Summary: God told Jeremiah that Israel was going backwards and not forwards. I wonder if we, the church, are not getting farther from God instead of closer to Him?
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Pastor Jim May
WHICH DIRECTION ARE YOU TRAVELING?
Jeremiah 7:23-24, "But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward."
What does God command His people to do? God has commanded each of us to obey His law. I know that we often fail in fulfilling every commandment that is in the Word of God but that is no excuse for what God is saying to us through the Prophet Jeremiah. God was speaking to Israel but, as always, those things that happened in the Old Testament days of Israel are an example and a type and shadow of where we are in our day.
God demands obedience and says in His Word that obedience is always better than sacrifice. Oh how we would love to sacrifice rather than obey God!
We would rather sacrifice a lamb than to offer our own life with all of its desires, needs, wants and dreams to God. We would rather suffer and sacrifice for our sin because that means that we can continue in our sin as long as we continue of offer sacrifices to cover that sin. If we were to obey the Word of God, sacrifices would not be necessary. Jesus died on the cross as our sacrifice and there remains no other sacrifice that we can make that is sufficient to forgive sins. His sacrifice demands obedience to His will and the moral law if we are to be called His chosen people.
God has promised us that He would walk with us, protect us, guide us, provide for us, but only if we are obedient servants! God is not obligated to protect us from our willful and habitual sinful heart. The heart of man is ever sinful, ever searching for the next mischief it can get into, and ever attempting to hide its faults from the eyes of our Father who sees it all.
The church, as a whole, even those who of the “true Body of Christ”, have gone backward! We have everyone gone our own way and Jesus had to take the iniquity of us all upon Him! Instead of us going toward the perfection that is in Christ, we presume upon the mercies and grace of God and continue on our merry way as we walk farther and farther from the place of perfection that Jesus has intended for each of us to reach.
Just like Israel of old, we don’t even think about the promises of God’s blessings until they are no longer there. We take Him for granted! We take His Word for granted! We take His church and his Spirit for granted! Where is the heart that will fall before God in repentance for our sin of omission in forgetting God days without number?
Not only do we forget God’s promises but also we are so quickly lulled into a false sense of security by the devil and we forget about the consequences of an unrepentant heart full of sin. We forget that God’s judgments are just as sure as His mercy and grace and that, one day, we shall face the judgment. If we forget God, it won’t the Judgment Seat of Christ, it will be the Great White Throne Judgment and we will hear God say those awful words, “depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you!”
Jeremiah 8:4-7, "Moreover thou shalt say unto them, thus saith the LORD; shall they fall, and not arise? Shall he turn away, and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit; they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, what have I done? Every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD."