Wanted posters display the faces of suspects at large who have committed serious crimes and have evaded arrest. The authorities are looking to the public to help in finding these men who have made themselves scarce in order to avoid punishment.
But there is another kind of wanted man in our society. Righteous individuals are much more scarce than criminals. We read in Jeremiah 5:1, “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.” Like Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day, our society is wanting in righteous people who are fair in judgment and seek the truth. The people of God have always been a minority. Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” But we know that even though we are outnumbered, we are more than conquerors because we are on God’s side (Romans 8:31-37).
The qualities of the wanted man are described in Jeremiah 5:1 as he who executes judgment and seeks truth. To execute judgment is to be just in one’s dealings with others. How many today truly put in practice the golden rule of Matthew 7:12? Those who are guilty of fraud are not fair to others, but are robbing for personal gain. Those who demand that someone else should do something they themselves will not do are likewise unfair (Matthew 23:4). The wanted man also seeks truth. He hates deception and falsehood. Instead of misinterpreting the facts so that he seems innocent, the wanted man will accept the truth even if it means he is wrong and must make changes. How very few are willing to do that today!
Finally, instead of being a blight on society as those on the wanted posters often are, the wanted man of Jeremiah 5:1 is a great value to society. God is saying to Jeremiah that He would spare Jerusalem from destruction if just one man could be found who seeks the truth. Much like God’s conversation with Abraham about the fate of Sodom in Genesis 18, the precept God is communicating is that He often spares cities and nations because of their righteous inhabitants. While the wanted poster may display the face of an individual who has done much evil, we also know that one individual has potential to do much good. If one Christian is zealous for the Lord, he can influence others to be as well. The prayer of one righteous man may result in God’s mercy upon many (James 5:16-18). One good man who is willing to stand up for God has a wonderful influence on others who are watching.
What is needed most in our world is not better technology, better food, better clothing, better medicines, or even better laws. What is needed most is better people. We pray that God will raise up such individuals. The wanted man is the godly man who puts the Lord first and is a blessing to those around him.