Daily Readings & Thought for July 26th. “AND WE WILL BELIEVE …”
What is the evidence that leads to belief? Well it depends what is the object of belief – the urgency of our minds in searching for evidence to convince us of belief! For some it is the opposite, the searching for evidence to convince their disbelief: this is seen most clearly today in those who do not want to believe in a Creator. In God’s wisdom he has allowed for us to need a degree of faith, the need for us to put together the evidence – and then appreciate how it all dovetails together.
Our meditation on this arose from today’s reading of ch. 27 in Matthew and the dreadful account of the unjust trial and crucifixion of Jesus. They had seen and heard of so much evidence of the remarkable God-given heavenly powers that Jesus could exercise, also, if they had really known the words of the prophets, they would have realized the clear evidence that Jesus was their expected Messiah. The climax of the determined scepticism came when “the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself … let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in him.” [41,42]
What does it take for us to believe? Just as important if not more so, do we possess such a conviction of belief that it makes a profound difference to our way of living? Our chapter in Jeremiah today (16) provides a very interesting piece of evidence to encourage the faith of Jeremiah. He is told, “the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt’, but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them, ‘For I will bring them back to their own land …” [v.14,15]
That this refers to more than the return from Babylon 70 years later is made even clearer in v.17-18 “ … afterward I will send for many hunters and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill …” Then we read a wonderful prayer by Jeremiah in reaction to this vision of the future, ‘O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, for to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: ‘Our fathers have inherited lies, worthless things …” [v.19]
Let us echo Jeremiah’s prayer and say, “O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble” … we do believe in your Son O LORD, we wait to see the wonder of your revealing of yourself to Israel, we are increasingly sure the time is near when, as God’s words at the end of our chapter state, “… I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD.”