearts against Him!
Of the people of Jeremiah’s time the Lord says, “Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.” They, as all, should “bow down in worship” and “kneel before the Lord who made us,” but they, as we, do not recognize that “He is our God, and we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides.” They pay no heed to the voice of the prophet.
And this hardness of heart is fulfilled in the opposition of the faithless to Jesus. In our gospel He casts out a devil that a dumb man may speak and some say, “It is by Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that He casts out devils.” Indeed, the hardness of heart does not get any greater than this. (And so for this sin against the Holy Spirit and His ways there can be no forgiveness.) They call good “evil” and presume that the evil they speak is a good – but they are utterly lost in darkness. “The reign of God is upon” them, and they desire to dwell in the realm of the devil who is being cast from their midst. What can save such a soul? For all prayers the Lord answers.
Brothers and sisters, it is a dark world and a difficult age in which we dwell. But the response of our hearers is not our concern; we must speak as called regardless of the reaction – we must live our vocation despite any opposition. Note the Lord’s words to Jeremiah: “When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.” For as with all the prophets, and as with ourselves, he speaks to “the nation which does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction.” To these it is our duty to call; to darkness we must bring light. And realize, too, the fate of Jesus, who will die on the cross for His work to bring salvation to the world. It is this same cross to which we are all called, for it is by this same cross we have been called; and those who are yet to be gathered in must hear our voice. Let us stand with the Lord and gather in His grain, despite the stiffened necks we might find. There shall be others like us who hear the cry of Jeremiah and cling to the saving power of Jesus. Test Him not with your own hardness of heart.
O LORD, let us be saved from torment
by walking in the way of your risen Son.
YHWH, let us not be wayward souls, separating ourselves from you and the nourishment you offer; for we shall but wilt and fade if we put our trust in the passing things of this earth – we shall but die if we fat our bellies and become bereft of your Spirit.
Jesus let us follow, LORD, for upon your will alone He set Himself. Your Word let us meditate upon both night and day that we shall remain in your presence always and walk ever in your ways. You reward the faithful soul with the blessings of your House but can only cast the wicked man far from your table of grace.
Let us not be rich in the things of this world nor turn our sights to what is evil. Upon your love let us set our sights, that our hearts might be purged of all insolence, of all sin against your goodness. And let us reach out a helping hand to those in need of your water, that all might have life this day in the Holy Spirit.