DAILY READINGSJeremiah 4-6 & Psalm 14
DAILY NOTESJeremiah 4
- Perhaps the people swore "As the Lord lives," but they did not do so in truth, justice or uprightness. That's a sobering reminder that our words about God must match the way we live.
- Jeremiah (God) wants the people to move from an empty adherence to a covenant behavior (circumcision) to an attitude of praise before God. In other words, empty religion is not appealing to God.
- God will ask the people to "wash" their heart "clean of wickedness" (Verse 14).
- Jeremiah feels as if God has deceived the people (Verse 10). Maybe God didn't predict the peace Jeremiah was thinking of. False prophets?
- The same theme. There were people who said, "As the Lord lives," because that was the religious thing to say. But God says there is not one person who acts justly or seeks truth. The people used the right words, but lived the wrong way. #PreachYourOwnSermon
- God's judgement is necessary, according to Jeremiah. How could the people be pardoned? They have completely forsaken God.
- God promises that a people from "far away" will come to overtake Israel. Yet, God will not "make a full end" of the people (18).
- God gave the people a road map to return to faithfulness: Ask for the ancient paths, where they good way lies; and walk in it and find rest for your souls (Verse 16). God said to look back on the word he had given to the Israelites in the time of Moses. Learn from them.
- But the people refused.
As much as our words about God matter, they are limited by the true desire of our hearts.
For example, as noted, apparently, plenty of people said things like, "As the Lord lives." That'd be the modern equivalent to saying something like, "God is good." According to the prophet, the people were not willing, however, to say more important things like, "Let us fear the Lord our God..."
We should learn the right words about God; good theology is important. They are helpful to express our faith and understanding of God. But they can easily become the dry, wrote words of an empty heart. How does that happen? History is full of sermons that describe that. Our reading today provides two things. Jeremiah 5:23 says, "this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart."
So, don't want an empty religion? Don't be stubborn. Don't be rebellious. Ask God to soften your heart. Ask God to show you his will.