Don't Just Tell Them
Gracious Lord, forgive me for the pride that too frequently takes the place of praise in my heart.
Read Jeremiah 32:1-15
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“If his faithful commitment to the God he called ‘Abba’ cost Jesus his life, why should we expect following him to be comfortable and pain-free” (James Howell)?
“Put your money where your mouth is.” That sums up God’s challenge to Jeremiah. “Jeremiah, do you really believe that I will restore fallen Israel?” Jeremiah was so sure of God’s judgment that he was willing to suffer imprisonment rather than water down his preaching. But was he going to be sure enough of God’s mercy to invest in some real estate at a time when the destruction he prophesied was so real to him? God’s reassuring word came with timing that, as always, was perfect (8; c.f. Rom 5:6).
Holding on to faith in a merciful God in those times when all the evidence around you shouts for judgment is not easy, but that is God’s nature. For the moment, Israel’s intransigence and refusal to respond to God’s warm, loving and yet urgent call for repentance had fallen on deaf ears. Now it was too late. Babylon’s army was at the gates of Jerusalem. God’s judgment could no longer be averted. In graphic detail, Jeremiah tells what will happen to King Zedekiah. Yet he did not allow his unfair imprisonment to embitter his spirit. He knew that Jerusalem’s fall was not ultimately Babylon’s doing, but God’s. God was in control and he would restore. So whatever would happen in the short term, Jeremiah was saying that his investment was secure.
In our day, more people are imprisoned or are suffering in other ways to a greater or lesser extent–for living and witnessing faithfully to the Word of the Lord. In these situations, the temptation can be either to lash out aggressively or to abandon any public expression of our faith. Yet for Jesus, and for Paul and others, these situations have provided opportunities for the most fruitful witness. May we be prepared when the challenge and the opportunity come to us (1 Pet. 3:15)!
How has God’s mercy and his assurances been significant in your life? As you recall this, thank God for them.
Loving Lord, Your clocks keep perfect time. I trust anew Your timing and seek to obey You in all things.
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