Some women in Jeremiah
Jeremiah 2:32, 33 NET
Does a young woman forget to put on her jewels?
Does a bride forget to put on her bridal attire?
But my people have forgotten me for more days than can even be counted.
“My, how good you have become at chasing after your lovers!
Why, you could even teach prostitutes a thing or two! (Jeremiah 2:32, 33 NET)
First Jeremiah tries to compare Israel to a bride, which is a real surprise after everything else he’s been saying so far.
The really cool thing is HOW he compares her to a bride.
Does a young woman forget to put on her jewels?
What is the point of her jewels?
To ornament herself,
to make herself beautiful,
to show off her wealth,
or her inheritance,
or her rich lover?
How do you spot a bride coming from a mile away?
Does a bride forget to put on her bridal attire?
By her smile or the marriage license in the groom’s back pocket? NO!
By her dress! The bride’s dress is the SINGLE thing that separates her from all of the other women at the reception. The bridesmaids even wear ugly dresses to showcase the bride¡
If Israel were close to God like she should be, her salvation and redemption would be abundantly clear.
The same thing goes for us today. Think about it! You see Amish people and you KNOW a lot about them. You know about the things they take seriously and the things they do well.
I’m not saying that I’m going to start dressing funky or anything, but it would be nice if we heeded these words from Jeremiah a little bit. God’s people should not be able to teach prostitutes any tricks. We should really run after our solid & true lover – Christ the King!
One of the great attractions to ancient Judaism throughout the world was the fact that their religion had consistency from city to city, and a high moral standard. If you knew a Jew in Rome you’d know how to be consistent with a Jew in Morocco. In a world that was extremely spiritual (or superstitious, whichever you prefer) to the point that every city had it’s own set of gods and it’s own set of religious rules, the structure and consistency of God’s chosen people was a big attraction. When She wore what her Husband had given her, she was beautiful.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, (Colossians 3:12 NET)
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:27 NET)
However you want to look at it, God has adorned us and clothed us in His own greatness. We need to fully clothe ourselves in what He has provided or strip off all of the world’s garbage that we seem to put on over it.
God wants to show you off like a groom loves to show off his bride on their big day.
You Say That To All The Deities
I will put an end to all her celebration: her annual religious festivals, monthly new moon celebrations, and weekly Sabbath festivities – all her appointed festivals.
Look at what is on this list–It’s all of the religious things that Israel was doing!
Somebody might say, “Wait, didn’t God ask them to do all of these religious things?” Yep, He did, but they were all for the reason of drawing closer to the one true God and they were doing these things for every deity on their list! They went all over looking for spiritual beings and the sacrifices or activities that would please them!
God is Jealous
There are a lot of people that don’t like the idea that God is a jealous God. The idea of being jealous or selfish seems controlling, limiting.
Honestly, I think people don’t like the idea of being controlled because they haven’t had somebody stick up for them. If you’ve been oppressed–and I mean really oppressed–and then you’ve had somebody step in and stick up for you, you appreciate jealousy.
Nobody likes to be the damsel in distress, but that’s what we are. Even our Christian books teach us how to be the manly-man hero and save our families/communities/churches that are the ones in distress. We are the ones that need to be saved, not the saviors. We are the ones that need spiritual acts done to us by our Lord, not the ones that need to do spiritual acts for our Lord.
May we end our religious hobbies and let our savior do what He is mighty to do–Save!
Paul Goes All Habakkuk in Pisidian Antioch
‘Look, you scoffers; be amazed and perish! For I am doing a work in your days, a work you would never believe, even if someone tells you.’ – Acts 13:41
Paul tells the people in Pisidian Antioch all about how all of Jewish history has been leading up to the birth of Christ, and then he quotes Habakkuk at the end of it. The wild thing is that he quotes Habakkuk in a section that Habakkuk is talking about an impending army coming and taking them over.
The quote from Habakkuk goes on and gets even better…
Habakkuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and pay attention! You will be shocked and amazed! For I will do something in your lifetime that you will not believe even though you are forewarned.
Look, I am about to empower the Babylonians, that ruthless and greedy nation. They sweep across the surface of the earth, seizing dwelling places that do not belong to them.
It’s almost like Paul is saying, “Look, don’t make the same mistake our forefathers made! They didn’t listen and so the Babylonians came and took them over and plundered their blessings. Now if you who are Israel won’t turn to God and believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Gentiles will come in and plunder the blessing that is for you!”
And that is EXACTLY what happened the next week at the same synagogue…
Car Sermon on Joel
Here is an old video I came across on thoughts on fellowship offerings in Joel.
