Read Jeremiah 16
Focus on verse 10
One of the first excuses that children seem to learn to use in order to escape the consequences of their actions is the phrase, “I didn’t know!” Occasionally this is a legitimate claim; most often it is a hastily contrived excuse, and children are not the only ones who attempt to use it. I suspect nearly any police officer could give us numerous examples of adults who “didn’t know the speed limit had changed”, or who “didn’t know their tail light was burned out”. Sometimes these excuses manage to work, if they didn’t people would not use them. The one place they never work is with God.
In today’s reading the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah about how to respond to this excuse when the people claim they do not know why the Lord is displeased with them.
And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, “Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” (Jeremiah 16:10)
Apparently, the people of Israel were quite well rehearsed in playing the “we didn’t know” card in an attempt to avoid the consequences of abandoning the Lord in exchange for chasing after false gods. The consequences of this were spelled out quite clearly by Moses in the book of the law that God ha given them. The fact that they had neglected to consult these laws and no longer knew what was written there was no excuse. It was no more effective than it would be for me to attempt to convince a police officer that I didn’t know I had to stop for a red light because I neglected to read the drivers handbook before I started driving. I would still get a ticket, and quite possibly be required to retake the driving test to get my license restored.
Ignorance is not a valid excuse for breaking the law, not in the state of Florida, nor is it valid when it comes to God’s law.
Fortunately for us God has provided a better way for us to avoid the consequences of our law breaking. If we choose to repent and believe in the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, God gives us a free pass…a clean start. He wipes all our tickets off the record books and provides us with everything we need to live according to His law. We may still occasionally fail, but these transgressions are also covered, so that we can confidently live in freedom and peace.