Read Jeremiah 27
Focus on verse 14
Determining which voice to listen to can be confusing in a world were everyone claims their information is best. A Coca-Cola drinker will try to convince you that Coke is the best, while a Pepsi-Cola drinker will say Pepsi is best. Who do you trust? Which one is right? They can’t both be best! And what about the person who tells you that both are unhealthy choices because pure water is best? In a world where hundreds of voices simultaneously scream for our allegiance, how to we discern which voice to listen to?
In today’s reading the prophet Jeremiah tells the people of Israel that they are being lied to by the prophets who are claiming the nation will not fall to the Babylonians. Jeremiah warns them that if they resist serving the Babylonians they will die, but if they agree to surrender to the Babylonians then they will survive. How do the people know whom to believe? Do we just choose the message we like best? Or do we make an attempt to determine which message is actually true?
As we approach another presidential election in America this question of discernment is an important one. There is no shortage of candidates vying to win the loyalty of the people, attempting to convince us that their idea of how to govern the country is best. Some of the ideas sound quite convincing, but history reminds us that politicians rarely tell the truth when they are seeking to win an election. So how do we know which candidate really has the best interests of the nation in mind?
Ultimately it is difficult to determine this with confidence, but one could perhaps eliminate a few if it is truth we are really after. Each of the candidates has a history, and this history is readily available to anyone willing to do the research. Some of the candidates have a history of lying, and changing their story more often than a runway model changes clothes. I would tend to lean toward those who upon examination seem to have been fairly consistent in the stand they have taken on issues over the years, even if some of their stances are not my favorite.
I admit that truth is hard to come by these days, and popular truth is even more rare. Most often those who dare to speak the truth become unpopular very quickly, which is an even more alarming trend, as it reveals that apparently most people prefer to hear lies promising them what they want to hear rather than the truth about what really lies ahead for us. Unfortunately reality will remind us that believing the lies will not make them come true.
Discernment of truth seems to be a gift that God gives to those people who are willing to listen to Him. Jeremiah the prophet rarely liked the message God gave him to deliver to the people, but he still chose to deliver it because he knew it was true. This did not win him very many friends, but it kept him in good standing with God, which was more important to him than what people thought. Perhaps discerning truth can most often be as simple as listening to one’s conscience? Perhaps if we all paid a little more heed to that still small voice that nudges us from the inside, we’d be more inclined to know the difference between truth and lies. Then all that remains is to find the courage to act on that truth.