Study from God’s Word… Jeremiah, Chapters 51 and then Jer. 49: 34-39, followed by Jer. 34: 8-22 … Passage for Reflection: Jeremiah 34: 15 – 16 … NIV [God, through Jeremiah, to King, Zedekiah, and the people of Judah] 15 Recently you repented and did what is right in My sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen. You even made a covenant before Me in the house that bears My Name. 16 But now you have turned around and profaned My Name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.
My Journal for Today: How many times do we read in the Old Testament how God’s people, His Hebrew children, rebel against their Covenant relationship with their Father, God. In today’s highlight passage we have another of these stories, where Judah was reminded that they, under Mosaic Law, must set their slaves free in the seventh year of their captivity; and as we read, they did repent and do that; but then they went back on their promise, once again disobeying God by taking their slaves back.
Now, before we get all haughty, thinking, “What wimps these Jews were as faithless followers of the one, true God!” And yes, certainly they were; but as I read this story in my devotional by LaGard Smith this morning, I was reminded of a repentant New Testament warrior who had trouble living up to his New Covenant faith. And that, of course, was the Apostle Paul. Let me link you here to a passage of Romans 7: 14-24 - linked, where our converted Christian warrior, Paul, is lamenting his inability to do what he knows is right according to his relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus.
How often do we, called to holiness and to be a living sacrifice to righteousness (see Rom. 12: 1-2), and called to separate ourselves from the world and our fleshly weaknesses, find ourselves falling short and failing to glorify God with some isolated sin or pattern of repeated weakness [see Rom. 3: 23]? It’s amazing to me how much God puts up with, as He did with Paul in Romans 7, then reminding His children, as He did with that same Paul, inspiring this broken warrior to write all of Romans 8. Or when the beloved Apostle John was inspired to write 1st John 1: 9, which I hope you can quote right here, as I refer to the truth that we can be cleansed of any or all sin by confessing that sin to our loving God. What a God we serve!!!
Yes, we’re no different than these weak-kneed Hebrews, who rode the repentance roller-coaster, being convicted and repenting of their sinfulness and then allowing themselves to be sucked back into their own fleshly weakness or lured into selfish sin by the world or Satan. Aren’t you just glad that there’s a Romans 8, into which we can choose to live instead of being mired in Romans 7 living? Aren’t you just glad that God provided a way for us to be free of our own deceitful hearts? Aren’t you just glad that you’ve repented – at least once – sincerely and have received God’s eternal gift of eternal life [all it takes is found in Romans 10: 9-13 linked]? And wouldn’t it be great if we, who have been saved by God’s grace, would live up to our part of that New Covenant, repenting of our sin and choosing to walk in righteousness, allowing God’s empowering/enabling grace to let us live in His Romans 8 promises?
Those are the questions God has led me to deal with this morning. What about you?
My Prayer for Today: Lord, lead me away from my own Romans 7 weaknesses to live in Your Romans 8 power. Amen