January 24, 2015
READ: Jeremiah 32:37-44
I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants (v.39).
Uncle Mark (not his real name) had his big toe removed because his arteries had become blocked after years of smoking 60 cigarettes a day. My husband and I used the traumatic event to talk to our children about the consequences of destructive habits. We realised just how much Uncle Mark’s story had impacted them when a few days later we heard our son telling another family member to quit smoking or his big toe would need to be cut off!
The nation of Israel was about to suffer the consequence of destructive habits. They had wandered far from God, were unfaithful to His laws and had chosen to worship other gods (Jeremiah 2-3,5,9). They had built altars to Baal and sacrificed their children in the fire as offerings (19:4-5). The prophet Jeremiah warned that Judah would soon face famine, be plundered and the people would be taken captive to a foreign land (10-11). Jeremiah exposed the sins of the people—sins which would ultimately lead to their captivity and destruction by the Babylonian army (1-2, 5:19).
Anyone who’s tried to defy gravity by leaping from too high of a perch has known the painful consequences of trying to break the laws of nature. In the same way, the price we pay for breaking God’s laws is high. Now, God’s kindness can turn us away from our willful disobedience (Romans 2:4), but sometimes it’s the consequences of our sin that finally leads us to right living (Hebrews 12:3-17).
God longs for us to turn away from our stubborn disobedience so we can know Him as our merciful and gracious Father (Jeremiah 24:7). He reinforced His faithful commitment to Judah and promised to restore them to Himself. And, by His grace, He does the same for us today (32:39-40). —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
365-day plan› Genesis 41:1-36
Read Ezekiel 36:26-27 and see what it says about the new heart God gave to those who believed in Him.
What has God revealed about your distance from Him? What will you do today to draw closer to Him?