Truth On Fire

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Great Tragedy

As the prophet Jeremiah closed out the 8th Chapter of his prophecy, he asked a series of rhetorical questions that juxtaposed two realities: (1) The God of Israel is SO NEAR at hand, and (2) Israel is SO FAR removed in its heart from her God. He asks: “Is not the LORD in Zion? [Yes, he certainly is!] is not her king in her? [Yes, he is very near!] Why have they [being in such close proximity] provoked me to anger with their graven images [man-made idols], and with strange vanities?” (Jeremiah 8:19). 

Then one of the saddest commentaries in scripture: “The harvest [reaping season] is past, the summer [growing season] is ended, and we [the wheat] are not saved [by being gathered into the silo of salvation]” (8:20). One of the bitter realities of the spiritual world is that the continual rejection of truth on man’s part makes it impossible for God to protect him. Those who persist in the rejection of TRUTH abandon themselves to the reception of ERROR. 

Jeremiah then bears his pastoral heart: “For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me” (8:21). Israel suffered from self-inflicted woes. So Jeremiah is ‘astonished’ they would endure such pain unnecessarily when the cure was IN THE HOUSE! The same could be said of America at this hour; enduring needless pain when the God of her founding stands ready to heal. 

He concludes with this inquiry: “Is there no balm [healing ointment] in Gilead [Yes, there is medicinal mercy close at hand]; is there no physician there? [Yes, the Doctor is in the house!] why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (8:21). The answer lies in the stubborn rejection of the Great Physician. Why people choose death when the Giver of Life is SO close at hand is a reality that defies explanation. 

My mind often races to the thief on the Cross, who, in the hour of his deepest HURT, had the healing BALM of grace applied as Jesus responded to his request: “Lord, remember me!” On that dark day outside Jerusalem, the Great Physician chose not to heal himself. But that did not prevent him from applying the BALM of mercy to a repentant malefactor and gathering him into the silo of salvation. 

This is the great tragedy of America. The Doctor is in the house; yet the patient has locked him out of the room.


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