Wait. Don’t run off.
If you’re not in your twenties and know nothing about Bieber, I’m right there with you. However, I ran across an article that led me to listen to a live recording of him from May 15th. Here’s why.
Bieber, who’s known for his singing, was sitting at home answering questions from his nearly 79 million followers. This was live on Facebook: Questions from his fans pop up on the screen, he sees them, and then responds as they’re being asked. It’s a great forum because you get surprising answers.
“Would you ever change anything?” one fan asked.
Bieber rambled around a bit and then said: “I would have probably saved myself for marriage… sex can be kind of confusing… it’s just true…I would have probably saved myself for marriage.”
Considering just how brutal social-media critics can be, it was a brave and vulnerable statement. The Biebers are also known for not having had relations before their marriage.
Justin Bieber answered another question and said this about his faith, “Knowing God created me… gave me all my gifts and talents … [I am] always giving it back to God.”
Listeners wrote, “God bless you.” throughout the casual Q&A. They thanked him for speaking openly about Jesus.
The sexual revolution of the sixties brought heartache to God and to countless people. It still does. Few speak the truth for God, fearing an onslaught of criticism.
Above my sink, is a plaque with one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture: “’I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11
I mention Jeremiah alongside Justin Bieber because Jeremiah also took on the morals of the day, albeit in a more brutal way.
It’s roughly 600 years before Christ and Jeremiah proclaims in the temple courtyard what prophets have said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways … and you can stay in the land the Lord gave you...” If not, the nation will suffer the wrath of God.
Jeremiah isn’t met with just criticism. No, the Jews want him dead, labeling him a traitor as the nation faces down a fierce enemy. You can imagine how this nation would feel if a prophet came forward and proclaimed that the Chinese would invade and conquer the U.S., taking away countless Americans as slaves.
It’s unthinkable, but that’s what Jeremiah did.
And his prophecies are amazing because of how accurate they are. Jeremiah will be dead by the time they come to pass. He says the Jews will be in exile for 70 years and will return only with the fall of the Babylonian empire. In fact, as soon as the Persians defeat the Babylonians, their first king, Cyrus the Great, allows the Jews to return to Jerusalem.
That beautiful plaque in my home has the words Jeremiah gave to the exiles once they found themselves on foreign soil, assuring them that God was still with them, that they would one day return. “’I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11
Covid-19 has given us a chance to pause and examine the path this nation is on. We were crumbling as a society under the weight of immorality. We could change so easily if we could stand united as we now do with face masks and lines taped on sidewalks outside stores. We can, we just have to see how badly we need God.
George Washington said in his Farewell Address, “Of [all things] which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable…”
Washington goes on to call them “great pillars of human happiness.” He encourages all, including “mere politicians” to “respect and cherish” them.
We will change. We will turn back to God as the Jews did some 2,500 years ago. The question is whether we will do it in time.
Like a certain twenty-something, now is the time to step up for our Lord. In all you say and do, choose God---the great pillar of human happiness.
Copyright © 2020 R.A. Mathews The Rev. Mathews is the author of “Reaching to God” and may be contacted at Letters@RAMathews.com. Follow her on Twitter @RA_Mathews.