Good Morning, Siblings!
Grab a cup, settle in, and let us touch hearts over the precious words of our Father.
Today’s readings are Jeremiah 4-6
Rabbit Trails – or trail, such as it may be.
I had planned on doing my regular notes today but I was unable to write them. Every time I tried, my heart was troubled and I had to stop and pray. I am focusing on the readings today but there is something else I need to tell you and I hope you’ll read my heart in these words.
I see so many warnings for us in Jeremiah, personally and as a people, and that continues in today’s readings. I hate to keep pointing them out because I feel like someone who is ringing a bell over and over and over and I want you to understand that when I read the Word, I see a message directly to us – directly to me.
As a body of believers, we have to understand that what we are reading was written – to a body of Believers. These are not folks they were witnessing to or someone who was hearing the gospel for the first time. These are the people who called themselves by His name, who were looked on as His people by the world, who had lived all of their lives swimming in this world of YHWH’s Word. In short, if we relate this word to our time, it is written to what we consider “the church” today. And in truth, the behavior they are accused of can easily be transferred to us. If anything, we are far worse.
So I want you to understand that as I read this and type my notes and share them with you, I am pointing a finger at the person I see in the mirror. I see myself in all of this: past, present, and future.
Seeing the struggles of Israel is a deeply personal thing for me.
Seeing the Grace, correction, and care of YHWH is as well.
Today in Jeremiah 6:10, we see that the word of the Father is an object of scorn and they take no pleasure in His word.
In our time, the Bible is neglected, held in scorn, and translated through so many filters as to render it, in some cases, unrecognizable from the original text. Studies show that less than 17% of professing Christians read it on a regular basis. But how many of that number were simply saying what they felt was the right thing to say? If I were to guess, I’d say fewer than 1/4 of the responders answered honestly. Many said what they felt they should say and many more overestimated their weekly time in the Word.
I would guess that the actual number of Believers who take their Bible seriously and read it regularly, would be closer to 5%.
Out of these, the amount who consider the entire Bible to have authority over their lives would be even less.
When your mind goes to things like this and sees the parallels between Israel’s past and us today, you can understand how painful it is to read these passages – and how increasingly hesitant I am becoming of sharing my thoughts on our readings. I feel like a broken record. But y’all have the grace to allow me to sing the song again and again.
When we begin reading about false preachers and false prophets, seeking after personal gain, we come upon another deeply painful line:
“They have healed my people lightly, saying ‘peace, peace’, when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14
This is so hard for me to read, it just cuts at my heart. So many people go to buildings, to self help books, etc, looking for healing that can only be found in the Father and His truth, in His Word. His instructions are clear as to how to seek Him, how to find Him, and how to follow Him. But we go to all of these other sources in our quest to find truth and healing instead.
Why don’t we go to the Father?
Even more tragically, when we do go to these sources, all too often they tell us what we want to hear. They don’t give us the hard truth. Perhaps a verse here or there, applied in band-aid fashion, but not the whole word of YHWH.
If someone came to me today wanting a verse to help them along the way, at this point in my walk, I’d handle it the way I wish someone would have done with me decades ago:
Hand them the Bible, the whole thing.
“Here”, I’d say, ”Here it is. The answers to questions you haven’t even thought to ask yet are in this book…”
And I’d continue:
“You need to read and apply yourself to His whole word. Begin in Genesis, meet your Creator. Listen to His instructions, they apply to you as much as they have ever applied to anyone else He created. No excuses, no shortcuts, begin the journey and dedicate yourself to the long haul because this is going to take time, years. There is no quick fix. It is a lifetime commitment but the sweetness of your labor today is eternal and as soon as you set your heart to do this He will immediately take hold of your path and direct you on it. You can come back next week and I’m still not going to give you just one verse, I’m going to hand you the whole book yet again.
And I’m not going to read it for you. I’m not going to summarize or give you cliff notes. I’m not going to give you a way to avoid reading it.
I’m going to direct you to it, time and time again.
I’m going to make you look the Father in the eye and read His words for yourself because if you get His words from me and you don’t agree with them or don’t want to heed them, then it is too easy for you to attribute those words to me.
A problem with me is easily dismissed, and justifiably so.
But if we face our Father, if we read His words for ourselves, directly from His book to us, and we have a problem with them, then we must face Him with it. That gives the matter the weight and merit it deserves.
I’m going to give you the book with the Father’s statutes and guidance and then I’m going to wait while you meet our Messiah and see Him walking in all these things before you – and then loving you so much that He gives His life for you, suffers for you, so that the debt of your sins is paid in full and you are free to go on and chase after YHWH’s heart, running into His arms when you return home as the prodigal.”
Children need a Father – and not just weekend visitation.
We need an ongoing, daily relationship with Him. We need His hand and protection over all that we do. And our souls long for the love that only He can give.
So let us not heal each other lightly.
I will not give you snippets of verses that say all you have to do is love one another according to your emotional barometer on any given day.
I won’t hand you choice words, pulled out of context, saying that all you choose is right and just if you only follow your heart.
I will hand you the book, knowing that eventually we’ll all read that our ways are not His ways and our wisdom is not equivalent to His. That our heart is deceitful above all things, and therefore we shouldn’t lean on our own understanding but seek His ways instead.
The fact of the matter is that I WANT all of us (and especially myself) to make better choices, have His peace, and live in the assurance of His eternal plan taking root and growing in our lives.
Whether or not we do that at the beginning and end of each day relies entirely on the path we choose to take.
The Father says few find that path – but He also says that we will find it when we seek Him with all of our heart.
I have come to see, realize, and understand, that many people will do things ten times more complicated, a hundred times harder, and a thousand times more painful than what the Father asks of us – all to avoid having to face the Father.
So when someone asks us for directions, don’t give them. Because the next time they need directions they’ll be right back asking us again.
Instead, hand them the map and direct them to learn it for themselves.
The Holy Spirit our compass,
the Father our cartographer,
and Messiah marking the trails before us.
“Come to me, all who are weary and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
And now, one of the verses very dear to me. I printed this out years ago and taped it to my back door. Each day, as I went in and out, I saw it there. After about four years, it became so tattered that I took it down and threw the paper away. And within that year I began to really understand what it meant.
It had been a foreshadowing of my full return to Him – the return of a people to the Father they didn’t even realize they’d left.
Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
May we learn from our spiritual ancestor’s mistakes and our Father’s wisdom so that we will answer, “Yes. We will walk in it”, and find rest for our souls this day.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!