by Pastor Tim Burt
I have been meditating on Jeremiah, chapter 2. It paints a picture of God’s people being madly in love with God, and who would follow Him like a bride following a bridegroom. Even though it presented hardship, it didn’t matter because their love for Him was so strong. Jeremiah 2:2 (NLT) says, “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness.” But then something happened. God’s bride began to drift from Him. Finally the Lord asked them the question, “What fault or sin did your find in me that made you stray from my love?”
Read it all in context. Jeremiah 2:2-7 (NLT) “Go and shout in Jerusalem’s streets: ‘This is what the Lord says: I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. In those days Israel was holy to the Lord, the first of my children. All who harmed my people were considered guilty, and disaster fell upon them. I, the Lord, have spoken!’ “Listen to the word of the Lord, people of Jacob—all you families of Israel! This is what the Lord says: “What sin did your ancestors find in me that led them to stray so far? They worshiped foolish idols, only to become foolish themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness—a land of deserts and pits, of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?’ “And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and corrupted the inheritance I had promised you.”
I pastored for over 35 years. I led a Bible School for over 10 years. I’ve been writing Fresh Manna that has now been read in 218 countries, for the past 19 years. Over the years, I have heard many people say that what they’ve read in the gospels and in the life of Jesus seems so outdated and non-relevant for today. These words could only be spoken by those who have never really known the Lord, or by those who have drifted from God. And those words could not be further from the truth! Of course industrialization, science, and technology has changed much over the decades, but the truth is, people change very little! People still love and desire to be loved. They still long to know their purpose in life. They still long to have a meaningful life. They still struggle with the evil they see in the world and even within themselves. People still want security. They want to enjoy life. They want their families to grow up and be blessed and be at peace. These things never change. Technological advancements may change the functionality of life—how we live it out day-to-day, and these modern advancements and resources are eagerly sought after to make life easier and more interesting, but people at their basic core, still have the same needs and desires they’ve had throughout all time—the need for God’s love and understanding of His purpose for each and every one of us. And the trust that He’ll bring each of us into our own Promised Land. The world may flounder, but Christians should not. Don’t stray from God to gain all these things by seeking for them instead of Him. Or as Jeremiah said it, “They worshiped foolish idols, only to become foolish themselves.” (Jeremiah 2:5 NLT)
In this day and age, to believe that Almighty God would intimately care for you and be involved in the details of helping you in your day-to-day life, to most, seems ridiculous. Christians that seek God because of their love for Him, and lean on and pray because they intimately know the depth of His love, and have experienced first-hand, His presence and help in the details of their life—they are surrounded by those who blindly think they are religious nuts or fanatics. They are anything but that! They are those who are truly experiencing the love, intimacy, and help of God that He so wants to give to each and every believer of Jesus!
As Christians living wholeheartedly for God, you’ll always be surrounded by those who don’t understand your very real and intimate love for God. There will always be those that mock your godly lifestyle and think you are self-righteous, trying to be better than everyone else. You know that’s not true. You know better than anyone just how imperfect you are. You know that your faith is in Jesus—the one who died and paid the punishment for your sins, not in your own righteousness. But others won’t see that until they seek God and come to know Him for themselves.
So the question today is, are you going to pursue things for pleasure and advance in your life to the neglect of your relationship with God? Are you going to let the persecution born from the spiritual ignorance of others deter your faith, passion, and the plan that God has for you? Jesus already warned us about this in John 15:20 (NLT) “Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you…” Persecution and the lure of stuff will always be before you! If you don’t come to understand that these are the devil’s devices, you will feel embarrassed when persecuted and frustrated when things to move along fast enough for you. These devices will diminish your love for God, eventually leading you astray. And God will one day ask you, What fault did you find in me that you trusted the world and yourself more than me?
God is calling to you today! His wisdom, instruction, and promise remind us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. “Philippians 4:6 (NLT) Live in His promises or you’ll become like those without God who feel they have to lie and cheat and constantly breach integrity to get what they want. And this will diminish your love for God and eventually lead you astray.
Pastor Tim Burt
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