Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book of Jeremiah

The Life Project: Jeremiah

Paul Pope

Have you ever watched as a loved one steered their life towards destruction? It is incredibly disheartening to see a path to safety and health for them, but watch as they choose otherwise. Making it even more difficult to swallow is trying to talk to this loved one and instead of a "thank you" we receive a middle finger and are rejected.

This is the experience of Jeremiah. God chose to speak His words to Jeremiah so that Jeremiah could relay His words to the nation of Israel. Time and time again, Israel refused to listen and Jeremiah watched as they suffered the consequences. His nickname was "The Weeping Prophet." He earned this name because Israel’s disobedience broke his heart. Instead of getting angry, throwing up his hands, and becoming bitter, like I would be tempted to do, Jeremiah cried. He cried for them because he never stopped wanting more for them, he never stopped loving them, despite their rejection of him.

One of the key verses is Jeremiah 17:9 which says:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Going all the way back to creation in Genesis 2, God created humanity with a pure heart. He also gave us free will and in Genesis 3 we exchanged our pure heart for the heart described above in Jeremiah 17:9 as we embraced sin. Sin is an all encompassing problem. Our perspective and orientation is altered by our fallen nature towards ourselves. Through pride and selfishness we turn inward and become unable to accurately assess our motives. We learn to defend and deflect any feedback that says we are not perfect. We want to believe that we are as good as everyone else, if not better ,and will do mental gymnastics to prove our value and worth as compared to others. We deceive ourselves about our motives and think we are fine when we are totally off. Or we may think we are off when we are fine.

This all sounds pretty hopeless, especially if there is no answer to the question at the end of Jeremiah 17:9. Thankfully, God gives us an answer in the next verse.

I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind. Even to give to each man according to his ways. According to the results of his deeds.

It is God who knows our hearts and in order for us to come to truly know ourselves we must come to God. It is through Him that we will find our answers. It is in Him that we find truth. As we seek to form an accurate view and understanding of ourselves, the only possible route is through a connected relationship with God.

God knows the deep recesses of our soul. This may be a bit intimidating for some to consider the fact that God knows
every sin we have ever done and knows the motives for every behavior. There is no way to hide from Him. The question is why would you ever want to hide from Him? He provides the light necessary to reveal truth from the lies in our lives.

Ultimately, there is no sin that can separate us from the love of God if we have placed our faith in Jesus. (Read Romans 8:1-2.) Let the light of Jesus shine into the dark places of your life so that He can bring about victory, deliverance, and redemption. We all want to be free, so let’s allow God to root out those things in our lives that continue to entangle us .

Life Group Questions

1. Describe a time when you watched a love one choose time and time again to go down the path towards destruction. What did it feel like?

2. What is the difference between becoming angry because of the poor choices of our loved one’s and weeping?

3. Jeremiah 17:9 says "
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Is it true? What does this look like?

4. How does it feel to know that God knows your innermost thoughts, feelings, motives, and desires?

5. Having confidence because of our faith in Jesus that God will forgive us of our sins when we confess them (Read 1 John 1:9). What sin do you need to bring into the light?

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