Daily Readings & Thought for July 23rd. “BECAUSE YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN ME”
Do you forget things? Yes, we all do – but rarely do we forget anything really important, but the vital question is, ‘What is important – to God?’ Our world has forgotten God, putting the thought that he exists out of their minds – in fact more and more people are becoming convinced that God does not exist!
There were parallels to this attitude in the days of Jeremiah. Think how parallel to today’s attitudes are to some of the statements God made to – and through – Jeremiah, the final prophet God sent to Israel. Today we read in his 13th chapter. “This is your lot, the portion I have measured out to you, declares the LORD, because you have forgotten me and trusted in lies … I have seen your abominations, your adulteries, your lewd whorings …” [v.25,27] Whorings means sexual misconduct and is often applied in the context of misconduct in worship.
And what was it that God had “measured out” to Israel? “I will scatter you like chaff driven before the wind …” [v.24] And, in the end, Israel has been scattered into just about every nation in the world!
Our chapter in Matthew (24) has sayings from the mouth of Jesus that are equally terrible about what God was about to do. His first action was the scattering of the Jews that had rejected their Messiah. But God’s ultimate action would be, said Jesus, on the world as a whole, for “the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” [v.14] Jesus says that not even he “but the father only” [v.36] knows when the “end” will come. He compares the “end” to the end of the world in Noah’s day “And they were unaware until the flood came” [v.39] and then it was too late! He stresses the need to be on God’s side as Noah was, when all the rest “have forgotten me” – showing this by the way they live their lives.
“Therefore, stay awake,” says Jesus, “for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” [v.42] you “must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” [v.44] Not just a “day” – but an “hour.”! The final verse in the chapter says those who are not ready – “I will put … with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Hypocrites!? Such people “know” – but their behaviour disqualifies them from a place in God’s kingdom. May none of us be counted among the hypocrites, may Jesus see us all as true believers.