Inspirational Thought of the Day:
What God wants more than our works is our hearts and our trust, no matter what life brings.
Scripture of the Day:
16 “As your words came to me I drank them in, and they filled my heart with joy and happiness because I belong to you. 17 I did not spend my time in the company of other people, laughing and having a good time. I stayed to myself because I felt obligated to you and because I was filled with anger at what they had done. 18 Why must I continually suffer such painful anguish? Why must I endure the sting of their insults like an incurable wound? Will you let me down when I need you like a brook one goes to for water, but that cannot be relied on? 19 Because of this, the LORD said, ‘You must repent of such words and thoughts! If you do, I will restore you to the privilege of serving me. If you say what is worthwhile instead of what is worthless, I will again allow you to be my spokesman. They must become as you have been. You must not become like them.'”
Jeremiah was bugged. Weary of the whiners around him, Jeremiah did not recognize that he was becoming like them in disposition. He was sick of the pain they put him through and began to question the integrity of God Who had called Him to that very mission. What a warning for us, that we not become like the very people God has called us to reach. When we judge people in their sin rather than praying for them, or when we grow weary of the complaints of those we lead and begin to complain, as well, we miss the point of service that God has called us to. What are we going to allow to influence us the most, people, our circumstances, or God? The pressures of men and this life or the Holy influence of God and His Word?
Jeremiah sought to validate Himself as He poured out His complaints before God. He noted his good behavior and felt He deserved better. Ouch. Entitlement slipping in there. Understandable, because we as humans tend to think we deserve a reward when we have done what was right. We can fail to recognize that it is God’s grace that keeps us from sin. Or perhaps we tend to think that our action should have a certain outcome and begin to doubt God when it doesn’t. We can also think highly of ourselves for doing what is the bare minimum of God’s standards. God does, in fact, reward us, but sometimes we then question the timing of that reward.
Ever felt like that? Our circumstances or life, in general, aren’t going the way we hoped or planned. We might not want to admit it, but deep down our soul can accuse God. While we can reflect on the fact that we ultimately deserved damnation, our soul cries out again, “unfair!”, or perhaps “yes, but I am a good person”. Sorry to be so blunt here, but the best, kindest person in the world is only that way by the grace of God and still falls vastly short of God’s glory and Holy standard.
This reality would leave us in a desperate place before a Holy God, but He intervened in a dramatic way to rescue our souls by taking the death our souls deserved. I am forever grateful for this spiritual reality.
Jeremiah loved His God. I love how He says that He delighted in God’s words and “drank them in”, and how God’s word brought him joy and happiness. He knew He belonged to God. Yet he began to doubt this good God when he was persecuted heavily. I daresay we are all prone to that. We are not talking about unbelievers here. We are talking about a prophet empowered by God, who was hurting so deeply that He began to question God.
Maybe we want to point to the good we have done as Jeremiah did and hold it out as a reminder. God sees. He knows all of our works. Everything is laid bare before Him. But what God wants more than our works is our hearts and our trust, no matter what life brings. Will we trust in Him and cry out to Him when life hurts?
We will all go through such testing as Jeremiah did in our lives. Our stories are different, but we will endure great sorrows and joys in this life and God is our God through it all. He wants us to cry out to Him and to know that He will meet us in that place. More than that, He is using that despised affliction to make us more like Him. Rid of the demands of the flesh, we see what really matters – knowing God and serving Him.
Like Jeremiah, if we repent of our disdain for the struggles that serving Him brings, He will restore us and use us mightily for His Kingdom. Christ willingly chose the hardest road – with joy. May we do the same. May we yield to God and not to the pressures of this world. There is no greater privilege than serving the God of this universe and He will give us the grace we need to walk through this life victoriously.
Lord, thank You that You are near. You hear us when we call and You grant us the highest privilege of all – serving and knowing You! May we delight in You at all times, above the noise and pain of this world. You are faithful and worthy of such devotion – help us to be dedicated to You above all else.