Friday, May 13, 2016

I've decided not to see you in the story, but myself.

I've only read three chapters of Jeremiah as of this writing. Can I tell you what is easy to do as I read along? "Oh those Israelites. So foolish, really." Or better yet... "Yes, this reminds me of ____. He really needs to get right with God. Power hungry fool that he is." That's easy. Let me point fingers and throw blame around. What's hard is looking in the mirror with Jeremiah's words reverberating within my heart.

Jeremiah was called to be a prophet by God. You don't need to accept this, but then the rest of his story will mean very little to you if you don't. I believe and accept this, and I also believe that His words were meant for a specific audience, the Jewish people, those in Judah and those who had already been taken into exile. However, I also believe, as with any good story, there are take aways for all of us, otherwise what is the good in the telling of stories?

When Jeremiah was called to be a prophet, Josiah was King of Judah. He was a good King. One who worked to follow David and live according to God. He tried hard, removed the areas where other gods were worshiped, but he didn't have the Word of God at this time. They relocate that about five years into this story. I haven't gotten there yet.

Judah's evil was in forsaking God and worshiping idols. In the first three chapters it's clear that they had stopped following after God and instead followed after god's other people or they themselves created. Jeremiah wasn't all that excited to go tell these people where they went wrong. Josiah had tried to bring the country back to where it should be, but much of the "revival" was surface and for show. There was not a real heart change, and pointing this out was part of what Jeremiah had to let people know.

At this point we can all name a couple of people we think would fall into these categories, but I am challenging myself NOT to do this. I am challenging myself to hear God speak to ME through His scripture.

So, releasing the poor souls who didn't even know I hung them out to dry, I look in the mirror: hello Judah. You've made some mistakes.

And this is when my mind rushes with facts and opinions. I remember all the times I messed up, got too angry, didn't respond well, chose badly. stayed quiet. etc. I think of all those times I didn't do what I should have. From thirty years ago up to two days ago, and let's be honest: today. I have lists long and varied which I hide from the world, so I know that I have my share of sins, but I want to stay on target here. What was it that Judah had done? Forsook God and worshiped idols.

Have I forsaken God?

Oh the easy answer here is no. But Chapter three calls me to face the fact that my mirror is cracked. Yes, there are times I forsake God. I forget Him. Abandon Him. Leave Him behind. Just like the Israelites, I have stepped away from Him and His teachings and then I fall back and ask Him how long He will be angry with me. Have I forsaken God? Yes.

Have I worshiped idols?

There are no carved images I bow down to on a regular basis, no. But I do fall down to the opinions of others on a regular basis. In that sense, I have worshiped other people because I will focus more on them than God and what He has to say about my life. Have I worshiped idols? Yes.

I'm not going to finish Jeremiah and immediately be this Godly person who always does the right thing at all times. I am human learning, striving, being. But this book will certainly make me look harder at myself and what I actually am doing. Sometimes we fall into habits and are completely unaware of it. We rarely have a mirror to look into and Jeremiah is setting one up for me to see a little more clearly within,

A few thoughts/questions I had at the end of Chapter 3:

How divided we are. We go our own way but call out to God and wonder where He is. Do we chase God with our whole heart or is it for show?
We've searched far and wide for what only God could give us. What He's already given us. Why don't we fully turn to Him?
What have we lost because of our hard hearts and wandering eyes which look to everyone but God?

We all have to answer those questions for ourselves. And maybe those questions aren't meant for you at all, just me. I'm okay with that. I know I have lost so much already. And I don't have all the answers, nor will I ever, but I'm willing to learn, listen, and search after God.

What have I learned about Him just in these three chapters? He wont leave us to do what He calls us to do. He will be with us in the hard times. He is waiting for our true return to Him. He will allow us to be dissatisfied, confused, wandering, and lost if it means we eventually find our way back to Him. He is always watching.

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