Monday, August 18, 2014

Jeremiah 34-37

So, let me just say right off the bat that Jeremiah 34-37 is jumping around in time, going back and forth between events and circumstances.  Things are NOT happening in chronological order in this book of the Bible.

The disorderliness of it all makes things a bit confusing.

And as I thought about that, it started to make sense to me.  That's a reflection of our own lives.  When we go back and forth in our faith, when we drift and lose God as the context for the way we live our lives, things seem to become really confusing.  And we lose a sense of our place and purpose in the world.

We hear more about how difficult Jeremiah's call to share God's word really is.
He's beaten and imprisoned.  He faithfully goes to all the trouble to put God's word in writing with Baruch so it can be shared again and again.  Yet, the scroll full of life-saving words is destroyed and Jeremiah has to do write it all down a second time.  And despite all Jeremiah's efforts and sufferings, people just won't listen to him.  

Jeremiah's just doing what God tells Him to do.  It had to be a frustrating situation.

King Zedekiah of Judah and all of his crew are a good representation of what was happening over and over again.

Neither he nor his attendants nor the people of the land
  paid any attention to the words the LORD had spoken 
  through Jeremiah the prophet.

It might seem like a random verse to pull out today, but it speaks volumes to me.

We have an attention deficit when it comes to God because our lives get so crazy, so busy, so complicated and confusing, so unpredictable and unexpected, so hard, so fast.  It's just the way it goes.  I know because I struggle to pay attention all the time.

But here's the thing we have to believe with all our hearts-

God is always with us finding ways to speak into our lives.  And just as God sends Jeremiah, He sends people to us to help us know Him and His grace.  It's in God's very nature to save us and give us new life.  Jesus is LIVING proof of that.

Like Zedekiah and the people of Judah so long ago, we too often miss God's outstretched hand trying to bring us closer to Him and save us from ourselves.

The story of Peter walking on water and getting distracted by the wind illustrates this point perfectly.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
God always has an outstretched hand to save us when we lose focus and sink or become lost with doubt.  We just have to grab hold of our faith and the truth about God's enormous love for us.
A prayer for today-
Dear God,
Thank You for Your Living Word that speaks to our hearts and our lives in the ways we need it the most.  Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be with us and show us just how much You love us each and every day.
Forgive me, Lord, for all the ways I fail to pay attention to Your voice in my life.  Forgive my doubting mind that gets so easily distracted by appearances and circumstances.
I pray that You will make me sensitive to You and aware of Your presence moment to moment.  Help me recognize and give thanks for the people and voices acting as Your hands and feet in the world.  And as I go into the world, fill my heart with the courage to reach out my hand to the people who need it the most.
You are my Rock and my Redeemer.
In Jesus' name I pray,
In Christ's love,
*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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