EDITORIAL -- "Is It Nothing to You?"

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana


Jeremiah is often called the weeping prophet. It was his plight to attempt something that was impossible. He sought to get Judah to repent, and she would not. For about sixteen years or more he went about preaching among the people trying to get them to reform in order that destruction might be averted. But they considered him only to be an alarmist and went steadily on in their sinful ways.


Finally when God would tolerate Israel's sins no longer, the Babylonians were permitted to become a destructive force and to devour the sinful people of God. It was Jeremiah's heart-rending work to have to observe Israel's continuance in her sinful ways when he knew the tragic end of such a course. This knowledge brought him to tears as he pleaded with his people, but it was in vain.

Finally when Babylon destroyed the city of Jerusalem and carried many of the Jews into Babylonian captivity, Jeremiah wept all the more. He said: "How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! ... She that was a princess among the provinces is become tributary!" (Lamentations 1: 1). To have to witness such happening to Jerusalem and to Judah was almost more than Jeremiah could bear. At least he could not bear it without weeping. Thus his writing about "The Sorrows of Captive Zion" has been called "The Lamentations of Jeremiah."

One of the most perplexing things about all of this bitter scene was the complacency of the people involved. In an impassioned cry he asked, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" (Lam. 1: 12). He said there was not 64any sorrow like unto my sorrow." That which he had to look upon was said to be like a fire sent into his bones. It hurt him to witness Israel's fall, for he was one of the concerned ones.

One of the things hard to be understood today is the complacency of so many who profess to be a part of spiritual Israel. Jeremiah might have understood the indifference toward Israel's plight on the part of a Moabite or an Edomite, but he just could not understand how any loyal Jew could be so unconcerned at what was happening in Israel. Yet the very Jews that had passed by the temple and the sacred things in Jerusalem so often did not even themselves seem greatly shaken by what had occurred.


Do you worry about the well-being of the church? Is concern for the progress and purity of the church that which occupies your most serious thoughts? Jesus taught that this Kingdom should occupy first place in one's life (Matt. 6:33). Yet fully half of the members of most churches seem completely indifferent to the well-being and growth of the Cause of Christ. One whose soul is gripped by the danger of decay and apostasy among God's people cannot understand the apathy of those who are to be most gravely affected by, it.


Some have spoken of the church as the It society of the concerned ones." Jeremiah indicates that God's people certainly ought to be concerned ones. And were Jeremiah in our midst today and could he witness the apathy of the typical church member while in the midst both of opportunity and danger, he very likely would exclaim again, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" Is your commitment to Christ and his church a total commitment? God must be Lord of &H your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matt. 22:34-40). He insists that He be Lord of all in your life, or He will not be Lord at all in your life.

December 2, 1971