August 2 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 16-18 and Psalms 32
Notice at the end of these verses how Jeremiah lashes out against the people who have not listened to him and have threatened him. “Listen to me, O LORD; hear what my accusers are saying! Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood before you and spoke in their behalf to turn your wrath away from them. So give their children over to famine; hand them over to the power of the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows; let their men be put to death, their young men slain by the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses when you suddenly bring invaders against them, for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet. But you know, O LORD, all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger.” (Jeremiah 18:19-23)
These are very harsh and vindictive statements from the lips of Jeremiah, the man of God, but they do illustrate something. If a servant of God like Jeremiah can have such strong feelings of judgment when the people reject him, then maybe this can help us understand the strong emotions expressed by the Lord Himself. Why should the Lord not have emotion when His people continually turn their backs on Him? When the Lord was trying to describe His own hurt feelings to Jeremiah – the anger He felt – judgment the people deserved – Jeremiah probably never really connected emotionally. However, when he too was rejected and threatened by the same people, he lashed out violently. Interesting how it’s sometimes only when we connect with God through human experience that we fully begin to understand His heart. Fast forward to the New Testament and we find a new and better way to deal with rejection – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:43-44) These kinds of attitudes can only be obtained through the power of the Holy Spirit.
On an unrelated note, Psalms 32 gives us understanding concerning the intimate relationship we have with the Lord. The “me in them and them in me” relationship we share with Jesus is described by the Psalmist as he talks about “aching bones” and the hand of the Lord being “heavy upon” him because he had sinned. It’s only because of God’s intense love relationship with us that we would ever have a spiritual experience of this kind. Your conscience won’t give you a moment’s rest till you “confess your transgressions to the Lord”. Then forgiveness comes with “songs of deliverance”. The ultimate lesson learned here however is that we were not meant to “be controlled by bit and bridle” but by the glance of His eye – by the nudge of the Spirit of God. Re-read this Psalm if you have a moment and see the beauty of this love relationship we share with Christ.
1. Give another Scriptural example of God showing intense emotion.
2. Have you ever experienced a “bit and bridle” kind of discipline from the Lord? – How about a “glance of the eye” kind of correction? Tell about it.