Daily Readings & Thought for July 24th. “THE DECEIT OF THEIR OWN MINDS”
We meditate on God’s words to Jeremiah that show why he does not respond positively to the prophet’s plea. The prophet had said to God, “Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O LORD, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you” [14 v.7]. The LORD responds, “Thus says the LORD concerning this people: ‘They have loved to wander … they have not restrained their feet; therefore the LORD does not accept them; now he will … punish their sins.’” [v.10] If we are focussed on God to direct our feet – by reading and believing his word – our Heavenly Father knows the intentions of our heart.
In Jeremiah’s time there are others who claim to be prophets – they are giving the people a false message. He says, “Ah, Lord God, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor will you have famine, but I will give you assured peace …” [v.13] We see a kind of parallel to this today, it is very sad. The memorial services that are held after the tragic death of people try to give, to at least some, the belief that their loved ones now have a new form of existence.
The LORD bluntly tells Jeremiah that these “prophets are prophesying lies in my name … a lying vision … the deceit of their own minds” [v.14] The true vision is clear in the words of Jesus we read in Matthew 25. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.” [v.31] Then will come the time of reward and punishment, we recall Jesus’ words we read in ch. 22 silencing the Sadducees for refusing to believe there would be a resurrection (v.23-30).
In today’s chapter Jesus spells out the reward for the faithful, for such as Jeremiah, those who show their faith by their priorities and work – now – “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” [v.34] This is echoed by Paul in writing to the Hebrews, telling them that those who truly love and serve God “all died in faith .. that they might rise again to a better life” [Hebrews 11 v,13,35] Let us all have minds free of deceit, a sure hope of “a better life” when we “inherit” a place in God’s kingdom soon to come on earth..