Jeremiah Appointed as Examiner
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Jeremiah 5:14-6:30, Psalm 95:1-11, Micah 6:6-8
We used to own a truck with over 300,000 miles on it. I loved driving it. The leather was cracked and most of the dashboard lights were burned out. But easing it down a country road with all the windows down made me feel like the wind was at my back and things were going just my way.
There was one light, however, that wasn’t burned out: the check engine light. I took it to our favorite mechanic and he looked me square in the eye, “Stop driving this vehicle immediately—one wrong bump and the whole chassis is going to collapse off the axle. This truck will fail disastrously, and soon.” Driving home that afternoon, I considered his words: How soon? How ‘disastrous’ are we talking? How big of a bump? He was probably exaggerating—what even is an axle anyway?
Things can look just fine on the surface, but rumbling beneath, the true worth will eventually reveal itself. In the case of my truck, it was a catastrophic failure waiting to happen. I thought I could depend on that old truck, but it couldn’t stand up in a way that mattered desperately. In the case of Israel, God appointed Jeremiah as an “assayer” to determine what they were made of—and if they would be able to stand up (Jeremiah 6:27). An assayer is a “refiner,” one who tests the composition of minerals and determines their value. The Lord goes so far as to declare they are so stubborn that they “are bronze and iron; all of them are corrupt” (v.28). But no amount of blasting with fire will reveal valuable metals because the people have rejected the word of the Lord (v.17).
The culture described in these chapters is a startling reminder of my own: “they have grown powerful and rich… fat and sleek… [and] excelled in evil matters… and they have not defended the rights of the needy” (Jeremiah 5:27–28). God is calling us to listen to His words and turn from the enticements of this world. He warns that we will be measured and the truth of our hearts will be revealed.
Who can stand in the face of such an examination? Even though my friendly truck seemed fine to me, it’s impending disaster could not be hidden from the experienced eye of a mechanic. If we persist in not using our eyes to see or our ears to hear—if we refuse to listen to the Lord, our devastation is sure. Indeed, it is our own sins that withhold the Lord’s bounty from us (Jeremiah 5:25).
If you are determined not to listen, you cannot stand up to a close examination. But set your feet in obedience to the Lord and He will change the quality of your heart, and deeper examination will reveal the value of His own shining goodness in you. Today if you hear His voice—in His word, in His creation, through His people—do not harden your heart, but listen and worship (Psalm 95:8).