"This is the one I esteem, he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2
I readily admit these words "humble, contrite, and trembles" are difficult as a man to swallow. Every fiber of a man rages against these character traits. As a man, I want to be a warrior, confident, bold, and fearless. It is so evident even in my two young boys who both want to be hero's and invincible. I cannot imagine Jesus feeling any different than I do about these things. We are told he faced every battle, every temptation, that we do. Surely his desire as a young man was to be a mighty man of God. After all, isn't being mighty and fierce the way to get your name remembered forever?
However, as Jesus read the words of Isaiah the prophet, over and over he learned God was looking for a humble man who was Spirit was tender and moldable. God was not looking for a mighty warrior, he was seeking someone who was willing to lay down his own desire and let God have His way in his life. God was looking for a heart who trembled at His words, who had a Holy fear of disobeying God which would lead this man to devote himself to obedience to God's commands.
Jesus gave himself to be this man. He humbled himself and came as a man. He did not think highly of himself, but rather he feared God. He listened to His Father's words and obeyed them. Because Jesus gave himself to be the man who God was looking for, this promise is his forever . . .
"As the new heavens and the new earth will endure before me," declares the Lord (a promise, for Gods words cannot be broken) "so will YOUR name and descendants endure!"
Jesus learned if he chose not to try and make a name for himself as a mighty warrior, but rather chose to live humbly & with a contrite heart, and gave himself to reverently obey the Lord, then God would fulfill His promise and make the name Jesus last forever and that his descendants would endure for all eternity.
I pray today that the Holy Spirit will empower me to be a man like Jesus, humble, contrite, and tremble at Gods word, so that God may use me as he did Jesus, to glorify His Name!
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5
As Jesus set out to discover his true identity and seek out his purpose, these words from the "Weeping Prophet" surely grabbed his attention. A message to Jeremiah, but written for him.
Jesus had to wonder about his identity. Like all young boys he surely wrestled with his self worth and true purpose in life. So hundreds of years before he enters into the story or humanity, his dad sends a message reaffirming that he has been known by his heavenly Father, even before he was formed in the womb, and not only that, but that he was set apart for a specific mission by his Dad.
"I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
His life had meaning and purpose. His Father had a specific reason for him, a goal to accomplish. Simply knowing he is "known, set apart, and appointed" surely uplifted his spirits.
Why did he need uplifting? Because as a man like Jeremiah, he surely was attacked by the enemy with doubts. Like Jeremiah (and Moses), Jesus probably heard words like "your too young" or "you aren't a good speaker." Jeremiah 1:6
So God prepared for these attacks on Jesus by reassuring Him that he was known, set apart, and appointed. But not only that, but that his work would be sufficient and God would be with him.
"Do not say 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I AM with you and will rescue you." Declares the Lord
Not only did Jesus learn through the opening of the book of Jeremiah that he was known by his Father, set apart by his Father, and appointed by his Father. Jesus learned that his obedience to say the words he was commanded to say, his obedience to go to who he was sent, was going to be rewarded with two things:
1. The promise God would be with him at all times
2. His Father was going to rescue him (inferring he would be in a situation that required rescuing.
Today, I pray, that as a child of God, I will be impacted to remember, like Jesus, that I am known by my Father, even before I was formed in the womb (Psalm 139:13), that I have been set apart by Him (Hebrews 10:10), and appointed to do good works for Him (Ephesians 2:10) and that all these come with His promise that He will be with me (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5) and that He will sustain me, defend me, and rescue me in my time of need!
Oh to live as Jesus did #impacted
"Oh my anguish, I writhe in pain, Oh the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me." Jeremiah 4:19
Jeremiah is relaying the emotions of the Lord as he is describing the punishment on the people of Israel and Judah for their sin. God is declaring how his heart aches because of the bitter punishment their sin has brought upon them.
The rest of chapter 4 shows the pain God endures because his people are separated from him and they are content in their sin. It pains him. It causes him grief. He knows their sin will bring destruction on them. However, in 4:27, God promises destruction is coming but it would not be a complete destruction. He infers he has plans for redemption.
I wonder how the heart of Jesus ached because of the sin around him. He saw the separation between the people and a God who loved them and it must have made him feel the anguish and agony mentioned in Jeremiah 4:19. He warned the people of the destruction sin did to them, yet, like Jeremiah, he was able to hold on to a hope because God had a plan of redemption.
Jesus was impacted by the agony of the heart of his Father toward sin, the destructive force working to destroy His people. His heart ached because of the sin around him. Yet, he lived in hope that God would forever keep His word and redeem the people. He went back and remembered the words of Jeremiah 3:15
"Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding."
