Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jeremiah 42-45

You know that saying, "Ignorance is bliss?"  

Well, Jeremiah 42-45 is a great illustration of how crazy that statement is when it comes to knowing God.

There are a few of God's people left in Israel, and they are scared to death.  The devastation around them following the most recent murdering spree by a guy with royal blood named Ishmael literally brings them to God.  

"Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, "Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant.  For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left.  
Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do."

God doesn't discriminate.  He loves us all, the least and the greatest.  

And sometimes He uses circumstances to bring us closer to Him so we can know His help in our lives when we see it.  

God's people in today's reading have tried everything they know to try, and now they come to God for advice.  Finally!

And even though it's been way too long since these people have remembered God for anything, God hears their prayer and clearly answers them.

Notice though for our future reference, Jeremiah didn't receive the answer to the prayer for 10 days.  Listening to God takes patience on our part (something I have to work hard find patience in myself).  

That's how it goes sometimes.  God guarantees He will answer, but God's answers for our lives take time, His time.

And so after 10 days, God's answer to their prayer, His direction for their lives, doesn't match their personal expectations.  God's direction goes against their human instincts, but His direction is full of promises for life and God's protection.

God says to His people still left in Israel,

"If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you.  Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear.  Do not be afraid of him, declares the LORD, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands.  I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land."

God is always in the business of showing us His great mercy and grace.  He wants to restore us when we need it the most.  God is telling His people exactly what to do to experience new life with Him.

God does that for us too.  He offers all of us, from the least to the greatest, new life in Christ  He speaks into our lives and leads us in the ways we should go and in the things we should do.

And the rest is up to us.  We have to do our part to follow God for us to realize the fullness of His love and the awesome promises He puts in our hearts.

So, today I am thinking about that part of following God that's up to me.  Where do I need to be patient for God to answer, and where do I need to follow through on what my ears and my heart are hearing?

A prayer for today-

Dear God,

Thank You for Your compassion and love.  Thank You for answering all of our prayers and for the restoration we find for our own lives in Jesus.

Lord, forgive me for the ways I let my own expectations keep me from   hearing Your answers for my life.

Tell me, Lord, where I should go and what I should do each day.  Help me to let go of my own expectations and trust You.  

I want You to build me up and ground me in Your compassion and grace.

And as You restore me, Lord, use me to bring Your compassion to others.

I pray for Your direction when it comes to _____________________.

You are our merciful and loving God who fills us with hope.

In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit I pray,

Peace of Christ,
*This post is part of A Mind-Maker-Upper's Everyday Reading Project.  Click here to read more.

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