Pentecost 3: “Justice!”
June 21st, 2020 – Jeremiah 20: 11
May you receive from our Father the good you have not deserved, not receive the bad, and may you have peace with Him through the blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Doesn’t that make you mad?
Some things can just make you mad when you think about them. Things that are unfair and unjust can really get your blood boiling.
For example, this black lives matter movement. Doesn’t it just make you mad that a movement like this even has to exist? Why does racism even exist causing people to hate one another based on how they look? That is unfair. It should bother us that racism even exists. According to the Small Catechism racism directly violates the 5th commandment.
What is also unfair is what has been added to the Black Lives Matter movement. Spoiler alert, it has nothing to do with black lives mattering. On the “what we believe” page of the official blacklivesmatter.com website, along with supporting that black lives matter, is added the following belief statements: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement” aka they disrupt having two parents and children living together as a family. (Happy Father’s Day, hey?) “We foster a queer-affirming network” and “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege” (aka dismantling any privilege given to women who are born female and men who are born male and supporting any number of different gender identities and sexual relationships.)
Do these things have to do with black lives mattering? Is it not an injustice that to officially support black lives mattering you must also support things that go against the very foundation of how God established humanity and families? (Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:24).
Further, while at its core affirming that black lives matter, the movement does not truly support that all black lives matter. During a large black lives matter protest in the States, two black women were arrested for illegally protesting outside of a planned parenthood building stating that all black lives matter, even the thousands of unborn ones that are aborted every day in their mother’s wombs. https://www.foxnews.com/us/nyc-protest-abortion-clinic-george-floyd-handcuffed
Doesn’t the injustice make you mad? That all life is not considered sacred and such a blatant conflict in ideology is being ignored?
How about driving past all the rainbows in town? Rainbows that, instead of representing God’s promise to us to never flood the world again for our sin, represent pride in what God calls sin and a rejection of God Himself? (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-10).
How about the government control of our freedoms that is happening in this country? To be treated equally regarding funding for summer programs for youth, we are forced to first check “we reject God” by saying we support abortions and various sexual orientations and gender identities. Does this not make you mad? Does this injustice make you angry? The more you look for it the more you see these kinds of injustices happening.
Social Justice Warriors
Does not all of this injustice make you angry enough that you want to fight? So let us fight back, right? This makes you want to attack back! It makes you want to respond by defending. If we do not defend ourselves, who will? All of this makes you think that Christianity will be bullied and die out if we do not do anything, right?
“But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior, therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me,” writes Jeremiah. With all these injustices, do we say “vengeance is mine?” God tells us “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good ” (Romans 12:18-21).
It is a stronger act of faith to live knowing God will take vengeance. He is our warrior. He will act. We need to stay faithful to God’s truth and spread the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness for all who have rejected God.
God’s Word for us today from Jeremiah chapter 20 is a Hebrew lament. To understand this text a little better, let us take a quick look at what had happened before this cry out to God. Before this, Jeremiah had spoken to the priest of God, Pashhur. Jeremiah confronts Pashhur about all the injustice that is happening among God’s people. He tells him they need to stop. These two are supposed to be on the same side here. Pashhur, he doe not like what God is telling Him through Jeremiah so he has Jeremiah arrested, beaten, and placed in stocks where He is mocked by the people of Israel. Talk about an injustice heaped on injustice! After Jeremiah is released, he is livid. Jeremiah turns on God with his accusation. But talking to God this way about all the injustices He has suffered because of God’s commands is not the wrong thing to do – it is a normal and even encouraged, way of speaking to the LORD. Jeremiah is demonstrating faith in God. You do not get angry at or question a God you do not believe in. Jeremiah is calling on God to be faithful to His promises because He knows that God will be.
Jeremiah’s example in this lament shows that all the vengeance for the injustices he has suffered he is leaving in the hands of the LORD. Jeremiah expressed faith that God will rescue and deliver him from his enemies and God will carry out the punishment justly. Where Jeremiah, and all man, would carry out vengeance in a less-than-perfect way, God will do it perfectly as He has promised to do to all evil. Jeremiah knows that God will act and trusts He will do it. He leaves it in the hands of God.
Here, let me read this text to you again, now that you have the background information to understand what is going on here. He has spoken God’s Word and has again been unjustly punished for doing so.
7O Lord, you have deceived me,
and I was deceived;
you are stronger than I,
and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all the day;
everyone mocks me.
8For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the Lord has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.
9If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
10For I hear many whispering.
Terror is on every side!
“Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
say all my close friends,
watching for my fall.
“Perhaps he will be deceived;
then we can overcome him
and take our revenge on him.”
11But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble;
they will not overcome me.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonour
will never be forgotten.
12O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous,
who sees the heart and the mind,
let me see your vengeance upon them,
for to you have I committed my cause.
13Sing to the Lord;
praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hand of evildoers.
(Jeremiah 20: 7-13)
In Jeremiah’s day, the very people of God are corrupt. The priests and the prophets speak what they want and not what God has said. (Churches who support homosexuality?) Child sacrifices were one of the injustices that were being done in Jeremiah’s day. Sacrificing their children for their selfish benefit. (Sound like abortion clinics today?)
Jeremiah laments, he cries out to God, and he suffers.
But we should expect this kind of story. We know that “a servant is not greater than his master.’ [Jesus said] If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20).
We are all servants of Jesus our King. Jesus suffered and died. Can we expect any better? Can we expect any better before God comes again in judgement to right all the wrongs?
But, like our master who rose again free from the injustices He suffered. We too will rise again freed from sin and injustice. We can speak with Jeremiah our cries to God over the injustices. Following His example, we can leave them in the hands of God and continue to speak His word.
We are not alone. Our Heavenly Father is on our side. He will be our protector. He will defend us. He will give us the promised inheritance of eternal life.
May He give us the courage to speak, the love to proclaim His forgiveness in Christ, and the peace to know that He will bring the world justice.
In Jesus’ name,