Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 26:1-27:22 (additional reading: Psalm 85:1-13 and Proverbs 25:16)
The Israelites were not living according to God’s design, and He just couldn’t ignore it. God has to confront evil. As we look at this text today, I want you to put yourself in Jeremiah’s and the people’s shoes – and put the question to you – When the time comes, how will you react?
The time had more than come for the relationship between God and the Israelites. God had already warned them about their behaviour plenty of times. Yet in an impossible display of patience and love God decided to send Jeremiah to them AGAIN to try and straighten them out. He told Jeremiah to say, If you do not listen to me and follow my law which I have set before you, and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth. (Jeremiah 26:4-6)
One of the most difficult things to do in life is to tell somebody that they’re doing something wrong. God doesn’t call on us to nitpick and judge every questionable thing in people’s lives. But I think all of us realize that there are times in our lives where everyone can see an obviously sinful lifestyle. A son starts living with his girlfriend, or a spouse starts abusing alcohol, or a child becomes openly defiant. When you know that something’s wrong you should be doing something to help them improve their behaviour.
We’ve been looking at this text from the point of Jeremiah, assuming that we’d be the ones doing the correcting. But let’s put the shoe on the other foot and examine it from the Israelites point of view. The priests and prophets primarily responded in anger because their places of authority were being threatened. Their system was under fire. Each and every one of us has a religious system – a way of doing things that give us a feeling of piety and importance.
So when God points the finger into your life through friends and family – and they say to you, “don’t you realize you’re working too hard,” or, “don’t you see how you’re treating your husband”, or “you’ve got to stop spending so much!”, the proper response is not to be angry or excuse your behaviour – even if you’re not getting a completely fair shake. Instead of getting defensive or angry at our accusers, like David all God wants us to say is, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.” That’s the right response.
How do you respond to correction?
Do you try to help others or simply to judge them?
Father, Thank You for your patience with us and calling us to come back to You time and time again. Help us to be willing to change the things in our lives that do not please You and to live for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen