Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2010-13&version=NIV
Today was a heavy duty read for me. My husband and I are enjoying the beach, praising God for the beautiful sunrise and the beautiful starfish he placed on the beach just for us to see today first this this morning. I am continually filled with awe at God’s creations.
I begin reading Jeremiah and my brain at first is saying to me “does not compute…does not compute…” I continue reading and get the big picture in Jeremiah….God is NOT happy with HIS people who have continually pulled away from HIM in every area of their lives. They have worthless idols that they care more about than they do the God who CREATED them. In HIS timing, God is bringing judgement against Judah and Jerusalem in today’s read. Yet what are the people doing? They STILL are NOT listening!! They have seen Israel go into captivity and begun to see Judah head that way. God has sent many to warn Judah, but the people are doing their own thing. (ummmmm…..sounds like things we read on our news today!)
Bless Jeremiah’s heart, no wonder he is known as the “weeping prophet”. He is doing what The Lord has asked HIM to do and the people want to kill him!! They don’t want to hear the TRUTH. (Do we??)
I do love Jeremiah’s conversation with God and God’s response to him. I found that conversation most endearing between a man and HIS God whom he knows he can confide in.
And in the midst of such a heavy read we find Jeremiah 12:15 “But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to his own inheritance and his own country.”
A POWERFUL reminder of God’s compassion and mercy!!
In Chapter 11 God speaks through Jeremiah of the Covenant HE made to their forefathers regarding living in a land filled with mild and honey. The Covenant in the OT (check out Exodus and Deuteronomy if you need a more detailed reminder) is a CONDITIONAL Covenant between God and HIS people. We spent a lot of time in the beginning of the year talking about Covenant. It is critical that we understand that HE will NEVER break HIS Salvation Covenant. For those who believe God gave His One and Only Son, to die on a cross as a SUBSTITUTE so that we may have eternal life with the Father we are under AN UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT……..meaning HE will NEVER break that promise, that COVENANT with us. The Covenant of the OT, although a promise of the Covenant to come in the NT is a CONDITIONAL Covenant. God laid out HIS plan. It was not an impossible plan. However it was a Conditional Covenant. What made it conditional? God Promised them that IF they would comply THEN they would live a life filled with milk and honey, and the people confirmed the Covenant. God ALWAYS keeps His promises…we didn’t. In the book of Jeremiah there was a great reform under Josiah (Chapter 11) yet….. unfortunately….. they slid back, restored their idols, and God is letting them know that He must take action for their lack of obedience. The NEW COVENANT…is UNCONDITIONAL because once we believe Jesus is Lord, confess our sins to HIM, and seek HIM with all our hearts……OUR COVENANT is a FOREVER covenant…not dependent on laws or rituals…. it is about our HEART and who we have CHOSEN to be Lord of our lives.
Chapter 12. WHAT a BIG question here…..”Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live in ease?” Just as with Job, God didn’t come out and answer the question instead He basically said, there is NO security in prosperity. The bottom line is there is NO security in ANYthing except in the love of God…HIS EVERlasting love…..the UNCONDITIONAL love that sent Jesus to us so we could spend eternity with HIM and live the abundant life here on earth. So how do you define or see “the abundant life?” Yep…I know…not an easy question, right? I mean we all enjoy nice things right? We all have people in our lives who TELL us BOLDLY…there is NO ONE TRUE God…all religions really pray to the same god…just using different names, OR they tell us they simply do not believe in any god and don’t want to. YET…we see those same people financially and materialistically prospering. HOWEVER, what happens to them or to us when we lose our possessions, our jobs, our stuff? God is telling Jeremiah just as He is telling us…..if we depend on ANYthing other than HIM for any of our security…..we will really struggle when those things are gone. So again…..how do you define the abundant life? I have to continually seek the Lord when I stand on shaky ground and remind myself that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” And Paul in the NT said it best when he said he learned to be content in ANY situation. THAT was a powerful statement for a man who had been in prison for spreading the good news!!!
Chapter 13 gave us the parable of the Linen Belt. The belt was made of a delicate material, well decorated, and jeweled. It was beautiful in the site of men and God. It can be used, just like we can be used for God. BUT….. if you bury it, walk on it, abuse i then it will become useless as a garment. HIS garment. He is comparing what the Lord is going to do with Judah to that Belt. He made HIS people beautiful, to be used for God’s glory, and to be the LIGHT to ALL nations….BUT (I know…there is always a but in the picture) because of THEIR SIN (their Self Indulgent Nature that separates them from HIM) HE is going to have to bury them. While the land of Judah is destroyed and the people exiled and held in captivity they will no longer an instrument for God’s purposes.
So again…..I’ll ask……how do you define the abundant life? Is it the same way God defines it? Don’t get me wrong, I believe God WANTS to bless us with nice things, with our hearts’ desires, with our dreams……..BUT if we are dependent on those THINGS to define our abundant life we are missing the TRUE abundant life…a life totally dependent on HIM, a life devoted to being HIS LIGHT and sharing HIM with others, a life totally sold out to Jesus Christ..
Sharing HIS love,