I’ve been blog-delinquent this semester. But oh, how I’ve missed blogging! And now I have a backlog of ideas I’ve been meaning to write on. So…where to start?
My devotions. That’s always a good place to start.
I’ve been reading about Jeremiah. That guy had a depressing job! We love to quote Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” right. But I’m not sure many of us would have received it in the context he was saying it.
The Israelites had been taken into captivity and Jeremiah was telling them to get as comfortable as possible as captives because they were going to be there for the long haul. Here they were in an undesirable situation (which they brought upon themselves) and God’s message to them was, freedom is not coming tomorrow!
See, I’ve gotten myself into a mess a few times (ok, maybe more than a few), and when I come to myself and turn to God, He has sometimes shown mercy and minimized the consequences of my foolishness. And let’s be honest, here: while you’re in the process of doing something you know is wrong, and you’re planning to repent afterwards, you’re (at least secretly) hoping that God will remove all consequences of your misdeeds, right. Of course, right.
In fact, most times, when we decide to sin, I mean knowing that what we’re doing is wrong but doing it anyway, and trusting that God will forgive us, we’re also hoping that we won’t have to suffer the consequences for our wrong actions.
But the thing is, there are consequences! We forget that God is able to forgive sin and remove it’s consequential death not because He changes the way the universe works, but because He assumes the penalty for my sin in my behalf. The wages of sin is death, is always death, and is still death when I am forgiven. But the gift of God is that He became sin, who knew no sin, and died an ignominious death on the cross, so that we might become His righteousness and inherit eternal life.
As a result of Israel’s stubborn disobedience, they were to be captives for 70 years, after which, God would restore them. But they were to accept the consequences of their actions and trust God through the process, knowing that even in this, He was working for their good.
You try delivering that message!
While we want to be released from our present painful circumstance, God wants to save us from the internal corruption of sin. Sometimes that means leaving us right where we are, in the middle of discomfort, hurt, strife… and using those negatives to work a positive transformation of heart.
But you try preaching that.
Maybe you won’t get off that sick bed. Maybe you won’t get that A. Maybe your boss will actually fire you after all. Maybe you won’t meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Maybe you won’t get accepted into your dream school.
You try telling a Christian that God might not give you what you want right now. And then quote them a Jeremiah 29:11!
Jeremiah had a tough job!
He had a tough job, but he did it anyhow! And that’s what’s really stuck out to me in my devotions over the past couple of days. He performed, faithfully, the assignment God gave him. He didn’t always want to do it, but he did it anyway. It’s a solemn challenge:
“Now is the time for God’s people to show themselves true to principle. When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason. The nation will be on the side of the great rebel leader.” 5T 136.2