Lamentations 1:18a “The Lord is righteous; for I have rebelled against His command;”
Jeremiah 52:3a “For through the anger of the Lord this came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence.”
YOU DON’T WANT TO GO THERE
Zedekiah was a wicked king, and it cost him everything. His city was destroyed. His family was destroyed. He lost his eyes and was carried off into exile. All this happened despite the fact Jeremiah warned him. He fell into the anger of the Lord.
That is not something you want to do. God will tolerate only so much. He is a long suffering and patient God, but He is also holy and just. Are you pushing God to the limit? Are you spitting in His face and defying Him? You had best stop and repent. God is still on His throne.
Do you tolerate your children defying you? I bet not. As parents, we are to teach them to obey us. Why? Do we just need little slaves to do our bidding around the house? Of course not. We teach them obedience so they will know to obey God. He also demands obedience. He expects it from His children. Your children are no different.
I truly believe the discipline of our children prepares them to respond to God’s discipline quickly. Our children need to know that God has standards that are not negotiable. He has set laws that everyone will one day adhere to.
Are you in need of some time to repent before a holy and righteous God? Do it now. I will wait…. Are you done? Good. Keep your slate clean before Him. Let Him reveal your sins to you so you, in turn, can confess those to Him. Then, and only then, you will be able to approach Him and do His will.
Father, You convict me each and every time I turn to You. Your holiness convicts me of my unholiness. Your purity convicts me of my impurities. Thank You Father!
Jeremiah 49:11 “‘Leave your orphans behind, I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in Me.’”
GOD CARES FOR THEM ALL
Jeremiah 47:6 “‘Ah, sword of the Lord, how long will you not be quiet? Withdraw into your sheath; be at rest and stay still.’”
O GOD, PLEASE STOP
In chapter 47 Jeremiah is delivering a prophecy against the Philistines. When God delivers a prophecy through His prophet, you can bet it comes true. And it did. They were destroyed. This verse today, though, struck me. They are begging for God to stop. They needed relief.
Have you ever felt that way? Perhaps it seems the world is crashing down all around you. I am NOT saying you are being judged by God. But I am saying God is allowing things to come into your life and in the midst of that you cry out to God to please stop it all. You need rest. You need relief. You need peace.
Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. These are times when you can truly teach your children how to walk with God. As a believer, nothing can touch you unless the Lord allows it. You may feel He has deserted you, but He hasn’t. He is still right there. Cry out to Him. Let your kids be a part of that cry to Him.
AND when He answers, make sure your children know it. They need to see God at work. They will grow to expect it. They will learn to rely on Him. We cannot promise them a trouble-free life. Wouldn’t that be nice? But it is not possible. So, instead, we give them the One who is the trouble breaker.
Do you feel like a Philistine today? Do you need God to step in and give you some rest? First, ask Him what He wants you to learn in the moment. Then pray for His comfort and gentle touch. That’s really all you need.
O gentle Father, when I feel deserted remind me You are there. When I feel all alone, show me Your presence. Thank You, Father, for Your comforting words and wisdom.
Jeremiah 41:2 “Ishmael the son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him arose and struck down Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword and put to death the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land.”
Jeremiah 37:2 “But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the Lord which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.”
Jeremiah 34:2 “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah and say to him: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire.’”’”
JUST DO WHAT GOD SAYS
Jeremiah knew Zedekiah. He wasn’t a kind king. He was, in fact, cruel and demanding. Jeremiah knew he would not like this message. Get the picture – Zedekiah is surrounded by the Babylonian/Chaldean armies. The city is about to be lost. And who comes into your court but the very prophet who has prophesied this. Jeremiah was surely stepping into danger.
But Jeremiah went and said exactly what the Lord said to tell him. You see, Jeremiah valued being committed to the Lord over his own life. There are many today who serve in very dangerous parts of the world who do the same. What would you do?
I want to challenge you today, Mom and Dad. Turn your children over to the Lord. He may ask them to be a Jeremiah. He may send them to a place that is less than friendly. He may ask them to be His mouthpiece in a hostile land. How will you respond to that? It’s one thing for them to move across the country from you. It’s another whole thing for them to go to a place which can’t be made public for fear of death.
As we release our children to the Lord, He gives us the faith we need. It makes no sense to “allow” our children to do that. But we trust the One Who has called them. We trust that He is big enough to protect them when we are not. We trust that the Lord Jesus will only let what He wants to touch them, if they are centered in His will.
This is a tough one, parents. We are made to protect our children, not send them into harm’s way. But they are not our children. They are the Lord’s. He has merely entrusted them to us for a short period of time. In fact, their response to His calling is our reward for teaching them so well. Go chew on that.
Lord, thank You for allowing me to invest in my children. Thank You for allowing me to have a small part in their preparation to whatever You call them to do. I trust You.
Jeremiah 31:29-30 “29 ‘In those days they will not say again, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” 30 But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.’”
TOO SOUR FOR ME
Jeremiah 28:15 “Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah the prophet, ‘Listen now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie.’”
Jeremiah 23:24 “‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the Lord.”
HIDING FROM GOD
Have you ever wondered why all the nightclubs and bars are dimly lit? You are probably asking yourself, “Now Carl, how do you know that?” Well, I have been told. LOL. Seriously, we have all seen pictures or movies with bar or nightclub scenes. They are ALL ALWAYS dimly lit. I guess people feel less intimidated when the lights aren’t on.
God is asking us in today’s verse if we think we can hide from him. Look what He says in the last part of that verse. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” In other words, God knows every crevice and hole in the universe. He can see everywhere. You can’t hide from God.
Has your little Gertrude or Elrod ever hid from you? They do something wrong, so they go hide in their closet or somewhere. You find them pretty quickly, but they still do again the next time. Oh listen, Mom and Dad. Teach them to come to you quickly when they have done wrong. Teach them to come to you quickly when you call them. Why? You are modeling God’s call to them. They need to respond quickly.
Does God get upset (like you do) when we don’t respond to Him quickly. Of course not! He’s God. He is eternal. We may wait a year to respond to His call, but to Him, that’s milliseconds. But we should still teach our children to listen and obey the first time. We are setting a pattern in them to respond.
But let me ask you something. How do you respond? Do you keep your ears tuned in to God? Do you eagerly wait to respond? I know I try to, but there are times when I get so busy or I have my own agenda. Those are the times when I either don’t hear God or I ignore His voice.