From Covenant to Complaint
Father, whatever circumstance I am in, help me to use it as an opportunity to honor You.
Read Jeremiah 11:1-23
 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:  “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem.  Tell them that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant-  the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.  Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’-the land you possess today.” I answered, “Amen, LORD.”  The LORD said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them.  From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.”  But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.'”  Then the LORD said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem.  They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.  Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.  The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they will not help them at all when disaster strikes.  You, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns; and the altars you have set up to burn incense to that shameful god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.’  “Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.  “What is my beloved doing in my temple as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes? Can consecrated meat avert your punishment? When you engage in your wickedness, then you rejoice.”  The LORD called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form. But with the roar of a mighty storm he will set it on fire, and its branches will be broken.  The LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused my anger by burning incense to Baal.  Because the LORD revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.  I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.”  But you, LORD Almighty, who judge righteously and test the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause.  Therefore this is what the LORD says about the people of Anathoth who are threatening to kill you, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD or you will die by our hands”-  therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will punish them. Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine.  Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre you paying a cost to follow God in truth?
This is a chapter of two halves, containing themes which dominate Jeremiah’s experience of God: covenant and complaint. Commissioned by God to be his messenger (1:4,5), Jeremiah’s mandate is to call the people of Israel to obey the covenant God made with them at Sinai (11:1-17). Recalling the historic exit from Egypt and into the Sinai desert, Jeremiah will relentlessly call his fellow citizens to return to the law of God. In so doing he will challenge their practices and beliefs time after time. And here’s the rub: it will cost him dearly. We are drawing close to a reluctant prophet. Here is a man who knows he is under a divine constraint to speak but is profoundly uncomfortable with his message. A note of lament pervades this passage (18-23) and the next chapter. It’s this three-dimensional response to God that makes Jeremiah such a believable character.
Is following Jesus putting you at odds with the culture that surrounds you? Should it be? Pray and reflect on this.
You paid a terrible cost to walk in truth, but You did it for the sake of love. Help me to be a person of love and truth.
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