Bible Reading for: August 8
Jesus said narrow is the way which leads to life. Thankfully He came to show us the way. He is the way, and we Christians are followers of The Way.
As I began reading in Jeremiah today I was reminded of the teaching of Jesus. The case Jeremiah makes against Israel is similar to the case Jesus made as well when speaking to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the hyper religious of Jesus’ day. They felt that they in fact scrupulously obeyed the Law of Moses. They felt that they would go to Heaven, and those that were not like them, would not. Jesus pointed out their false hope. They felt they were making themselves right with God when the whole point of the Law was that they could not make themselves right with God.
Jesus pointed out that their hearts were not right. The point Jesus, and subsequently His disciples, made was that the spirit of the Law was more important than the letter of the Law. Right relationship with God is not a matter of checking off the boxes of God’s Law, but loving God so completely that His will is more important to you than your own. That’s a lot of love!
In today’s reading, Jeremiah is reminding us that Israel was not some stranger to God, but in fact His Chosen People. If anyone should know Him and obey Him, it should be His children, and yet they did not.
Jeremiah 2:12-14 ESV
“Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
“Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
Why then has he become a prey?”
Israel was not His slave but His child. Why then did she look to other gods for sustenance? When God’s children turn their back on Him, they get hurt. At times, this is punishment intended to bring these wayward children back to the safety of God’s house. Other times, this hurt is a natural consequence of forsaking God.
Jeremiah 2:17 ESV
“Have you not brought this upon yourself
by forsaking the Lord your God,
when he led you in the way?”
Do you notice that last line? Do you remember what the first Christians called themselves? They were the followers of “the Way”. You and I my friend are followers of The Way. I see in these stories of God’s punishment on Israel a warning to you and me. Today we Christians are God’s children, His Chosen People. When I look at polling data about the number of people in America claim to be Christian, I am shocked. Clearly some people define being a Christian differently than I do. Far too many alleged Christians are chasing after man-made gods. Those that should know better are turning their backs on God. They, like the Pharisees, are good at showing the externals of faith, but when it comes to having their hearts in the right place, they are in fact lost.
Being a child of the Living God is not a matter of going to church at every possible opportunity. It is not a matter of praying before every meal, or even about reading your Bible every day. All of those things are good to do, but they do not mean that God holds the right place in your heart. His right place in your heart is 1st. Is He first in your heart? What is? Why? Let me encourage you brother to make God number one. Don’t be a Pharisee. Be a true follower of The Way!
Vivere Victorem! (Live Victorious!)
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!