“‘While you were doing all these things,’ declares the LORD, ‘I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer…Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward’… ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction.’” Jeremiah 7:13, 23-28.
Those last few words of our passage this morning leave a haunting echo in my heart. God’s patience and mercy is certainly long-running and enduring while dealing with the sins of His children. From the time of Adam and Eve, God has commanded and man has rejected…God has provided but man desired more. The cycle of sin-correction-sin-correction was put into motion in the garden. Over the centuries, God must have thought ‘Will man ever learn? Will there ever be a people who will not be led by the inclinations of their own desires?’
That question still lingers in the air like stale smoke as we look around at the focus of our lives. Every one of us has a war waging in our hearts – the flesh vs. the spirit…the things of this world vs. the things of God. We proclaim that we belong to God but we worship false beliefs and selfish attitudes. We talk about moving forward in faith but in the dark halls of our own hearts we are moving backwards living in fear and selfishness. God sees the heart of man and knows who is walking in His ways. God is speaking daily to each of us, but are we listening? Are we like the people in Jeremiah’s time who have turned a deft ear to the Lord? Have we gotten so accustomed to our own rights of entitlement we are not even aware when we rebel? We talk about her...we judge him...we refuse forgiveness...we fail to give mercy. All these things are the things that God will eventually correct in our life. We all know how we should respond in these matters, but do we?
When the flesh is speaking louder than God we will be unable to hear the whispers of our Father who loves us. God will eventually give us over to ourselves and the cycle continues. The only way to respond to the correcting and loving hand of God is to be aware of His commands, and obedient in living by them. Every desire we have must be measured against the will of God. Before we act on anything, we must be prayerful and attuned to God’s responses. He will lead us through our decisions and reveal the path of our journey, and then our lives will pattern the life that God intended.
Thank you for a timely message. Faith is easy to talk about but not so easy to live in our self-sufficient and often arrogant world. Sadly, I am all too often one of those who has to learn things the hard way and to fall flat on my face before I get the point. Keep writing.