In Jeremiah 5:1, the Lord tells the people to run through the streets and see “if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her [Jerusalem]” (ESV). This brings to mind two stories. One is from an ancient Greek philosopher of the fourth century b.c. named Diogenes, who, according to legend, used to walk around in the marketplace in the daytime, claiming that he was looking for an honest man.
The other story, of course, one that we know is true, is that of God speaking to Abraham, telling him that if He could find 50 righteous men (soon reduced to 10), He would not destroy the city. The point, though, in the Lord’s words through Jeremiah, was to reveal just how widespread the apostasy and sin had become among His people. Was there no one who did justice and sought truth? Read Jeremiah 5:2, 3. What is being said here that shows just how bad things were becoming? (See Lev. 19:12.)
These verses bring up a point that appears all through the book. No matter how deeply fallen the nation had become, many of the people believed that they were still faithfully following the Lord! They were uttering His name, but they were doing it “falsely” instead of “in truth, in justice, and in righteousness” (Jer. 4:2, ESV) as the Lord had commanded them. They did not listen to the warning coming from God, but they went on in their lives and religious practices as if everything were all right between them and God, when in fact almost nothing was right between them.
The depth of their deception can be seen in Jeremiah 7:4 when the people would take a false comfort in these words, hekhal yhwh hekhal yhwh hekhal yhwh hemma! (“This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord”), as if having the temple there was all that they needed in order to ensure that all would go well with them. It’s one thing to know you’re in a crisis; but when you are in one and don’t know it, that’s an even worse situation.
With all the wonderful truth we have been given as Seventh-day Adventists, how can we make sure we don’t fall into a similar deception of believing our unique calling itself is enough to save us?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q4 2015 «Jeremiah» Lesson 2 – The Crisis (Within and Without)