Today’s Bible Reading: Jeremiah 22-23:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; Psalm 83:1-18; Proverbs 25:11-14
Social justice is very important to God. He demands that people be fair in our dealings with each other and to look out for those who are less fortunate (Jeremiah 22:3). Needless to say, we haven’t done a very good job of this.
Just because God loves us doesn’t mean that He won’t send hardship our way (Jeremiah 22:6). A parent loves their child not by giving them everything they want or by isolating them from every possible danger but by looking out for their best interests. This sometimes means letting them go through difficult times in the hopes of learning and becoming better people. God works exactly the same way in our lives.
In Jeremiah 22:10-30 Jeremiah gives some less than pleasant prophecies to three Judean kings. Notice how much responsibility God puts on the leaders of nations for that nation’s spiritual well-being. God raises up leaders for the sake of others. When those leaders take advantage of their situation to secure their place in history rather than looking to the interests of others, God gets angry and punishes them more severely than the rest of us. See also Jeremiah 23:1.
Success is dangerous. When we are successful we can become arrogant and self-assured. It is at precisely these moments that God warns us about such thoughts (Jeremiah 22:21). Success breeds pride. And pride leads to disaster.
There is no question that this is where the United States is heading. Over the past several decades we’ve been boisterous on the world stage – bragging about how much better we are than other countries. We’ve bullied less powerful and less wealthy countries to adopt our abominable practices of abortion and recognition of homosexuality in order to receive financial aid. We are hated by just about everyone and understandably so. We have set ourselves up for a massive collapse.
One of the things that saddens me the most is to see so many people getting information about eternity from those who know nothing about God (Jeremiah 23:17-18). Oprah. Dr. Phil. Steven Hawking. Judge Judy (an outpsoken atheist). None of these people study the BIble or have a real relationship with God through Jesus (I feel certain to say) so they cannot give any useful advice. Yet people put stock in their views about life and eternity.
To know the truth about God all we have to do is read the Bible. But Satan has tricked the masses into thinking the Bible is inaccurate, useless, out-dated or even mythology. I used to think these things myself. Then I decided to actually read it and discovered that the Bible was not at all what I thought it was.
Today we begin to read Paul’s second letter to the church at Thessalonika. The Thessalonians were suffering at the hands of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:4). Persecution is evidence that you’re doing God’s will. People hate Jesus and His message (John 15:18). If a Christian has no enemies then the message of his/her life is almost certainly one that appeases those around him rather than one that seeks to please God.
While I am certainly not suffering as many Christians do all over the world I’ve received a fair amount of hate e-mail, including death threats, as a result of writing this blog. To me this is proof that the message I try to disperse is aligned (at least for the most part) with the message of the BIble.
I can certainly relate to these people as I used to be a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth Christian-hater too. I understand the hate people have for the message of Jesus. But since I have been on both sides of the fence I also know that this hate is based on faulty information.
Jesus came to free us from the bondage of such feelings. He came to demonstrate God’s immeasurable love for us by allowing His body to be nailed to a cross and then descending into hell for 3 days on our behalf. It should have been me on that cross. It should have been you. We all deserve to be separated from God forever (the very definition of “hell”). But God’s love for us is so passionate that He took our punishment upon Himself. There is nothing to hate about that.
No matter how long ones lives, we can always improve ourselves. We do that by inviting constructive criticism from those in our lives who know us and who know God (Proverbs 25:12). If we are open to it, such advice is worth more than gold.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.