Click here for today”s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%201-3&version=NLT
This book has many of my favorite verses in it; yet it is a challenge read. It is not difficult to comprehend…..it is a challenge because it is convicting and requires me/us to look at our lives….in particular our hearts….have we really surrendered ALL to HIM? Are we serious about have a relationship with our Creator rather than HIS creations? It it deep and causes us to allow God to search our hearts, repent, and live for HIM.
We see both sides of God through out this book. We see the God who is Holy, Pure, and sinless ….who can not tolerate sin. We have seen warning after warning from God for HIS people. Yet they have been DETERMINED to “do it their way.” God can no longer tolerate all the sin and the refusal to turn to HIM so destruction follows. We ALSO see a God of love and mercy who promises to RESTORE HIS people. Like I said….it is a challenging read because it made me look at my personal CHOICES.
CHAPTER 1 —- Jeremiah begins with the Word telling us he was CALLED (around the age of 20) to tell EVERYONE about God…..and how they had CHOSEN to leave HIM for worthless idols. Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah (the priest who found the Book of the Law in the Temple under King Josiah.) Jeremiah tells God that he is too young to do this for HIM and my favorite verse of the day is what God says back to him in verse 5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”
I simply LOVE God’s response to Jeremiah!! I am sure we have all either felt called to do something, had a dream much bigger than ourselves, or been confronted with a bad medical report or have a career end (or many other possibilities here.) What is our first response? Usually……we respond with “OH LORD….I can’t do this..I’m too weak…I’m too young…things are wayyyyy to hard….this is too stressful…what will other people think….etc. And God reminds Jeremiah and each of us of HIS deep abiding love. I think Moses began with the same response..”Ummm…Lord….ME……ummmmm….Lord I can’t speak…and, and, and…”)
Jeremiah provides us with two visuals here to set the situation. First, an almond tree branch. This tells us that it is Spring and this is the beginning of Judgement. The boiling pot was tilting away from the north and spilling over the south, Judah. This is a picture of Babylon delivering God’s scalding judgment against Jeremiah’s people. Jeremiah was from a town just a few miles from Jerusalem so this was a hard prophecy for him to give.
CHAPTER 2 — is regarding Israel’s apostasy. Israel is compared to a wife who has left her husband for other men. God SPECIFICALLY asked HIS people Why? Why leave me?
Jeremiah reminds us over and over again that our SIN results in consequences. And if we continue in our sin we begin to forget what God wants……and both Israel’s and Judah’s sin resulted in their destruction. OUCH!!
This is what the LORD says:
“What fault did your fathers find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
and became worthless themselves. (ver 5)
I brought you into a fertile land
to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
and made my inheritance detestable.
The priests did not ask,
‘Where is the LORD ?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
Verse 11 is such a sad yet convicting statement: “But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols.”
This really caught my eye……and heart. When we don’t repent and turn back to GOD….we exchange our GLORY (which comes from HIM) for worthless idols. IN other words….we CHOOSE to move away from God. OUCH!! WHAT would happen if we measured ALL of our CHOICES with this ONE verse of Scripture? HOW much better would our decisions and overall life be? One of the things we all have in common is that each of us have the SAME amount of time each day…..24 hours. Once that day is gone….it is gone forever and can never be “brought back.” So doesn’t it make sense to ask ourselves in our daily lives with our daily decisions “Would I exchange the Glory of God for this?” Is there ANYthing worth trading that can compare to the Glory of God that He gives us/places on us/in us?? BELIEVE me I have made my own “fair share” of really stupid choices and even though I do my best to walk with God and put HIM at the forefront of my life….I have to keep in check with HIM daily…moment by moment to ASK HIM to search my heart and show me what I need to repent of, surrender to HIM, and ask HIM to help me change. I have to remember that God does not expect us to be perfect (the enemy can torture us with trying to be perfect.) God KNOWS perfect existed ONLY in ONE man and that was HIS son…Jesus Christ!! However, God does expect us to search for HIM with all our hearts and give all of our hearts to HIM.
Verse 13 says: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water; and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” I picture a mountain with fresh, cold, spring waters flowing down. There is NOTHING like the taste of cold, pure, natural spring water in the mountains. Now….imagine…these cisterns (usually man made)…. placed in the ground to gather water. These cisterns would be dirty PLUS they were cracked and leaked….so when they went to get water…..IF it was there it would be dirty. WHY CHOOSE the cracked cistern with dirty water???? And yet……we have our own ways of making the same choices today (and I’m not speaking of water but idols and their priority in our life…ruling our hearts.)
Verse 19 says: “YOUR wickedness will punish you; YOUR backsliding will rebuke you. CONSIDER then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake The Lord your God and have NO awe of me…”
Don’t get me wrong….things happen in our lives that we have NO control over. There are many things we simply can not explain or begin to understand. However, if we are honest many of the consequences in our lives are results of our own sin, just as it was for Israel and Judah. Our sin grieves our God. HE wants the BEST for us.
CHAPTER 3 — Verse 11 said: “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. That is HUGE!! I mean Israel was ALREADY in captivity. Judah had witnessed this happen to them!! BUT… Judah was looking down on them for their sins (PRIDE) while they themselves were hypocrites!! Judah was maintaining an APPEARANCE of Faith. However, their HEARTS were FAR from God. Repentance isn’t just acknowledging the sin, it is a CHANGE IN HEART AND MIND THAT RESULTS IN CHANGED BEHAVIOR. And guess who helps us make that change??? Without GOD, we alone can NEVER completely change…transform!!! BUT with God….”ALL things are possible.”
Amazing book—eh???? And we are only in Chapter 3 and if you are like me….you are already asking God to show you what does not please HIM so you can be TRANSFORMED more into HIS image…..NOT perfection….but true repentance from the heart
Sharing HIS love,