Blush is only found 4 times in the ESV text. In my reading this morning in Jeremiah, I encountered it twice. And it’s got me thinking. Am I blushing?
I was also reading in James this morning where he says that reading the word of God is “like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror” (James 1:23). And he warns the believer of walking away from that mirror too quickly lest he “at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:24). And so I need to linger in front of the mirror, not be too hasty to move on to the next reading. And in looking at the face ask myself, “Do I still know how to blush?”
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. (Jeremiah 6:15a ESV)
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. (Jeremiah 8:12a ESV)
God’s ancient people have come to the end of God’s longsuffering rope. Jeremiah is one of the last voices before God’s judgment on a “perpetually backsliding” people (Jer. 8:5). The time for interceding for this wicked nation has passed. No more prayers on their behalf, God tells Jeremiah, “for I will not hear you” (Jer. 7:16). And as God, through Jeremiah, declares His indictment of these “uncircumcised in heart” (Jer. 9:26), these who have forsaken the law, not obeyed His voice, and have stubbornly followed their own hearts and the nations’ gods, the phrase that hits me . . . twice! . . . is that “they did not now how to blush.”
Nothing brought shame. Nothing they did brought humiliation. Nothing they said, or read, or watched, or worshiped, or played at, regardless of how dark it was, caused embarrassment. Nothing made their faces go red. They didn’t know how to blush.
And it’s got me thinking about our age and how few things make us blush anymore. I’ve been around long enough to think of things that were once considered inappropriate for polite conversation which are now the themes of entire entertainment genres. I think about not giving second thought to topics discussed on TV commercials that were once considered off base for “mixed company.” And I’m not trying to be a prude . . . not wanting to be out of touch . . . not wanting to say it was so much better way back when . . . but the fact of the matter is, I think overall we don’t blush as much as we once did. And I think there’s a warning there. A caution about being desensitized concerning that which God calls evil.
I think I should be blushing more. Not to feel shame, or to feel dirty . . . Jesus came to remove the shame, He shed His blood to cleanse us from the dirt. And I certainly don’t need to blush more so that I might judge others who aren’t blushing enough. But if I forget how to blush . . . if nothing makes me uncomfortable or seems inappropriate . . . then have I lost the blessing promised to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:6)? And, if I no longer blush because I recognize that which defiles an image-bearer of God, then what motivation do I have to share the way of restoration? If, along with a world that increasingly does not know how to blush, I stop blushing, then what kind of light am I in the darkness . . . what kind of salt am I amongst the decay?
O’ that God, by His grace and through His Spirit residing in me, would prevent me from forgetting how to blush.
For His glory . . .