Why Do We Sit Still?
Jeremiah 9:25 - Jeremiah 15:10
Every time I begin reading the Book of Mormon my imagination is stirred.
I can't help but wonder about the conditions of Jerusalem during that time period.
I think of my own children and I wonder how bad the world around me would have to get before I would leave behind my home, my belongings, my neighbors, and my lifestyle to wander out into the wilderness and live in a tent.
I like to camp ...but I also like to come home from camping. When I picture Lehi packing up his entire family and leaving his home and possessions to live in a tent it makes me think that things in Jerusalem must have been pretty bad.
For the past couple of days I have found myself immersed in the words of Jeremiah. Did you know that Jeremiah and Lehi would have been contemporaries? Did you know that the Jerusalem Lehi left is the same Jerusalem Jeremiah is writing about? As I read the words of Jeremiah it makes me love Lehi and Nephi even more. I begin to understand the hardship of raising a righteous family in an increasingly wicked world. The dangers become more clear. The course defined by the Lord's prophets becomes even more evident.
We must choose God.
And we must follow Him with exactness.
Besides the gross wickedness and sin, Jeremiah defines the time of Jerusalem in the moment Lehi left with descriptions such as these... "They are not valiant for the truth, they know not me (9:3), no man repenteth of his wickedness (8:6), they went backward, and not forward (7:24), this people have a rebellious heart (5:23), families that call not on thy name (10:25), they went after other gods to serve them (11:10)"
I loved the image portrayed in chapter 10 of the Gods Israel chose to worship instead of the Lord...
"for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: ...they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good." (Jeremiah 10:3-5)
Again I find myself wondering why Israel would choose to worship a God like this ––one that cannot move, speak, or go. A God that is unable to do good.
And I wonder, do we do that today? Obviously we don't have a God made out of wood and decked with silver and gold... or do we? Because the place where we spend the most of our time, what we are devoted to, what we adore...isn't that what we have come to worship? Do items made of wood and decked with precious things require us to devote more time making money to pay for them? Is my adoration fixed on items made of chrome and silver? Where is it that I am focusing most of my time? How about my children?
What is it that we worship most?
A sport? A hobby? A possession?
Oh, I hope not. But I take the counsel given by Jeremiah in verse seventeen of chapter nine, "Consider ye..."
Am I willing to be more like Lehi and let my possessions become of lesser consequence and the spirituality of my family become of greatest importance? Is there a way to live in the world, but not be of the world? To follow the Liahona a little bit closer here in my own home? Can I learn from Jeremiah what it will require of me to not walk the path Israel chose?
There are two phrases that haunt me so far in Jeremiah...
"Why do we sit still?" (Jeremiah 8:14)
I can't help but wonder if I sit still... instead of assembling my family together or gathering for defense. The Jerusalem Nephi grew up in was described by Jeremiah as being sensual and materialistic, and Lehi decided he couldn't afford to sit still and let that environment destroy his children. I can't help but think of our world today. Do we allow wickedness to surround us through conversations, through media, through daily life and do we just sit still? Or do we assemble our family...do we have a plan of defense?
Do we follow the counsel of the prophets...with exactness?
Because here is the second phrase that haunts me...
"To whom shall I speak, and give warning? ...I am weary with holding in..." (Jeremiah 6:10-11)
I want to hear the warnings. I want to choose righteousness. I want to walk the path that will allow me to know the Lord. To really know Him. To understand Him. I want to be the type of person that Jeremiah describes,
"But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 9:24)
Instead of choosing a God that can't move, speak, or go, I want to choose the living God.
The One who delights in lovingkindness...a God that is able to do good.
So I will learn from Lehi. My possessions matter least. My family matters most.
I choose the Lord.
To worship Him.
I will not sit still.