The one who created us owes no explanation, but gives one nevertheless, and repeated warnings, along with every opportunity to repent, and that is the role of the prophet. A thankless job, Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet because his words are dreadful, "My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war" (Jeremiah 4:19).
Abraham's attempt to rescue Sodom from judgment began with, "Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city" (Genesis 18:24). Then forty-five, then forty, thirty, twenty, and, at last, ten. For ten righteous people, God would lift his hand of judgment. Jeremiah need only find one in Judah: "Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her" (Jeremiah 5:1).
Jeremiah found none; God's judgment is just, and turns creation on its head: "I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void;
and to the heavens, and they had no light.
I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
and all the hills moved to and fro.
I looked, and behold, there was no man,
and all the birds of the air had fled.
I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert,
and all its cities were laid in ruins
before the Lord, before his fierce anger (Jeremiah 4:23-26).
The job of a prophet, however, is not ultimately to pronounce doom, but hope, "to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant." (Jeremiah 1:9-10). For thus says the Lord, "The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end" (Jeremiah 4:27).
My God, You are love, bearing all things, enduring to the end. I think I put Your patience to the test, and yet Your grace perseveres. I deserve what I should get, but You took what I deserve and gave me life, a life eternally wonderful. Thank You.
The life You give me I return to You to be used as You direct. I want to be part of good news to the world. May I live daily grateful to You, gracious to others.