Friday, March 31, 2017

Scripture Reading – Jeremiah 1-6

[Dear follower of “From the Heart of a Shepherd”, Today’s scheduled reading is Jeremiah 1-6; however, I posted this devotional a week ago when the reading for that day was actually Isaiah 62-66. I apologize for any confusion.]

For those continuing the spiritual discipline of reading through the Bible this year, today’s scripture reading bring us to the Book of Jeremiah, the record of the cry of God’s prophet by the same name to a nation on the brink of destruction.

The book of Jeremiah is 52 chapters long and spans 54 years from Judah’s glory years under the reign of King Josiah to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple under the reign of King Zedekiah in 587 BC.  The book of Jeremiah is both biographical and prophetic, chronicling the life and experience of God’s man who stood alone in his day.  For over four decades, Jeremiah called on the nation to repent of her sins and turn to God.

From a human perspective, it could be argued the prophet was a failure: Reviled by His people; scorned by the nation’s leaders; persecuted, imprisoned, and rejected by Judah’s kings.  Bearing God’s promise that He would spare Jerusalem from destruction if Jeremiah found one righteous man in the city (Jeremiah 5:1-6), Jeremiah sought for a righteous man among the poor…and found none (5:4).  He sought for a righteous man among the nation’s leaders …and found none (5:5).   Knowing God’s judgment would soon come upon the nation, we can understand why the prophet struggled with discouragement and disappointment; however, he did not quit!

Why study the warnings of God’s judgment that were directed to the Jews and the nation of Judah?  Answer, God has not changed! He is loving, patient and longsuffering toward sinners.  He is holy and just…and His judgment and punishment of sin is sure.

We will notice that America bears many striking similarities with Judah and the world of Jeremiah’s day.  Like Judah, America has enjoyed the blessings and riches of God’s grace.  Founded by men and women who came to this continent in search of religious freedom and dedicated this land to God.  Her first colonies were established on principles that were fundamentally Christian.  Although not a Christian nation, our Constitution and laws were drafted by men who were God-fearing– many of them clergy and Christian leaders in their communities.

Tragically, America parallels Judah’s movement from faith and prosperity to apostasy and decay. We were the envy of the world in my lifetime; however, we have become like ancient Judah — mocked and scorned by the nations of the world…a nation that fears God.  Like Israel of old, we are a nation that calls “evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).  We have become a reprobate nation…slaughtering tens of millions of unborn children.  America’s rejection of God has led our nation, community and homes down a path of spiritual, moral, and fiscal decay.

Is there any hope for America?  We will discuss that in the weeks that are ahead during our reading of Jeremiah.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith