Jeremiah 23:23-32
Trinity I
June 18, 2017
St. Paul’s Anglican Church

“Speak My Word Faithfully”

Truth is a rare commodity! It is always at risk! It always seems to hang by a thread… at least in our hearts and in our minds…

The talented poet, James Russell Lowell put it well.

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne…
But then he adds…
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

“You can only believe half of what you hear” counsels those wise among us… who then asks… “but which half will you believe?” And thus we are reminded in an instant of our need to love the truth… to cherish the truth… to defend the truth… and to keep the truth!

We can truly appreciate the pathos behind Alexander Pope’s famous observation that to err is human.

And my, but how close to home these words do ring! In our own days which are increasingly marked by “fake news”… “fake science”… “fake markets”… “fake religion”… and dare I say it — “fake Christianity”… “fake theology”… “fake worship”… “fake commitment”… one wonders if the t-r-u-t-h (truth) will ever be rescued from underneath mankind’s mountain of detritus and rubble!

Jeremiah has been termed the “weeping prophet” for good reason. He witnessed an avalanche of lies in his day (on the part of Israel’s false prophets) intended to bury the truth!

And just when we begin to think God on His throne in Heaven might not see everything going on… His voice thunders in the text before us this morning: Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? In other words, Do I not see what is going on, even from a distance? It is so obviously wrong. False prophets speaking their own minds and then adding the words: “Thus saith the LORD.” It is repulsive! No, it is worse – it is hideous… it is vile… it is nauseating!

The Almighty tells us something we should not soon forget. He that hath my word, let him speak my word… But that is not the entirety of His statement. The full sentence reads thus: He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.

This is certainly given for our own benefit – that we might not perish with those who are under the wholesale influence of lies. The old preacher from my boyhood would lament: “We are learning more and more about less and less, while learning less and less about more and more!”

This is certainly given for the benefit of others – who may not hear the truth except through you and me.

This is certainly given for the benefit of God Himself – Who strange as it seems – is counting on us to be the Jeremiahs of our own day… ready to stand in the breach and speak the truth! Or as I was taught growing up in the 50’s – to stand up and speak up and tell how the cow ate the cabbage! God loves to hear the truth. And so should we! It still pleases His ears, as of old.

He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.

Those who specialize in lies might do well to remember a famous figure from across the Atlantic over 70-years ago. And those of us who sometimes grow discouraged at the seeming strength and power and success of lies do well to remember the eventual outcome of lies!

Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) of the German Reich (or Empire), Minister for Propaganda and “National Enlightenment” was a false prophet in his own day.

It was he who immortalized the words, and I sadly quote them:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

This page from the devil’s playbook is one we forget at our own peril…

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

Through the media of education and communication, Goebbels convinced an entire generation that their leader was a veritable god… and that they were destined to be the “rulers of the world”…

But on May 1, 1945 the lie collapsed upon itself! Lies always collapse upon themselves! As Germany’s demoralized troops were retreating before Allied forces both east and west of Berlin, Joseph Goebbels and his wife, Magda, resolved to carry out a previously arranged plan of murder and mutual suicide – the companions of lies. They had all six of their children put to sleep with morphine, then poisoned them with cyanide. When Allied troops arrived, they found the pajama-clad bodies of the six children still in their bunk beds… and the charred bodies of Josepf Goebbels and his wife, Magda, nearby.

Such is the eventual outcome of all lies… Look long and hard at what you see… Such is the outcome of all who deal in lies… who cling to lies… who believe in lies… who make lies their refuge… who employ lies as a weapon… who tell themselves, “If I just keep repeating the lie… I then need not repent… I then need not reform…” Some people repeat the lie even as they depart this life… The last page of the Bible tells us that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire!

If you are familiar with the account of Jeremiah, this was the end that met the false prophets of his day. This was the end of the nation of Judah… It was the same end that met their humanistic dreams and falsehoods…

In our strange days in which torrents of new and unrecognizable lies sweep around the world by social media in just seconds… and accost us from multiple directions… and the Voice of the Godhead seems nowhere in sight – dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is a clear and welcome reminder to open the pages of your Bible and spend time there hearing His Voice each day…

Remember to heed the truth, for it is the rarest of commodities, indeed.

He that hath my word, let him speak my word… faithfully.

The future belongs to all such!

World without end. Amen.

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