Daily Readings & Thought for July 18th. “PEACE, PEACE, WHEN THERE IS NO PEACE”
As we continue reading Jeremiah we see how uncertain the way of life surrounding him had become – just like today. The LORD says to him, “You shall say to them … they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?… everyone is greedy for unjust gain … everyone deals falsely.” [ch. 8 v.4,9,10]
At one stage Jeremiah himself becomes overwhelmed by the scene surrounding him and laments – people are hopefully, wistfully, “saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” [v.11] They are talking of how much peace is needed! This is surely both peace of mind, individually, and – a wider peace – for the nation – indeed, for the whole world. We add to this – ‘only when Jesus comes.’
Our thoughts go to the words of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” [John 14 v.27] Do we understand the “peace” that Jesus alone can give? Jesus went on to encourage his disciples (and us) by saying, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” [John 16 v.33]
We are in awe of the situation that developed around Jeremiah, he did not have the fellowship of others to strengthen him: he writes, ” My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me … I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me.” [v.18,21] Could this happen to any of us?
Finally, in our Matthew chapter (19) we read of Jesus’ encounter with a young man “who had great possessions” who asks him, ” “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” [v.22,16] He is obviously genuine about this; but he is thinking in terms of doing deeds, but he does not want to lose the ‘security’ of his possessions. After he goes sorrowfully away, Jesus comments “to his disciples, ‘Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom …’ ” [v.23]
Having riches does not result in a sense of “Peace” – often the opposite. Finally, let us reflect on the words of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” [John 14 v.27] We can add – for ourselves – today – ‘especially when our world is falling apart all around us.’ Let us make sure we have this kind of peace.