The Holy Bible (The Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 4:1-3): The Lord said: Israel, if you really want to come back to me, get rid of those disgusting idols. 2 Make promises only in my name, and do what you promise! Then all nations will praise me, and I will bless them. 3 People of Jerusalem and Judah, don't be so stubborn! Your hearts have become hard, like unplowed ground where thornbushes grow.
Thoughts: While I believe there was a lot of value in these verses for Israel and the people of Jerusalem and Judah, I also believe that this passage of scripture was included in God's Word to us for self-application also. Let me explain, I believe that God spoke to me as I read this, and had me substitute 'Israel' with the family and friends that I am praying for. At times when I feel distant from God, I believe that this passage also applies to me. Friends, I want you to read this carefully to make sure that you too understand that when God seems far away from you, examine your lives and see what idols (priorities; things) have you allowed to step in the way of your open communication and dependence on God. The kinds of things that get in our way might be:
- Work - for we can become so absorbed in our job that we have no quality time to spend with God;
- Church - yes, even church. We can become a slave to the work of the church and exclude our study and worship time with the Lord, for whom we are presumably working;
- Family - even though this item is of super importance, if we're not careful Satan can use this as a tool to keep us away from God. Let's learn to take our family to church, instead of feeling an obligation to spend quality time with them on our Sabbath. After all, we had other opportunities during the week to spend time with them, but with Satan's help chose not to. Men/dads this is our responsibility as God's leader in our homes;
- Activities - we all know that the beach is always better on our Sabbath day than any other day of the week, right? But does it fit with God's command of what we should be doing on our Sabbath?!!;
- Sports - why would we consider giving our time to sports on our Sabbath day rather than assembling ourselves together to worship God and to encourage one another?;
- Weariness - the toils of the week have left us so worn out that giving one hour of our time to refuel spiritually, and to give God thanks for our jobs, and the good health to do our jobs, seems to be challenging for us – at least until we lose our job or some other crisis comes up, right?;
Prayer: Father, You know our hearts and You know our thoughts and our schemes. It is so unfortunate that in spite of Your goodness to us, we allow Satan to feed our thoughts, that often leads us to scheme and find reasons to not find time in the Word, in prayer and even church attendance. Please forgive us for our ingratitude and our unfaithfulness. You sacrificed Your very Son for our salvation, yet we find it challenging to make time to spend with You and/or Your people in corporate worship. Often this is just not a priority in our lives. Please forgive me oh Lord. Please touch the hearts of Your children who will read this devotional today, may they also be made aware of 'idols' that have become obstacles in their walk with You. Lord Jesus, we respect You and all that You stand for, however if we are to be true and honest representatives of Yours, we too must be living, walking and talking as You. We can only do this with Your help, direction and wisdom oh Lord, and we humbly seek that today. For this is my humble and gracious plea before You oh God, in the name of Your Son Jesus, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!