Jesus learned that his Father's heart was not destruction, but restoration. His heart broke because of the sin that was destroying the people. But he clung to the hope that God would send "shepherds" to lead the people back to where God longed for them to be, at His side. And then Jesus declared
"I am the Good Shepherd!"
He fulfilled the role of the one to lead the people away from the misery and destruction and back to His Fathers side!
Today I pray that my heart will ache and be in anguish because of the sin destroying my people and keeping them apart from the One who loves them. I pray I am so impacted by this pain that I give myself to be a Shepherd who is willing to lead His people in knowledge and understanding, back to the feet of the One, God Almighty, who loves them and longs to redeem them from the destruction of sin and shame.
#Impact #BeTheOne #EnjoyTheShepherd
"If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city." Jeremiah 5:1
These are words God declared to Jeremiah telling him to go walk the streets of Jerusalem and see if he could find even one honest person. These words sound so familiar to Jesus as he connects them to Abraham as he pled for Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jeremiah is a broken man. The weeping prophet. The sin of his people literally causes him to weep and wail, and then he is given the task of telling them, the people he loves, of the judgement coming. Like any other man, Jeremiah wants his neighbors to like him, yet he is hated and despised for speaking the truth. How Jesus must have connected to the heart of Jeremiah as he too walked the city streets hoping to find just one who dealt honestly and sought truth, but to no avail. How it broke his heart as he looked over Jerusalem and wept himself.
But Jesus gained a mission from these words. It strengthened his resolve to fulfill his purpose. If God was looking for only One who dealt honestly and sought truth so that these people could be saved, then Jesus wanted to be that One. Through the pain and tears caused by the sin around him, Jesus begin to develop an overwhelming desire to give himself to be the One God was looking for. Jesus knew the weeping and pain was just an overflow of how his Father felt because God wanted to be with His people. God desired to have the relationship restored. God longed to be with those He had created in His image. That is why God was willing to save them if only there was One righteous person among them.
Longing to be The One, Jesus wondered "how" he could become this One. What must he do in order to become this honest One who sought truth! Then he reads 6:16
"This is what the Lord says: (in other words, listen up if you want to know) 'Stand at the CROSSroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and YOU WILL (a promise) find rest for your souls."
Sadly, the people in the days of Jeremiah refused to follow this simple imperative. Instead they walked in their own ways. But Jesus, his heart longed, ached, and fully desired to be One with his Father. So Jesus chose to obey.
He chose to:
1. Stand and Look
2. Ask for Directions to the Good Way
3. Walk in that Way
And because He did, he found rest for his own soul and provided rest to all the souls of His people who choose to believe in him and follow him and obey the command to Stand, Look, Ask, and Walk!
Today, I pray I am impacted like Jesus. I pray that the sin of my heart and sin of my people causes me to weep and turn my eyes to the One who dealt honestly and sought truth. I pray I am like Jesus and choose to Stand and Look! To Ask for the ancient paths, where the righteous and good way is, and then I pray God gives me the strength and courage to walk in that way so that others may see and glorify His Name and come to know the One who provided our only way of salvation.
7/27/17 bonus catch up
Trying to do a little catch up.
"Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?" Jeremiah 7:11
The people of Judah had chosen to live in the way they wanted to. They had turned their back on God and served other gods and were living in sin (adultery, perjury, and worshiping Baal v9). Yet they found no issue in running back to the house of the Lord and stand before him as if nothing was wrong (v10).
But God warned them and then he followed through on his words found in 7:15 "I will thrust you from my presence."
Jesus saw this playing out in front of him as he lived. He watched as the "house which bears God's name" was used as a place for thieving and idolatry. He finally had enough and he became the "hand of God" and thrust them out. Jesus had been impacted by these words and when he saw the sin in action, the defamation of his Dads house of prayer, he rose to action.
The people had become fat and lazy in tradition, just as in the days of Jeremiah. Their hope was in sacrifices and burnt offerings, but Jesus had learned that was not what his Dad wanted.
"I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me and I will (a promise) be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I commanded you, that it may go well with you." 7:23
This verse shows the heart of Jesus "tirade." It wasn't just anger and zeal for a building. His actions were based on what he learned in these words Jeremiah wrote. Gods passion, Gods desire was that the people he was talking to would be His. He longed to be with them. God longed for it to be well with them. But as long as they lived as they were living, He was going to have to thrust them out.
So Jesus, impacted by the desire He saw in His Father's longing here in these words, purified a physical temple in order to represent what He was going to do by purifying the Temple God longed to dwell in, His people. And because this purification would require his complete obedience and walking in His Father's ways, Jesus looked around him, as his heart broke because of the agony the separation sin had caused His Father and his people, Jesus gave himself to obey and walk in Gods ways.
