In these Scriptures, God is figuratively called the husband of Israel…showing the covenantal tie of both love and loyalty between Him and His people. And as our Kinsman Redeemer (remember Ruth & Boaz) we are to look to Him and Him only for protection, security, guidance, and aid. It tells us here to no longer carry around the guilt and shame of things we did in our youth, nor fear the reproach or insults of people today… for we are His and under His care. But it goes beyond that, for in Isaiah 48:17 it tells us, “This is what the Lord says – Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you what is best for you, Who directs you in the way you should go.” As our Redeemer, the Lord patiently instructs and trains us in His truth… showing us the right path to travel.
We’ve all seen the results of long dry spells… droughts causing famine where the scarcity of food leads to people starving to death. So consequently, in these verses Jeremiah is showing us how trusting in the Lord will help get us through our own “dry spells”. You know those times, when it seems like you’re trudging through a desert of discontent, apathy, and uneasiness…knowing the Lord is there, but still grappling with the confusion of why it’s happening. While traveling out in the country you’ll quickly notice that trees line the banks of rivers and streams. Why? Because they can take root and thrive with a constant water source even if the rain doesn’t come. We need to be the same way. We need to sink our roots deep into the Word of God on a daily basis…regardless of how we feel…knowing that we are reviving our mind, body, and soul in God’s Living Waters. And the results will be amazing, or as Psalm 92:12-15 tells us, ” The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.’ ”
Listening to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit takes practice. For the constant din of the world clamoring for our attention can easily drown out His voice, and we must make a concerted effort daily to attune our heart, mind, and soul to Him. To live by the Spirit is a life-long journey of accepting His guidance and influence…and of walking in the principals of and adhering to the truths of the Bible. But as we keep in step with Him, we learn to recognize and trust His voice, and it becomes much easier to follow His lead.
The ultimate destiny as Believers is that we have been made partakers in eternal life through Christ Jesus. The chains that have held us prisoner to sinfulness and depravity have been broken off. And in this new found freedom, we can now walk in God’s grace and healing and grow in holiness…which is called sanctification. For as we grow in holiness in the Lord, we reap righteousness in the process… for you’ll soon discover that God’s plan and purpose in your life will always be about the process and not about the end goal.
God’s good pleasure is for us to be ever involved in Kingdom work, always serving and being an extension of Him to others. But what usually happens is that we put limits and conditions on them to suit us. We’ll serve others…but only when it’s convenient. We’ll pray…but only when we feel like it. We’ll thank God and be glad…but only in situations that benefit us. But this is not what Paul was trying to get across here. God’s Will is that we love one another, and within that there is no room for self-centeredness. For our lives should be broken bread and poured out wine…filled with joy, and gratefulness to a Savior Who first loved us. And our communion with Jesus should be as natural as taking our next breath, for He is the only constant in our lives. Situations, circumstances, and people change…but God will never change…and in that we can rejoice!
The field commander of the Assyrian army had taunted the people with…”You can’t trust your God.” With that, the lyrics of a praise and worship song then popped in my head, “Whose report do you believe today?” The choice is ours to either believe in the reports of the world, filled with fear, discouragement, and anxiety…or believe in the Word of God Who said, “Be strong and courageous. Don’t be terrified – don’t be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) Or Isaiah 7:4, “Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid…don’t lose heart.” It’s our decision who we listen to and put our trust in…the loud and defiant taunts of the world, or the soft, reassuring voice of the Lord.
By all intent and purpose, this broken world and all within it is dead. All the idols we hold so dear will never be able to save our souls. And all the man-made religious rituals and customs will never get us any closer to God. For sadly, we are looking for the living among the dead. We try and fill the void within us with things that never satisfy… always being left with a empty hopelessness that only life in Jesus can fill. So today, look to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ for the hope of life eternal.
Jesus made it plain many times to His disciples just what was to happen to Him. Matthew 16:21 says, “From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the Law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” And in Mark 9:31, “He said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and after three days He will rise.” But all of Jesus’ prior explanations could not ready the disciples for what they experienced. They watched in horror as He was beaten and tortured. They listened in disbelief as He was sentenced to death on the cross. They heard Him gasp His last breath, and they watched Him die. Their minds swirled with disbelief, anguish, and grief as they watched the lifeless body of their Savior being carried off for burial. Did they even remember what Jesus had told them…or were they too devastated to even have hope that His words were true?
For three hours during the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross there was total and utter darkness as the earth mourned. God said through Amos, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.” (Amos 8:9) When Jesus cried out these words from the cross it didn’t mean that God the Father was forsaking His Son in the sense of ending their Trinitarian relationship, (the Trinity made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) but Jesus did have to go through the suffering alone. And it was this separation that fueled the acute anguish and mental pain Jesus experienced. Good Friday is a day of introspection, of looking inward and examining our lives in the bright light of God’s truth. Is our relationship with the Lord as strong and vibrant as it needs to be, or are we drifting away and allowing sin to separate us from Him?
Jesus had instructed two of His disciples to go into Jerusalem and follow a man with a water jug to a home where they were to say to the owner, “The Teacher asks: ‘Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?’ ” They were then shown a large, furnished room ready to go. This reminded me of the chorus of a old hymn…”Is there room in your heart for Jesus? He is dying to be born there today. Is there a place or space in your heart, so the Lord of Lords can enter today?” All humans have a God-shaped void in their hearts…a empty room that we attempt to fill with all kinds of worldly things that in the end just leave us feeling empty. But Jesus is asking you today, Where is My room? Is it prepped and ready to go as a open and willing heart…soft and teachable? Or is it a room barren, cold and empty…with a heart that is hard and resistive?