Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reflections on Jeremiah

So I am reading through Jeremiah and contemplating it right now.  I am currently in chapters 15-17, and have noticed that there is a lot of judgment and hard things in it.  Today, we focus on God being a loving God, and He is.  However, we define love by him blessing us with nice, easy, kind things.

In Jeremiah 15, this concept is challenged:
"Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn't help them."
"I am tired of always giving them a chance."
"I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to change their evil ways. There will be more widows than the grains of sand on the seashore."
"I will cause anguish and terror to come upon the suddenly. The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath; her sun has gone down while it is still day.  She sits childless now, disgraced and humiliated/  And I will hand over those who are left to be killed by the enemy.  I, the LORD, have spoken!"

In Jeremiah 16:
"For I have removed my protection and peace from them.  I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy."

Why would a nice God do something like this to His own people?  
To be fair, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to tell these people to return to Him.
They had forgotten their God and had turned to their old ways of worshipping stone, wood, and bronze (reminds me of the song, "Who Made Who?" by AC/DC). They had become wicked, evil, and worthless.  When they discovered they were on the wrong road, they didn't turn back. Even worse, they became so twisted that they thought they had God's word, and even had false prophets who they thought were right.

God told them, "If you oben me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God. " (11:4)

Jeremiah 9:7 I believe is key.  "Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: 'See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal.  What else can I do with my people?'"

They had gone off the right path & had chosen the path of destruction (which is the result of sin).  God pleaded with them, sent prophets to them, and had turned up the heat on them (sent a drought, and took away the animals in the land).  They were headed toward destruction & eternal suffering.

So God, being wise, and caring for their welfare, really increased the heat by sending in foreign (Assyrian & Babylonian) armies to judge Israel SO THAT they would return to the Lord.

Under the New Covenant, the Lord also disciplines & brings difficulty into the Christians life, and into the unbelievers life, to draw us to Jesus.  He does this because He knows that a relationship with Him is best for us.

People can respond to this in a few ways:
1. Turn from their stubborn direction and embrace Jesus. And be thankful that God grabbed their attention.
2. Become angry with God for the crappy life they have.
3. Miss the message completely.
4. Surround themselves with people who will lie to them, so they feel better about their suffering & thus totally miss what God was saying to them.

At this point, Israel was choosing 2-4.  Not the best choice.

How do you respond to hard times in life?  Is God trying to get your attention?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fruit Man

A man gave up his comfort & all that he knew to move to among the starving.
When he arrived he set up a stand in the poorest of cities.
At this stand he offered fruit, fresh water, and choice nuts & lean meat.

However, the people kept passing by and ignoring the man.
Some would look at the fruit, some would talk with the man.
They all admired the man but they would not eat or drink.

He watched as the children became sick.
He watched as the mothers put their babies in the ground.
He saw the fat stomachs of starvation & heard the cries of malnutrition.

He himself cried out, in their own language, "I offer you good food that will bring healing to you and your family.  It is free."
But this concept of being healed was foreign to the people.  They had grown accustomed to the centuries of death from starvation.

For years the man cried out.
And out of all the years, only a few took the fruit and were healed.