Focus Scripture: Jeremiah 25: 34-38
Jeremiah's words are hard words to hear, to understand or to find a place for in our own faith journey. The prophets can be difficult for several reasons. First, they are speaking to a specific people in a specific time and if we do not have that background, understanding what they are writing about can be difficult. Second, we are used to thinking about prophecy as telling us about the future or endtimes and that often gets in the way of our understanding of what the prophet was actually saying. Additionally, the prophets are often trying to describe experiences with God which are beyond our understanding and they do that through fantastical language--making it even more difficult to understand.
So for today--put all of that aside. Jeremiah is speaking a difficult truth to a people who have gone astray and don't want to hear it. Imagine instead what it must be like to be him. Imagine having to tell people that hard truth and trying to use images and things they would understand to get the message across.
Here is the image of a lion and shepherds. A lion is laying waste to a flock and the shepherds see the devastation but cannot or did not stop it. Imagine the faith it would take to bring that news to someone, that their actions are bringing destruction.
It would be so much easier to try to placate them, to say all is well. But that wouldn't be faithful. Have you ever faced a situation where you had to give someone a hard truth? How do you distinguish between a hard truth and judging someone? It's a difficult line, and a heavy burden.