For I hear many whispering: "Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!" All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. "Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him." But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonour will never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause. Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.
Today is Friday the 12 April in the fifth week of Lent.
The University of Johannesburg Choir sing a setting of Psalm 16 Protect me, O God for in you I take refuge.
Today’s reading is from the prophet Jeremiah.
This reading comes from a tragic time in the history of Israel and in the life of the prophet Jeremiah. Since earliest times the Christian church has taken it as referring to the suffering and death of Jesus. The prophet feels deep fear, he feels betrayed by those he had trusted. At the same time he experiences trust and hope in a God who will not let him be destroyed. Does this reading stir memories for you of times when you have felt betrayed and let down? Does it remind you of your own insecurities?
A medieval English mystic wrote: ‘Not what you are, nor what you have been, but what you want to be is what God sees, with merciful eyes’. Jeremiah proclaims that God sees into the human heart and mind. What does God find in your heart and mind? Do you dare to let God look? How do you think God feels as he looks into your heart?
As you hear the words of Jeremiah again, listen to the fear and the sorrow, but listen also to hope and the trust.
Have you ever experienced trust like this, in the face of disappointment and loneliness? Can you ask God to increase your trust and hope?