Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 14:11-16:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-3:13; Psalm 80:1-19; Proverbs 25:1-5
Judah was filled with false prophets telling people that everything was going to be fine (Jeremiah 14:13-14). God did not send these prophets and the proof would be in what they predicted would not come true.
In a similar way we have our own false prophets in America telling people that there are many paths to heaven or that there is no God. Notice from today’s passages that receiving and acting upon bad information does not spare anyone from God’s judgement. It is our responsibility to verify the information we are getting.
God cares for His people like a father cares for his precious children and it grieves Him to see us wounded (Jeremiah 14:17). I think this is talking about two wounds. The first wound would be sin which is a mortal wound (as the NLT translates). Sin spiritually kills us.
The second wound would be the discipline that God was going to inflict because the people had not turned from their sin. It might sound unreasonable to punish people for having a disease (sin) that was going to kill them. But God can heal the mortal wound that is sin. And He will if we ask Him to. But Judah never asked Him to. And people today are not asking Him to either. And not asking to be healed of a disease is even worse than having the disease in the first place.
Notice that God does not enjoy doling out harsh discipline (Jeremiah 14:17). But He will do it if we refuse to listen to His less-harsh warnings. Its like the old saying when a father spanks His kids: “This is going to hurt me more than its going to hurt you”.
Jeremiah was the object of much hate because of the messages he delivered to the people on behalf of God (Jeremiah 15:10-11). Of all the prophets Jeremiah exposes his own feelings the most. Its easy for evangelicals to relate to him as we want to tell others about God, like he did. But we also receive so much persecution, both verbal and physical.
We’ve seen this before but its worth repeating: the reason God allowed enemies to overrun Judah was sin was running rampant in their land (Jeremiah 15:13). God recognizes we all have a disease called sin. But He wants us to recognize it to and do something about it. Doing nothing – letting it control our lives – is the worst thing we could do.
When Jeremiah told people of the coming judgement they did not understand why such a thing would happen (Jeremiah 16:10). They were blind to their own sin, just like people are today. Just a few decades ago unmarried couples living together, premarital sex, abortion, and pornography were unacceptable practices. Same-sex marriage wasn’t even a thought. Now, these are so much a part of our culture that no one questions them or sees anything wrong with them.
Our standards may change, but God’s do not. People may collectively decide what behavior we will tolerate. But God still decides (and always will) what behavior is right.
The goal of any Christian should be to live a life that we’d be willing to have other emulate. This is what Paul did (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Its one thing to point people to Jesus. Of course we should. But just like Jesus pointed people to God through His life, our lives need to be pointing to Christ.
What we do and don’t do… What we wear or don’t wear… How we spend our money… What music we listen to… all these things should reflect the power that Jesus has on our lives – power that we’ve given Him because we know, without a doubt, that He, being God, has authority over our lives and knows what is best for us.
Many hear Biblical truth and say “well, that is just your interpretation” as if the Bible is vague or just the thoughts of man. But it is not. It is the very word of God which doesn’t just create good feelings – it works! (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Teaching others about Jesus is no trivial matter. Not only does it have eternal consequence for the student, but also for the teacher (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
The Thessalonians were Christians who were going through a rough time (1 Thessalonians 3:3). They needed strength and encouragement (1 Thessalonians 3:2). It should surprise no one when believers have trouble in life. It will happen. When it does, other believers should come alongside and help.
I write software for a living. One common feature of software is an “Easter egg” – something whimsical hidden in the software by its authors for people to discover. God created us as inquisitive people – the world of science proves this. We love to investigate and discover things. I think God has filled the Bible – and life itself – with “Easter eggs”. There is so much to discover.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.