Jeremiah 16: 16—18: 23
The reason Israel is in the trouble they are in is because they relied on their own history and human understanding to lead their lives. Just as ridiculous as it is for a lump of clay to tell the potter what to do, so is it ridiculous for God’s chosen people to tell him how they will live. But that is exactly what happens when we say things like, “My family has always done it this way,” or “I have listened to my heart and this is what it told me to do.” This section tells us how dangerous that is. Doing what everyone else has done means you have checked your brain at the door, and you are doing things for no other reason than not wanting to swim upstream. Listening to your heart is no good because guess what? “It is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.” Why do you think God had to give Israel the Law? It was because if we don’t have God intervening in our sin-soaked life, we don’t know right from wrong. We see this played out in the nations that Israel is following into sin. Child sacrifice, temple prostitution, child prostitution, murder, war, and a general affinity to do evil are on their hit list. Without the Potter molding us it would turn into the Hunger Games out there.
1 Thessalonians 4: 1—5: 3
Paul addresses their lax morality today. It seems they were doing more than loving each other in a Christian way, if you get my point. Learning to rely on God to teach you how to control your body is the mark of maturity in a believer. This is where we start to grow fruit of the Spirit. God gives us the power to say “NO” to ourselves.
I am so encouraged today by verse 4: 11. This is a way that I have learned to rely on the Lord and say no to my desires. I am most comfortable with a hectic life, with lots of people watching me, and lots of tasks to do. But God has taught me in the last two years that the quiet life is actually where He has grown me the most. “living a quiet life, minding your own business,” goes against everything my heart and body wants to do. I pictured myself more as, “Lara Croft Tomb Raiding Evangelist for the Lord.” If I had my way, I would own a giant Hum-V that is covered in armor and crosses. I would drive this Hum-V through the streets of America pulling up onto people’s front lawns, busting their doors down and not leaving until they climbed into the back of my Hum-V where I have a baptismal. This very direct spectacle would be broadcast all over the world and everyone would harold me as, “Lara Croft Tomb Raider Evangelizer,” and comment on the fact that I had done more for the Christian faith than anyone ever except for Jesus. But having set out to change the world in this way, I looked behind me and saw a lot of broken relationships and a lot of me relying on myself instead of allowing the Lord to mold me like we talked about in Jeremiah today. Because of the husband God gave me and the kids, I realized that the quiet life was what God was asking me to do. I will be perfectly honest with you, learning to enjoy the Middlemarch was the hardest thing I have ever had to do as a Christian. Denying my own desires and trying to figure out how to honor God when I am driving carpool has nearly been the death of me. But it is where I have grown the most. The pruning of saying “no” to myself is where God has grown me most. I am so thankful for what He has done, and so is America I am sure because no one wants a Hum-V on their front lawn.
Paul also talks about the Rapture today. But I will pick that up tomorrow when we finish that section in our reading.