Making Godly Choices
Father God, You are Lord and Sovereign. You preside over my goings and comings, and I am grateful.
Consider: The Scriptures clearly teach that we will reap what we sow (Gal. 6-8). Subtle changes in our devotion to the Lord can eventually lead to a change of loyalties.
God's instruction to his people is clear. As they stand at the crossroads, everything they need for purposeful lives and "rest for their souls" lies before them (16). They simply need to take the right way--but the people reject this way, ignoring the prophets ("watchmen," 17) because they have their own ideas of what they want from life. They have been lured by seductive alien cultures, which seem exciting and intoxicating and far more attractive than the ways of God's law.
For Judah, however, choosing these other routes will lead not to enrichment and fulfillment, but to destruction (19). We don't know what kind of damaging lifestyles they followed, but Jeremiah makes it clear that the outcome of these lifestyles will be calamity. It doesn't help that, in spite of being so removed from God spiritually, they continue the rituals of worship, even bringing pagan offerings ("incense from Sheba," 20) into their rites. For, without the heart commitment that enables worshipers to hear and praise God, such worship is no longer meaningful; it is hollow and empty and cannot be acceptable to God. No wonder God rejects their shallow offerings.
Two lessons here are as important for us as they were for the people of Judah. The first is that we cannot compromise in our relationship with God. When we have committed ourselves to discipleship and obedience, following that through requires single-mindedness and integrity, for it is a wholehearted calling. The other lesson is that God's judgment does not always come through dramatic divine intervention. It is more likely to be expressed, as it is here, in the consequences of our own wrong choices--the fruit of how we live. The law of God is structured into the very creation of human lives, so we choose against it at our peril.
Can you recall a time when you offered "gifts" to God, instead of obedience to him? Is that happening right now? Return, then, "...where the good way is, and walk in it..." (16).
Lord, guide me in my choices today and help me to seek direction from Your Word and Spirit.
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