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Daily Devotional • March 10

David Baumann
Love Never Rests
A Reading from Jeremiah 5:1-9  

1 “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,
    look around and consider,
    search through her squares.
If you can find but one person
    who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
    I will forgive this city.
    2 Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
    still they are swearing falsely.”
3 Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?
    You struck them, but they felt no pain;
    you crushed them, but they refused correction.
They made their faces harder than stone
    and refused to repent.
4 I thought, “These are only the poor;
    they are foolish,
for they do not know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.
5 So I will go to the leaders
    and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.”
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke
    and torn off the bonds.
6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them,
    a wolf from the desert will ravage them,
a leopard will lie in wait near their towns
    to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
    and their backslidings many.
7 “Why should I forgive you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and sworn by gods that are not gods.
I supplied all their needs,
    yet they committed adultery
    and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.
8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for another man’s wife.
9 Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
    on such a nation as this?”

The last part of the little bio for this writer (see below) says, “Two exuberant small daughters make sure that he never gets any rest.” They are seven and almost five. Last fall, both got stitches in the ER in the same month. I’ve hidden matches which were nonetheless found. They have gone into the kitchen on their own and cut bananas and lemons with sharp knives. They had to be shown several times how to get the fasteners in their car seats done right. They have to be told endlessly why eating certain foods in overabundant amounts, especially at the wrong time of day, will do them harm. They have to be told to bundle up before going outside. It’s so true — I never get any rest. 

Now my children are not particularly disobedient; they are just curious and eager to be grown up. The people in today’s lesson are in a far worse situation. “They swear falsely.” “They have not grieved.” “They have refused to receive correction.” “They are foolish.” There’s more, way more. God has it much worse than I do. He cannot find even one person who seeks the truth; if he could, pardon for them all would come. “Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord. 

But the punishment is directed to produce correction for the wayward; much of the awful, even fatal, sufferings they endure, e.g. “a lion from the forest shall slay them,” are mostly consequences of the persistently immoral, disobedient decisions they make. With us, God never gets any rest. But like the loving Father that he is, his outcry is so that the children will “turn from their wickedness and live.” Whether it is a nation that has gone the wrong way, or a community, a family, or an individual, it is the same: we live under the immortal active love of God.

David Baumann served for nearly 50 years as an Episcopal priest in the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Springfield. He has published nonfiction, science fiction, and short stories. Two exuberant small daughters make sure he never gets any rest.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island
Grace Church Tampa Palms, Tampa, Florida
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