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CHAPTER 14 — In verse 7 the people of Judah CONFESS their sins: “7 Although our sins testify against us, DO SOMETHING, LORD, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR NAME. FOR WE HAVE OFTEN REBELLED; WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST YOU.”
There you saw it for yourself….yep you did….they CONFESSED their sin against HIM. AND then they praise HIM in verse 8: “YOU who are the hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress….”
AND THEN….HERE it comes…. at the end of verse 8-9: “WHY are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night 9 WHY are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save? You are among us, Lord, and we bear your name; do not forsake us!”
OH BOY…..things have become tough in Judah and getting tougher. FALSE PROPHETS are saying everything will be fine. God will deal with the false prophets who VERBALLY say “everything is just fine.” BUT…God did not send them and says they WILL pay for leading HIS people astray.
The people see things falling apart and run to God for help…..like we all do. However, no where in this Scripture does it say they TRULY REPENTED…..CHANGED their HEARTS….STOPPED their perverted behaviors…STOPPED worshiping IDOLs….It simply says…..they confessed their sin. And in the last verses of this chapter they are pouring out their hearts to God and recognizing WHO HE is. Ummmmmmmm….maybe just lip service to cover their bases….but no actions to back a changed Heart. Another point to consider is that confession is not FOR God, God designed it FOR US. Confession does not necessarily change the consequences of our sin and it was not designed to. Confession is designed as the first step in recognizing our sin, our dependency on HIM…so WE can change the behaviors of our sin and become transformed more into God’s image. However, Judah either did not understand or was simply unwilling to do what God required…….and if we are honest, often we repeat their behaviors.
If you are like me the more we read the more we keep hoping these people will change and TURN BACK to God with all their hearts…..but that is not what is happening. And if you are like me….I see our world (the actions of people, the possible war/sanctions against Syria, all the countries who hate Israel (NOT part of God’s plan), earthquakes in places not seen before, out of control natural wild fires destroying land and homes, a tsunami that impacted a nuclear power plant in Japan a year ago and soon the radiation that is escaping from that nuclear power plant is making its way across the Pacific Ocean to the US, hurricanes, tornados, and flooding in magnitudes and frequency that are unprecedented in our history (ummmmmm….all these natural disasters are like our earth groaning like a woman in labor!!), Christian prayer removed from public places, and the list could take up pages…but the point is I hear people continually ask: “So where is God, why doesn’t HE show up and stop all this.” And the answer is the same today as it was in Jeremiah’s time……God is warning us through ALL that is happening to TURN BACK TO HIM. HOW can we expect HIM to show up, if we are not willing to BE HIS?? On this side of the cross once we ask Jesus in our heart and believe that HE is who is says HE is, confess and repent of our sin….then HE WILL NEVER LEAVE NOR FORSAKE US. Our being saved is DONE when we do this. However, if we or our nation, or our leaders refuse to humble themselves before the one true God….unfortunately there will be consequences for the choices. (In my human little mind…I have to admit it is quite overwhelming so I can not play a game of “what if” in my head.)
While I read Jeremiah and am touched by many of the Scriptures; I can also grow restless…disturbed….unsettled because the people do not heed the warnings. They want to harm Jeremiah and want to listen to the false prophets and continue doing the things that are not part of God’s Ways. They still refuse to TURN BACK to HIM. I have to remain focused on Jesus as I read this rather than the circumstances of our world. However, Jeremiah’s words are from God and they are indeed timeless. They are still warning us, even us, to KEEP OUR HEARTS and MINDS ON HIM. HOW do we do that…. by remaining in HIS Word, acting on HIS Word and choosing to live a life for HIM.
CHAPTER 15 — Verse 7 says: “…for they have NOT changed their ways…” God AGAIN tells them what they need to do to keep from being punished for their sins. He does it speaking directly of Jeremiah:
Therefore this is what the LORD says:
“If you repent, I will restore you
that you may serve me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
you will be my spokesman.
CHAPTER 16 — ”When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the LORD decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the LORD our God?’ then say to them, ‘It is because your fathers forsook me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. BUT YOU HAVE BEHAVED MORE WICKEDLY than your fathers. See how each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil heart instead of obeying me. So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’ (16:10-15)
Words that definitely make us think…..A Prophecy of the Captivity, or a Prophecy for the next generation of America, and our world?
CHAPTER 17 — Even in the midst of all the judgement God still gives us HOPE.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (17:7-8)
Verses 9-10: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
So much in Jeremiah that we can learn from. Just remember in your reading that if you believe the warnings are as much for today as they were for Jeremiah’s day….take heart in the HOPE and in the fact that we are blessed indeed to live on this side of the CROSS….on this side of the NEW Covenant….an unconditional Covenant…where our hearts is even more important.
God sees all. HE knows all. And yet HE STILL LOVES us so MUCH that HE sent HIS ONLY son to serve as the SUBSTITUTE for our SIN….to redeem us….to ransom us….to change our hearts so we are transformed.
Sharing HIS love,