“Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the Lord. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one just and honest person, I will not destroy the city. But even when they are under oath, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, ‘they are still telling lies!” Jeremiah 5:1-2
Speaking through Jeremiah, God exposed the corruption of Jerusalem of Jeremiah’s day. It was as if there was not even one man who did right and sought after truth. We think of Jeremiah as a predecessor to the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who reportedly carried a lamp through Athens in the daytime, searching for an honest man. Diogenes of Sinope was a Greek Cynic philosopher best known for holding a lantern to the faces of the citizens of Athens claiming he was searching for an honest man. Jeremiah searched for a righteous man who sought the truth. If even one could be found, God would spare His judgment against Jerusalem. We might say that this statement was exaggeration to make a point. After all, we would hope that Jeremiah was such a man. Nevertheless, it’s possible that this was literally true as well as being poetically true.
One may also say that God today still searches and looks for one man who executes judgment and who seeks the truth – and finds only the One Man, Jesus Christ. He is the One Man who can save any city or individual from judgment. Jeremiah could find many religious people in Jerusalem – many who would swear by the LORD and say, “As the LORD lives.” Yet he could not find anyone who sought the LORD in sincerity. Gladly would God pardon, if his people showed but a gleam of sound morality. The question today is how many can we find that are true to God? I am not talking about church members, but true disciples of Jesus Christ.