Jeremiah 12: 1—14: 10
The illustrations God tells Jeremiah to perform are meant to cause Israels’ cold dead hearts to snap back to reality. As I was reading this today, I realized it is for people like me too. I can get so bogged down in my feelings and what is happening to me that I, like Israel separate myself from God and become a worthless loin cloth. You may ask yourself, wait what? Go with me here, I promise I have had coffee and I am in my right mind.
A belt or a loin cloth is most useful when it is holding up our pants or covering our, eh, front bottom area. A belt is living its best life when it is in the belt loops of my newest pair of bell bottoms. But if it gets lost it in my closet it can’t perform its most useful function because it is lost and not able to be secured to my waist. This is the same thing Jeremiah showed the people with the loin cloth he buried at the Lord’s request. The people of Israel are only living up to their highest potential when they are secured to God like a belt. When they get lost among the false worship around them, they are as useless to God as rotten loin cloth. The point is you have to stick to God. So, when you put your belt or loin cloth on today, remember to stick to God like your waistband sticks to you! (you laugh now, but I promise you will remember that when you are getting dressed.)
1 Thessalonians 1: 1-2: 8
Moving right along through the Epistles (the letters) portion of the New Testament. Paul planted a church in Thessalonica amongst a lot of persecution. Go back and check out Acts 17: 1-9 to see what Paul and his band of merry men were up against. Best estimates place this letter around 50 AD making in one of the earliest letters Paul wrote. He wrote it the believers in Thessalonica. This church was in need of some encouragement because the persecution was still hitting them on every side. Paul also has to defend himself and his mission because false teachers keep claiming he is a fly by night salesmen only interested in making money off of people. They also were being a little laissez-faire about the whole Christian moral code of conduct. Paul also addresses how they need to listen to their church leaders, something we all could study up on. And again, because Paul cannot plant a church without someone (Satan) coming in to mess up the message of the Gospel, he has to address a wrong idea that has taken hold. Specifically, what happens to Christians when they die.
Paul starts out by encouraging them by telling them they are an example to other churches in the area because of the way they imitated the apostles and the Lord. That is high praise and because of it they are good example or reflection of Jesus to others. This should be our highest desire too. Because like Paul says at the end of the section today, “Our purpose is to please God, not people.”