Jeremiah 13:9-11 (NLT)
9“The LORD says: This illustrates how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. 10These wicked people refuse to listen to me. They stubbornly follow their own desires and worship idols. Therefore, they will become like this linen belt—good for nothing! 11As a belt clings to a person’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me,” says the LORD. “They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me.
Jeremiah 14:22 (NLT)
22Can any of the foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, it comes from you, the LORD our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us.
Jeremiah 15:19b (NLT)
19If you speak words that are worthy, you will be my spokesman. You are to influence them; do not let them influence you!
John 15:4 (NLT)
4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.
John 15:18 (NLT)
18“When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you.
John 15:20 (NLT)
20Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you!
Jeremiah is dark. If one were to read Jeremiah’s writings without context, it would be very difficult for them to see a loving God. Yet, within the context of the whole Bible, I see a God who is trying very hard to connect with the love of His life. Over and over again, Israel and Judah have rejected God’s ways. How does He win them back? How does He get them to see the error of their ways? How do they once again become teachable? How do they reconcile?
Abundance and love seem to be squandered. God has learned that whenever Israel is carried into captivity, they repent and come back to His ways. God is hurt — wounded — mourning — over the loss of His favored people. Having been through this in the early 80s, I can relate. It is a painful ordeal.
In John 15, Jesus gives us the antidote. If we remain in Him, we will produce beautiful fruit. But, he says, this will bring persecution and misunderstanding from the rest of the world.
My role is to stay connected with Christ. If I do this, everything will be fine. If I stay connected to God, I will find the peace of mind mentioned in chapter 14 and my life will proceed on track. But, this is going to bring misunderstanding and hate (READ: mistrust, ostracized, ignored, not popular, et cetera).
Father God, you have convinced me over the last 17 years that your ways are best. Please draw me closer to you. Being half-way close just doesn’t do it. Then I am half liked by people and half ignored. I become lukewarm and I’m no good to anyone! Draw me closer to you God — that is where the action is and that is the winning team!
Thanks God! gw