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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Doubt - Jeremiah (2)

In Jeremiah's day, just like ours, there were many false prophets about. The people liked them better. The false prophets continued to tell the people that there was nothing wrong, so there was no reason for them to be anxious. (Jeremiah 5:11-14, 30-31 and 6:13-14.)

The people also worked hard at trying to make themselves feel better. You know, sort of a Billy Crystal doing Fernando Lamas kind of logic... It is better to look good than to be good.

Their ritualistic ceremonies made them feel safe, but they still overlooked an important fact. If there is no true love for God, ceremonies have no meaning. The people trusted in the Temple (Jeremiah 7:1-4), the sacrifices (Jeremiah 7:21-22), the Holy Box - the ephod (Jeremiah 3:16), circumcision (Jeremiah 9:25, 26), and the Mosaic Law (Jeremiah 8:8, 9; Exodus 20).

All these things were very important. But the lack of love for God and other people (Jeremiah 7:5-6), made them useless. So, Jeremiah had a very difficult task ahead of him. Because trying to move or inspire or teach or incite contented people is nearly impossible. He didn't want to do it (1:6-8; 20:7-10). And honestly, who could blame him 

Israel was in a sad state, spiritually. They were doing well financially, but they were empty. It was all a sham, a show. We have all been there, done all that, and got the T-shirt to prove it.

We tend to believe the lie that as long as we hide behind the masks that everything is just fine, and we can convince others, maybe, magically it will all work itself out.

Jeremiah had suffered much pain and despair

He never actually doubted that God was real. But at times he seemed to doubt the sovereignty of God. God had called him into His service. At times, he felt that God was just being unfair. It was unfair of God to call him into his service (20:7-8). He began to wish he had never bee born, never come into the world, never existed, never exited his mother's womb. These feelings happened to him more than once (15:10; 20:14-18).

This shows that he did not understand how God rules over people. God’s rule involves practical things. But, it also has spiritual components. At times, Jeremiah seems to have a firm grasp of these great truths, but not so much at other times. One of these times is in Jeremiah 17:12 where the prophet speaks about God’s throne (king’s special chair).

We start to doubt when things aren't working out the way we planned. We often accuse God of being unfair, again especially when things are bad.

But, do we ever accuse God of being unfair when He blesses us? When He gives us what we want? 

What one thing can you think of today (and are grateful for) that God has given you, to your benefit that He hasn't given to those around you?

James says to count it all joy!


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