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Jeremiah 16-18, 35

08.10.2010

I remember now one of the issues I have with Jeremiah: it’s length.  Today, Jeremiah lays into the people of Judah some more for their sins.  (no way!)

16:13 | God again emphasized that in many ways, his punishment for Judah is to give them what they want.  They turn after other gods, so He will send them into a foreign land where they will be surrounded by other gods they can worship instead of Him.  It’s one of those issues with free will.  God gives us the dignity of choice, but protects us from the inevitable consequences of our poor choices.  His grace shields us from complete freedom of will, filling in for the gap between our will and our wisdom.  When God wants to punish or chasten us, He peels back that grace to remind us of who we really are, what our decisions really lead to, and where we would be if not for His interceding grace.

17:9 | MEMORY VERSE!

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

This has always been one of my favorite verses, and I hear it often.  Rightfully so, as our current culture has idolized following your heart and doing what feels good over the harder aspects of life such as duty, obligation, and sacrifice.

There is a place for the heart.  God gave it to us just as He gave us emotions to help us commune with Him and to help us somewhat bridge that seemingly endless chasm between two human souls.  However, like any of God’s gifts, if we elevate it above its station, it leads to perversion and disappointment.  I try to stay away from social diatribes on this, a Bible blog, but suffice it to say that I think much of the brokenness in the modern West is related to our pursuit of fleshly and worldly desires under the direction of our hearts.

18 | As we’ve been skipping around in Jeremiah, we’ve touched on the imagery of God as a potter and us as the clay.  Here, Jeremiah lays the

metaphor out explicitly.  This is a nice image, that of God lovingly crafting us into the people He wants us to be.  It also sets up the imagery that Paul uses later on to call us jars of clay, suffering under wear and tear, but not useless.  We are God’s workmanship, and He prods us and reshapes us in uncomfortable ways sometimes, but it’s ultimately for His glory — and incidentally, our benefit as well.

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