Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
I Am Not Ashamed Of The GospelVerse of focus: "If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors forever and ever."
- Jeremiah 7:5-7
If you were faced with a task that you knew would result in harsh pushback, how would you handle it? Would you cower or hesitate to know the adversity you'd have to deal with? Or would you stand tall knowing rightfully you'd have done what you needed to do? Our meditation today involves the prophet Jeremiah and his calling to preach the message of repentance in a time when Israel had lost its way. Let's examine Jeremiah's message and glean what we can learn from his life and calling.
Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet in the Bible specifically because he was known to have a heavy heart at the tough message he'd have to give. You can read this further in chapter 13. He was called to be a prophet of repentance in chapter 1 at a young age. Further along, we see there he felt ill-equipped and incapable of speech. The Lord however reassures him in the calling and says from before the womb he was called, and to stand firm because the Lord will fortify him. What an encouraging word! Even at a young age, God blesses Jeremiah with the ability and strength to do His will.
Jeremiah's core message came at a time when God's people had lost their way. Their relationship with the Lord was described as an adulterous people and the Israelites began to worship idols like Baal. They had become comfortable knowing they'd come to the temple and been given the original promise to be blessed by God. However, their hearts and actions were far from God. Jeremiah stood firm in the message we see in the verses of focus today. He witnessed the debaucherous ways of his fellow people. He warned them that if they can change their ways God would bless them forever. He called on them to treat the vulnerable in society well, to be kind and fair to each other, and to follow God first and foremost. In doing so God would honor the covenant He set before.
Unfortunately, the Israelites had lost sight of their purpose and call. Eventually, the Babylonians would lead the Israelite people to exile and harsh times would come. Even despite all this, Jeremiah did not hesitate to continue the message, even until his martyrdom by stoning. He continued to preach a message of repentance and followed through on the call he felt initially felt ill-equipped to do. Though the context is different, we are also called by the Great Commission to preach the good news of God's call to repent and follow Him. We need to treat our fellow human beings as God loves us and turn from our sin and brokenness toward God's love and holiness. May we be more like Him each day and be faithful to the call like His servant Jeremiah. May you all be blessed.
Lord with humble hearts please embolden us to speak the message of Christ and love your people with your divine grace. Amen
Thought for the Day
Where in my life have lacked repentance and hesitated in speaking the message of God? How can I be better?
Arun Chacko, Staten Island Mar Thoma Church