AUGUST 12 READINGS...Jeremiah 23:33-24:10 & 29:1-31:14
There seems to be an assumption, particularly in the western church, that the proof of God’s blessing is only shown when good things happen. If you are in God’s will your life will be full of good stuff, you will never have to suffer, and the place of service He has for you will be easy. That everybody will love you and listen to what you have to say. As part of this way of thinking many believe if you are going through tough times, if you are in a difficult field of service, and if people reject you and despise you that somehow God is punishing you, or unhappy with you. In reading the book of Jeremiah I am hoping that you and I are seeing that these approaches to the blessing of God in the life of His servant have no basis in biblical truth. Jeremiah was a faithful follower of God…when all other prophets had left God, Jeremiah continued to hear and speak the words of God. Yet Jeremiah had one of the most difficult ministries imaginable. He suffers ridicule and condemnation from all the religious officials of his day. The king rejected his counsel. The people refused to receive his prophecies, and chose to follow the empty and lying words of the false prophets. We need to stop thinking that both success and the reality of God’s blessings is seen in the material riches of this world, or in the acceptance of people, or in whether we are in a comfortable place filled only with what we perceive as blessings. Obedience to God is the only valid way to examine success and God’s blessing in the life of a believer…the results can lie, they often do.
God calls Jeremiah to speak to the false prophets, and to tell that the Lord will forget them completely, because they have lied about what He had said. God also gives Jeremiah a vision of both good and rotten figs. God tells him the good figs represent the people of Judah in exile…that God will take care of them. As a matter of fact, God tells them to marry and raise children in exile, for they will be there for 70 years. They are to work hard for the prosperity of their captors…and be a blessing while they are there. The rotten figs represent King Zedekiah, and his officials…they are rotten to the core. God says, rather than bless them He would make them objects of horror. They will be mocked, and be objects of disgrace wherever they go. The land will see famine, war, and disease because of them. As our reading closes the Lord instructs Jeremiah to tell the people that He has not forgotten them, that they will be in exile for a specific time, and then He will return them to Judah. He also tells them that He will restore them…that He will shine through them.
Please share your thoughts from today’s readings. Ask the Lord to give you a biblical perspective of His blessings in your life. Don’t look to the assignment, for then we will judge wrongly, look to the One who gives the assignment. It is then we will see the great blessing of be called of God.
TOMORROW’S READINGS…Jeremiah 31:15-40 & Jeremiah 49:34-51:14