Every time I read the Book of Jeremiah I am amazed at the things God told the prophet to do and how Jeremiah, even when discouraged, depressed and afraid, continued to do what God told him to do and proclaim the messages God gave him, when he had to have known it was going to lead to very challenging times for him. Jeremiah calls himself just a boy when God called him. But God told him that he had called him for the mission while he was still in his mother’s womb. He was one with a tender heart. Yet he was a man of boldness who spoke the message God gave him to proclaim to the people even when he knew it was going to bring rejection, not just of his message but of him and the desire to kill him.
In Jeremiah 5:1-2 God commanded him to “Roam about through the streets of Jerusalem, and look and take notice. And seek in her public squares, if you can find a person, if there is one who does justice, who seeks honesty, Then I will forgive her. And although they say, “As the Lord lives, certainly they swear falsely.” Let’s face it, Israel at that time was going through some great challenges, in many ways like all the nations of the world are going through right now. Can you imagine God telling you to search for a person of justice and honesty and if you can find such a person then He will forgive this nation and all of the sins, failures and lack of integrity? Does that really mean that that honesty, integrity and justice were so rare among the people of Israel that God knew that Jeremiah wouldn’t find such a person?
,How many people do you know that you would trust what they told you on anything they talked to you about? Is there anyone in the political world that you truly trust whatever they say? What about where you work? Is there anyone at your work that you so trust their honesty and integrity that whatever they tell you would be accepted without question or doubt? What if I changed it to would you trust completely that they were telling you what they really believed to be the truth? Would that be easier to accept? I know there isn’t anyone on this earth that knows everything correctly. But who do you know that you trust that they are saying exactly what they believe to be right and true all the time? What if we changed it from politics and work to the church? Who do you know at church that you totally trust what they tell you as being what they honestly believe is right in all situations? What about at home? Do you totally trust what your husband or wife or children or parents tell you is the honest truth as far as they know it?
God had both Jeremiah and Ezekiel to go searching for such a person. One part of it that I find challenging is that neither of them spoke up to say to the Lord, “What about me? Am I not such a person?” Perhaps both men knew that if they looked closely inside their own hearts you would find too many times they had failed to speak up for what is right or to stand for the truth when they saw it being abused.
While we certainly won’t reach perfection in this life, we can grow to be more and more like Jesus, more real, more honest, more people of integrity than we have been before. The truth is, we can’t grow in our own integrity as long as we are pretending we have arrived already. God, help us to be people who are real all the way to the bone. When we become pretenders, help us to see it and to turn from such ways to be the people you call us to be. Father, the next time I go searching for integrity, help me to start by looking in the mirror and being real with myself.