I pray today that I am impacted by the longing God has to dwell with his people and in doing so I will allow myself to be like Jesus, and when needed clear a temple, but ultimately, that I will be impacted as he was to obey and walk in His ways.
I cannot help but wonder if Jesus ever cried out Jeremiah 9:1-2! As sin raged around him, and he clung to his Father to remain pure in the midst of it all, surely at some point he desired to be removed from it all. If you get a chance, read those verses today and then allow the tremendous truth of how much Jesus must of loved you to stay in the middle of the filth because he loves you to cause you to rejoice! (Side sermon for the day!)
"Let not the wise boast in her wisdom or the strong man boast in his strength or the rich boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24
Jesus had a lot of things he could possibly boast in. He was Gods son walking around in flesh. He could make water into wine. He could feed thousands with next to no food. He was able to heal the sick, and even raise the dead. As he was surrounded by angry mobs, he could pass right through. He cleared the temple courts in his zeal for God twice. He owned a cattle on a thousand hills with his Dad! He astounded the smart people with his knowledge and wisdom at even a young age. Yet Jesus had learned not to make any of these abilities his boast! He learned not to walk around and strut because he was able to do any of these things or because of who he was. Rather, Jesus made his boast in one thing alone: That he understood and knew God, and that He is Lord!
Jesus only boast was in knowing God and that God had given him complete understanding of His heart and mind. Jesus boasted that God exercised kindness, justice, and righteousness and that God delighted in these things. Jesus rejoiced that God had made Himself known to him. In these things alone Jesus learned to boast.
And because of His understanding of God and being given the gift to know Him, Jesus joined Jeremiah in singing:
"No one is like you O Lord; you are great and your name is mighty in power. Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like You!" Jeremiah 10:6-7
Jesus learned from these words written long before he entered our world that his only boast was that he had been given the gift to understand and know God. What a major impact this had on Jesus as he grew into a man and walked among us, a humble servant of the most High God!
And through Jesus, and his gift of the Holy Spirit, we have been offered the same gift of understanding and knowing God. I pray today, that I too would learn not to make my boast in my wisdom, strength, riches, or position on earth. But rather, I would join Jesus in singing praises to God because I have been given the gift through Jesus to understand and know Him and that He delights in exercising kindness, justice and righteousness on earth and especially to towards me!
I want to live impacted like Jesus!
"I had been like a gentle lamb led to slaughter." Jeremiah 11:19
Jeremiah is referring to a plot against his life here. He was unaware of the plots made against him until the Lord showed him what was going on. As he became aware, he says he felt like a lamb who had been led out to be killed. His enemies wanted him wiped out, destroyed, and done away with, but God had other plans. That is why Jeremiah then says:
"But, O Lord Almighty, you who judge righteously, and test the heart and mind, let me see Your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause." 11:20
God answered Jeremiah and declared: "I will (a promise) punish them. Their young men will die by the sword and their sons and daughters by famine. Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth (Jeremiah's enemies) in the year of their punishment. " 11:22-23
As Jesus reads these words and learns that he too will be like a lamb led to slaughter, Jesus cried out to his Father for deliverance. He cried out for his Father to take vengeance on his Enemy. And through the promise Jeremiah received, Jesus also learned that His Father was going to not only defend him, but completely wipe out his Enemy and all his army and his future. Nothing would be left of Satans kingdom once God was done.
That is why Jesus could go to the Cross like a gentle and quiet lamb. He knew that His Father would keep all his promises and would fight for him. That is why Jesus could live in complete trust and not fear those around him, for God had already declared that they would not survive and that he, like Jeremiah, would be rescued!
Oh that today I would live in this same boldness, knowing that no weapon formed against me can prosper and that my Father, because I am in Jesus, will rescue me and that the future of my Enemy is complete defeat!
Jeremiah 13-14 are passages filled with promises from God, but not the kind one wants.
It opens with a story of a linen belt being ruined and God declaring that He was going to ruin the pride of His people in the same way.
Then there is the wine skins and the threat of captivity. Chapter 14 open talking about drought, famine, and death by the sword. In the middle of all this declaration of destruction, Jeremiah cries out to God to save his people, not for their sake, but for His Name sake.
God replied with this: "Do not pray for the well-being of this people." 14:11 God was declaring He was intent on destroying the evil and rebellious people. Then Jeremiah writes 14:17-22
17 “Speak this word to them:
“‘Let my eyes overflow with tears
night and day without ceasing;
for the Virgin Daughter, my people,
has suffered a grievous wound,
a crushing blow.
18 If I go into the country,
I see those slain by the sword;
if I go into the city,
I see the ravages of famine.
