The Bible calls them false prophets and diviners. Today we call them liars. And yet, even when we know they are lying, we give them the center of attention. “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” (Adolph Hitler — and certainly epitomized the truth behind the “big lie.”)
Jeremiah 29:8-14 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.10 For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (NRSV)
[Scripture quotation from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]
Musing with Jeremiah 29:8-14
This is the insistence* that comes in the name of the God of Israel: don’t pay attention to those who claim to have it directly from the mouth of God. They are charlatans, deceivers of the worst kind. Don’t pay attention to their scheming dreams. They are simply having nightmares. God’s calling is quite different. Yes, you may have to endure a time of alienation from that which you desire in the name of God. Perhaps. But stick with what you know to be God’s genuine calling. That calling is an invitation into the Commonwealth* of Peace and Justice, an invitation to be fully Human*, which is the only true hope for the future. When you respond to that insistent beckoning, you will be living in concert with all that can be truly identified with the name of God. Perhaps*. When that is what you desire, you will find it at every turn and in every person you encounter. Instead of searching for God, know that will have become present through your very actions. Search instead, for the truly Human*. That is God’s insistence / calling for each of us. Exile and alienation are the direct result of abandoning the insistence* that comes in the name of God. Perhaps*. To be restored to your full Humanity*, to citizenship in the Commonwealth* of Peace and Justice, simply requires that you listen to that unheard calling that resonates within you and respond in the name of God by attending to the widow, the orphan, and the stranger in your midst. Invite them into your life and you will experience, through them, the presence of grace, mercy, and peace in the name of God. Perhaps. Then you will know that your exile and alienation are over.