(This post is the next in a series of posts containing my first blush reactions to passages I come across in the reading of Scripture. I am currently going straight through the book of Jeremiah and will be sharing with you which verses the Spirit causes to jump out at me and the unrevised, unpolished feelings which they invoke.)
“Though they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ yet they swear falsely.” (5.2)
I am becoming increasingly aware of the vanity with which we associate the remembrance and worship of God. It sickens me more each day when I hear someone refer to praise, prayer, forgiveness, sacrifice, etc. in such a flippant manner that their ignorance to the things of God is clear. Let me not be this way!
“Shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?” (5.9b)
I hope we never hear this!
“They have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine.’ “ (5.12)
A lack of fear in the face of God’s wrath is not a good thing. Do I ever find myself in such a haughty state that I don’t think God will punish my transgressions?
” . . . and your sins have kept good from you.” (5.25b)
What blessings have my sins cost me so far? What blessings do I stand to lose if I stumble along the path of former sins once more? God isn’t playing games. It is not okay for me to think I can just continue in sin. Put to death my sins daily, O Lord!
” . . . but what will you do when the end comes?” (5.31b)
Occasionally I think about what it will look like when Christ returns. It looks scary! There are few things (no things) which seem as frightening to me as to see Christ returned. This is because I know how utterly unworthy of salvation I am. How wonderful is it to know that it won’t be my own works that I am trusting in to preserve me on that day. It’s still scary though. How magnificent!
“Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I turn from you in disgust, lest I make you a desolation, an uninhabited land.” (6.8 )
I can remember the fears that tortured my soul, knowing I am saved and yet stumbling in unmortified sin. The fear wasn’t of punishment and wrath but of the loss of God’s presence in my life. As the Puritans would say, we can have no assurance if we are still struggling in sin, for God may easily remove his voice from us while in disobedience.
“For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain.” (6.13a)
The temptation always burns strong in me when something appears attainable without much price. But God knows all and sees all, seeing how idolatrous my heart can be for material things.
“Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush.” (6.15a)
What sins am I unable to “blush” in shame about? What shortcomings have so indwelt me that I no longer feel their evil? I have desire that my conscience won’t be hardened against any iniquity.