Both prophet and priest
have gone to a land they know not.’”
19 Have you rejected Judah completely?
Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us
so that we cannot be healed?
We hoped for peace
but no good has come,
for a time of healing
but there is only terror.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord,
and the guilt of our ancestors;
we have indeed sinned against you.
21 For the sake of your name do not despise us;
do not dishonor your glorious throne.
Remember your covenant with us
and do not break it.
22 Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
Therefore our hope is in you,
for you are the one who does all this.
Jeremiah writes the agony of his own heart. He weeps and cries as he sees death and destruction around him. Hopelessness sets in as he cries out to God! Then a shift in His prayer!
Acknowledgement of sin! His own and that of his people who lived before and beside him. Confession in a humble manner. Then a plea:
"For the sake of Your name do not despise us; do not dishonor Your glorious throne. Remember Your covenant with us and do not break it. . . Our hope is in You!"
As Jesus walked among his people, living in the captivity of Rome and burdened down with the false gods of the Roman culture, given to all sorts of sin, he too surely felt the Andre God had toward the sin! He could sense that his Father's anger against sin was at a boiling point. I am sure it caused him great pain and left him weeping like Jeremiah. However, Jesus also knew his Father always kept his promises and that if He was approached in humility, and confession, that God would hear prayer.
Jesus learned from this passage in Jeremiah to plead for the people, and though Jesus was without sin, his people were covered in it. So he prayed as he had seen Jeremiah pray:
"Dad, please forgive this people and redeem them FOR YOUR NAME SAKE! Remember the promise you made to send a Redeemer and take my life as payment for their sin! Dad, there are no gods like You! And my only hope is in You to keep your promises made to me, for you are the One who does ALL this!"
Jesus learned to pray "according to his Father's will" and ask for things, not for his own sake, but for the sake of His Fathers name!
All I can say, as we live in a time and world full of sin, may I learn to weep. My I learn to confess not only my sin, but declare I and my people are wicked, and may I ask for His salvation from our plight, not for our sake, but for the sake of His Name and His glory and His honor.
Lord teach me to pray!
7/30/17 bonus catch up
I imagine Jesus felt as if Jeremiah may have been his long lost relative. So much of the pain and agony Jeremiah penned was true in the life of Jesus. Listen to Jeremiah 15:10
"Alas, my mother, who gave birth to me, a man with whom the whole land strives and contends. I have neither Kent or borrowed, yet everyone curses me!"
Jesus surely felt this in his heart. He was hated, despised, and rejected in this world. Psalm 69 even indicates that his own brothers held contempt in their heart toward him. Jesus had given himself to live out what he learned and be a man after Gods own heart, and for that the world hated him.
And like Jeremiah, Jesus found himself in an audience of only one who understood. So he joined Jeremiah in saying:
"You understand me O Lord, remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long suffering do not take me away; think of how I suffer reproach for Your sake. When Your words came, I ate them, they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I beat Your name, O Lord God Almighty. I never sat in the company of reveled, never made merry with them. I sat alone because Your hand was on me and You filled me with indignation." 15:15-17
Basically, Jeremiah and Jesus were saying, "I have lived my life according to your word and have avoided the sin of the world around me, but in return they have hated and despised me. So the prayer continued:
"Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable?" 15:18
The pain was real. Loving and following God was, and is going to invoke the hatred of the world. Every human (this would include Jesus) has a natural desire for others to like and accept them. However, Jesus learned from Jeremiah (and others) that what would satisfy his craving to be accepted was found only in God. So Jesus gave himself to live according to Gods laws, decrees, and commands, and for his efforts the world hated him. So his cry was to the only One who could keep him through it all. In response, Jesus clung to these words spoken by His Father through Jeremiah:
"I will (a promise) make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, FOR I AM WITH YOU to rescue and save you, declares the Lord. I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel."
Yes, a life seeking to follow God will not be cheered on in this world or even liked. For one who desires to obey God causes the wickedness of the world to stand out and for that, the world will spew out hatred. However, Jesus learned that such a a life came with a promise. The promise that the One he longed to please, the One he longed to dwell in His house, obedience came with the promise that salvation would come because God would be WITH HIM! And those two words, With You, is all Jesus truly lived for! He wanted to be With God, and God longed to be With Him. So for that reality, Jesus chose to cling to these words by Jeremiah through all the pain and heartache he endured as a man, and he lived for the promise that God was With Him!
How I long to be like Jesus, fully committed to God! Yet my desire to be accepted by those of this world wages war within me. I pray today, that like Jesus I will choose to live for that promise over what the world has to offer. I pray I live for Gods promise to be "With Me!" For in reality, this and this only can satisfy the longings of my heart.