Day 223

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Jeremiah 16:1-18:23, 35:1-19

Keith Beyar, Missionary

Who would want the life of a prophet? Yes, you have a special relationship with the Lord giving you insights into God which no one else could attain. You would truly commune with the Creator God and be his instrument to communicate to His people. But, when you consider the people of Israel at the time of Jeremiah, this communication was going to be harsh, bad news. In the end (18:18-23) the people chose to silence the messenger rather than listen to the message. This is what the Old Testament describes as “stiff necked people” because of behavior like this.

Indeed, at this time God is addressing the tribe of Judah (all the others had been scattered already) and their sin against Him. The threat is to withdraw his peace (16:5) and the death that followed would not even be redeemed by a proper burial. Peace (Shalom) and burial rites were very important to the Jewish people (then and still today) and God was threatening to take both of these away. At the same time, God issues warnings out of a motivation that we would turn from our ways (repent) and follow him once again.

The picture of this restoration is like a tree planted by a river in the desert (17:5-8), a sharp, green contrast of life and health surrounded by desolation. Regardless of the environment or conditions, the person (tree) will continue to bear fruit because they trust God, they have their confidence in Him, not in themselves. Someone who will continue the course of righteousness (obey God’s commands) will experience true life and blessing. Disobedience will always lead to judgment, whereas obedience leads to blessing.

In 35:1-19 we meet the descendants of Jonadab who made a commitment before the Lord for himself and his descendants about the type of life they would live and their abstention from alcohol. Jeremiah even tests them to see if their commitment continued through the generations, and it had. God’s response to this was a promise of blessing to this family, illustrating the message of chapters 16-18.

What path will we choose? The choices we make today form the life we live tomorrow, big and small choices add up to define us. Will we choose to plant ourselves along the stream of living water, God leading our lives in all seasons? Or will we choose our own way when it seems best to us and swing back to God only when things get tough? It’s easy to see our need for God when the times are tough but, this “seasonal” commitment won’t allow our roots to grow deep, enabling us to stand strong when it does get tough. God wants our hearts, our whole hearts, and he wants to bless our decision to follow him. Consider today where you are planted, and check–how deep are your roots?

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2 responses »

  1. Thanks Keith,

    I have experienced childlike faith, seasonal commitment and whole hearted surrender. Looking back I see many unmistakable times that God was with me, protecting me, convicting me & steering me.
    It wasn’t until I let my roots reach His stream of living water and did the adult sized surrender that He let me experience Him in “real time” not just retrospect. I see Him now in so many ways, all around me, through people & creation, sunrises and sunsets. I feel Him with every fiber of my being, He fills me with His presence. I regret the time it took to come to this realization but experiencing Him on my terms vs. KNOWING HIM on His terms has been such a catalyst in every aspect of my life. It all started when I opened a Bible and showed interest in getting to know Him and started to build that relationship.
    JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE

  2. 18:4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
    Father, thank You that , no matter what happens “in retrospect”, You have a plan for me in “real time” if I will turn from my stubbornness and stiff-neckedness (?), fall on my face before You and declare my real need for You in any and all seasons of my life. Thank You for Your forgiveness, Your looooong-suffering and Your unconditional love. May I never lose the wonder of ALL that You are. Amen.

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