BACK TO THE FUTURE
Gracious God, it amazes me that no mess is too big for you to fix, no life too shattered for you to restore.
Read JEREMIAH 6
Jerusalem Under Siege
6 “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!
Flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet in Tekoa!
Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!
For disaster looms out of the north,
even terrible destruction.
2 I will destroy Daughter Zion,
so beautiful and delicate.
3 Shepherds with their flocks will come against her;
they will pitch their tents around her,
each tending his own portion.”
4 “Prepare for battle against her!
Arise, let us attack at noon!
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
and the shadows of evening grow long.
5 So arise, let us attack at night
and destroy her fortresses!”
6 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Cut down the trees
and build siege ramps against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
it is filled with oppression.
7 As a well pours out its water,
so she pours out her wickedness.
Violence and destruction resound in her;
her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
8 Take warning, Jerusalem,
or I will turn away from you
and make your land desolate
so no one can live in it.”
9 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Let them glean the remnant of Israel
as thoroughly as a vine;
pass your hand over the branches again,
like one gathering grapes.”
10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed[a]
so they cannot hear.
The word of the Lord is offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath of the Lord,
and I cannot hold it in.
“Pour it out on the children in the street
and on the young men gathered together;
both husband and wife will be caught in it,
and the old, those weighed down with years.
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,
together with their fields and their wives,
when I stretch out my hand
against those who live in the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
you who are witnesses,
observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:
I am bringing disaster on this people,
the fruit of their schemes,
because they have not listened to my words
and have rejected my law.
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba
or sweet calamus from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;
your sacrifices do not please me.”
21 Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“I will put obstacles before this people.
Parents and children alike will stumble over them;
neighbors and friends will perish.”
22 This is what the Lord says:
“Look, an army is coming
from the land of the north;
a great nation is being stirred up
from the ends of the earth.
23 They are armed with bow and spear;
they are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like the roaring sea
as they ride on their horses;
they come like men in battle formation
to attack you, Daughter Zion.”
24 We have heard reports about them,
and our hands hang limp.
Anguish has gripped us,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
25 Do not go out to the fields
or walk on the roads,
for the enemy has a sword,
and there is terror on every side.
26 Put on sackcloth, my people,
and roll in ashes;
mourn with bitter wailing
as for an only son,
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us.
27 “I have made you a tester of metals
and my people the ore,
that you may observe
and test their ways.
28 They are all hardened rebels,
going about to slander.
They are bronze and iron;
they all act corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely
to burn away the lead with fire,
but the refining goes on in vain;
the wicked are not purged out.
30 They are called rejected silver,
because the Lord has rejected them.”
- Jeremiah 6:10 Hebrew uncircumcised
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink back to the time when you were first conscious of meeting with Jesus. Let your memory encourage and refresh you.
All kinds of wrong theories abound in our world today. Ancient Judah had their own versions – chiefly that they would be okay whatever they did, and that God was weak and ineffective. Look at verse 14 to see what the false prophets were saying.
The antidote for wrong ideas is to go back to the beginning (v 16). While people rarely like to be told that things were better in the old days, which they probably weren’t, there is ancient wisdom that is worth seeking out, ancient wisdom that will bring rest and freedom from judgment. What is the ancient wisdom (v 19)? It is the law of God. Three times they are told to listen or hear (vs 17,19) and listening lies at the heart of God’s covenant relationship with his people then and now – God spoke from Sinai and still speaks. ‘Listen’ (NIV) is not the best translation; ‘pay attention to’ (ESV) is better. We are encouraged to active listening that involves obedience. But it must be genuine obedience – just going through the motions (v 20) is not enough. It may not be a popular idea, but the New Testament emphasizes again and again the need for obedience (e.g., John 14:15).
What ancient paths do you need to revisit today? Reflect on the heart of your faith and find rest.
Lord, I need balance regarding worship. May I treasure the old where it is helpful and embrace the new where it points to Jesus.
Book and Author Intros
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