Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt: You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Do two walk together unless they have made an appointment? Does a lion roar in the forest, when it has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from its den, if it has caught nothing? Does a bird fall into a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster befall a city, unless the LORD has done it? Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
Do we really listen to God? So often we concentrate on the love and care of God but, because we are happy in the God’s love, we forget that, just as a parent will scold a child for being naughty, so God will speak against us if we turn against him.
This passage, reminds me that God sees and knows all. We may not shout about our accomplishments or our triumphs or make a big show of our successes; nor may we complain about our failures, but God sees all. He reveals his plan through the prophets.
God knows us inside and out, and we cannot hide from him. He knows our failings and we must acknowledge them and face the consequences.
It is 21 years ago today since my husband and I announced our engagement – a choice we made willingly and openly. One of the dangers of a wedding is getting so caught up in the celebration of the “big day” that we do not prepare for the marriage that follows. Our churches are open to all who would come in willingly to learn more of the gospel, but do we get so caught up in the celebration of worship that we fail to accept the responsibility of discipleship?
Are we so worried about who will fill the rotas that we do not see outside of our church doors? If we spend our time looking inward then the world will pass us by and we will have to account for why we missed it. Let us look further than our own buildings and see the wider world. Let us look further than our own church to see the bigger kingdom of God. God still speaks to us through his prophets, but do we still hear him?
Lord of the past, may we learn from your prophets that you keep your word, that you both know and care for us, but also know and see all that we do.
Lord of the present, speak to us anew, that we may hear the cries of those with no voice. Speak through us to bring hope to our community, our country, our world.
Lord of the future, help us to acknowledge our blinkered vision that we may widen our scope to see the needs of our world and play our part in meeting those needs.
Lord we hear your Word and obey your commands. Walk with us, that we may do all we can in the power of your Holy Spirit, through the example of your Son, to bring your wider kingdom here on earth. Amen
The Rev’d Ruth Watson is minister of Patricroft and Worsley Road URCs in Salford.