Today in Jeremiah we see the exchange of words between the LORD and the prophet. There is no spirituality left among the people, it is all a sham – yet the prophet appeals to God to relieve the terrible famine that is afflicting the land and people. He says, “though our iniquities testify against us, act O LORD for your name’s sake for our backslidings are many” (14:7).

Jeremiah appeals for God to be merciful “for his name’s sake” – that is, His reputation for being a merciful God. This is parallel today with the concept that God is fundamentally a God of love, and because of this, is endlessly forgiving however sinful we might be. His punishments always have an end. But note what God says, “both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land and have no knowledge” (verse 18).

Being a prophet or a priest is just a “trade” – they have no knowledge, that is, no relationship with God: they do not know His word; they do not take into their minds what He is saying. In contrast the portrayal of the work of Jesus in Isaiah 53, says, “By his knowledge, shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous and he shall bear their iniquities” (verse 11).

Tomorrow’s chapter 15 starts, “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight …’” So God is not endlessly forgiving – it is essential we have a true knowledge of Him, that we ‘know’ His word and develop a genuine relationship with Him through His Son.

The parables of Jesus we read today give the same message; if we do not use the talents He has given us, in the end He does not want to know us. He says to the foolish virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to come, “Truly I say to you I do not know you”. Then He adds, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day, nor the hour” (25:12,13).

If the knowledge we have of God’s word does not result in a real relationship with Him He will not want to know us when that vital “hour” arrives! We sense today with all the events in and around God’s Holy Land, that this is the “day” – but at what “hour” of the day we do not know. Let us not be among those who “have no knowledge”.