Read Jeremiah 37
Focus on verse 21
I find it interesting how people are drawn to truth, even when they don’t believe it. Several years ago I had a friend who was a self-proclaimed atheist. It eventually became evident that he was also an alcoholic, but he never spoke of that with me. We did have many conversations and exchanged quite a number of letters discussing theological matters. There was a short period of time where he attended church services with us, he volunteered to serve occasionally, and at one point asked if he could teach the adult Bible class, but the elders felt it might not be appropriate given that his theological perspective didn’t leave room for God to exist. It was a sad day for me when I was told that he had been found deceased in his home. I suspect I may have been one of very few friends that he had in his life. It was a strange relationship, a preacher and an atheist, but he always kept coming back. We would have fairly intense discussions in which I would challenge his disbelief, and he would challenge my convictions – sometimes he would leave in frustration, but he always came back…well…until after he died.
In today’s reading in Jeremiah we are given a glimpse of the relationship between King Zedekiah and the prophet Jeremiah. In the first verse we are informed that neither Zedekiah nor his servants listened to the words of the Lord that Jeremiah spoke, yet a few verses later we hear Zedekiah asking Jeremiah to pray for the people. (v. 3) Then near the end of the chapter the king secretly questions Jeremiah in his house, asking if there is any word from the Lord. Jeremiah is not rude but rather terse in his response; Jeremiah said, “There is” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.” (v. 17)
It seems that this relationship between kings and prophets was often an awkward one…not unlike the relationship I had with my atheist friend. It is never really comfortable because of the spiritual tension, yet there seems to be an odd attraction that keeps the non-believer coming back. I suspect it has to do with the way the human mind and heart are created. When God created us He put the knowledge of God within our heart, and a consciousness of His Spirit in our mind. We can choose to deny that it is there, and attempt to dull our sense of Him, but it never really goes away. I believe it for this reason that we cannot ever really find “peace” until we “make our peace” with God.