Saturday, October 29, 2005

God on Relevance

I am currently teaching through Jeremiah, and this passage caught my eye this morning. Jeremiah is struggling with his call, the judgment going on all around him, and the personal pain it has put him through. He complains in the passage preceding this one that he has separated himself from common society for God’s sake, and that he is feeling the effects of being alone. When God replies, he lays a mild rebuke at the feet of the prophet. Then in Jeremiah 15:19 God says:

“If you return, I will return to you,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not
what is worthless,
you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you
but you shall not turn to them.”

That last phrase in the New Living Translation goes like this:

“Let your words change them. Don’t change your words to suit them.”

Jeremiah is struggling because he is different than the surrounding culture. God attempts to comfort and edify his prophet by telling him in essence, “and don’t let that change.”

I want to know your thoughts. What impact does a passage like this one have on our tendency to want to be “relevant”?

4 comments:

Phil (Col 1:27-28) said...

We are to be a counter current people. A people that are moving in harmony and cooperation with the Spirit of the Living God and His Living and alive Word. That automatically puts us at odds with a world that is dying, steeped in sin and its nature and its bondage and its judgement apart from Christ Jesus. We are to be in so many ways that which agitates by our Christ Jesus and his presence within us and through us revealed, not by and through our religiousness. Jesus is not as fallen man nor are we to be as fallen man, rather we are to be as redeemed and transformed men and women of God. Let it be oh Lord, let it be.

Blessings in Christ Jesus!

Nick Steffen said...

Assuming that by saying "relevant", you mean "culturally relevant", I'm not sure that this passage really goes where you might want it to.

Though I basically agree with the previous comment, I think that this passage is referring to Jeremiah's telling truth (first and foremost). God wants us to "be as my mouth" and not sway from the truth; ie we should not change the meaning of what we say to fit into society.

However, this does not necessarily refer to the way in which we communicate that truth. If this is the case, being "relevant" is still a concern (though I would temper this idea by noting that we should also be concerned in losing the truth in our search for relevance; relevance without truth is dead).

I hope these random thoughts can be of some use.

Tim Van Tongeren said...

"How foolish it would be for us to take what generations preceding us have valued in coping with life's turbulence and cast it all aside because we are 'modern.'"
- http://www.rzim.org/publications/slicetran.php?sliceid=1019

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