Global Leadership Summit 2011, Part 5: Steven Furtick
Day one (good grief I’m just now ending day one‽) ended with Steve Furtick. His talk was really good.
After a day of some religious and worldly wisdom it was really good to focus on the fact that the most important things in this world can only be done by God.
It’s worth it to read this passage from 2 Kings 3:9-20
The whole bit about Elisha and the harpist was pretty funny. I’m not sure what the point of it was, but the whole bit about background music making us more passionate was pretty funny. I think it had something to do with us keeping our inspiration even after we left the conference. It’s easy to feel called by God when you’re in a crowd full of people with loud music and programmable lights. Not so much when you’re sitting alone in a soup kitchen with more ketchup on their burger than hope in their hearts.
This part is great, but if you read the section yourself, you can ask God for your own application. It is a good point that God didn’t lay out the entire plan to these guys. SO MANY places in the scriptures God just gives us 1 or 2 of the next steps, not the whole plan in detail.
Philip in Acts 8 only got two bits of direction and the rest he had to fill in on his own. Go to this road and go over by that chariot. Beyond that Philip had to wing it! We look at other peoples’ success and wonder why it doesn’t work out for us. We wonder why things are so hard or misleading or unclear, but most of the time we’re comparing our behind the scenes with other peoples’ highlight reel.
This whole event from 2 Kings is even a bigger deal if you read through the whole chapter. Read it and you’ll see that God provides a lot more than just the thing we ask for and He fights our fights for us in ways that we would have never even imagined!
Malachi and Broken Donations
Malachi 1:8 For when you offer blind animals as a sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer the lame and sick, is that not wrong as well? Indeed, try offering them to your governor! Will he be pleased with you or show you favor?” asks the Lord who rules over all.
Whenever I read this I thought it was talking about how the governor would reject a sacrifice that was lame or blind, but the NET Bible note explains that the phrase “offering” is more like choices on a menu at a sit-down feast. Would you offer a respected house guest some nasty meat for dinner? Of course not! That is what God is asking through Malachi.
This fits right in line with what John says in 1 John 4:20
1John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
If you aren’t going to treat God with the respect and honor that is due Him, AT LEAST show him the respect you would show a public official that would visit your house. On the flip side, if you can’t love somebody that is tangible and visible, don’t say that you love God, because your love for God will show in how you care for the people around you.
Malachi is basically saying, “You wouldn’t serve this garbage to a house guest, so why in the world do you think God wants it?”
That would be a great plaque to hang up over the door at a Goodwill. It’s one thing to give out a hand-me-down because you don’t need it and you don’t want it to go to waste. It’s entirely different to give out a broken item, call it an act of religious righteousness, and then go buy yourself a brand new one.
May we never think too highly of ourselves as we show our charity by donating a 3-wheeled stroller to the orphanage.
Whose Peace? Whose Prosperity?
Ezra 9:12 ESV Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.
Never seek their peace or prosperity. Never run after the thing they call shalom, because it isn’t God’s shalom, because the only true shalom comes from a God that they do not know. Don’t call prosperity the same thing that they call prosperity. You’ve seen from the last few chapters of Ezra that money, gold, riches, whatever form wealth takes, is in the hand of God like the wind or a bird flying in the air. He can direct any amount of it in any direction He wants.
True prosperity is from God, and it is part of Himself. It isn’t in money or stuff, but in God. Just like true peace. Hundreds of years earlier, the people coveted what their neighbors had, even though their neighbors were against the Lord and all that He was and had done. The people decided that they liked the pagan definition of peace and the pagan definition of prosperity more than God’s definition, so they left Him to go find it.
God's Ancient Plan for Mercy
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
Zechariah 13:1 On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
How awesome is this!? The thing that God pours out is not wrath or judgment, but a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy. The people receive grace and are moved to plea for mercy, and then God opens up a fountain to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. We were so hard hearted–so stubborn to repent! Not only did the death of Jesus, an innocent & awesomely wise man of God, work as a payment for our sins, but it also was such an injustice that we are moved to say, “Wow, God, we have done wrong and we need mercy!”
There are numerous stories of missionaries going out into jungles to show The Jesus Film to people that have never seen a movie before. The viewers see Jesus and how He lived and at the end, when He is being crucified, there have been riots as people storm the movie screen shouting “They’re killing an innocent man!”
It was God’s perfect plan to bring so many things to completion and perfection in Christ.
John 4 and Jesus' Conversation with Oholah
In John 4, Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman that has had 5 husbands. People have always talked about what a sinful woman she was, and how controversial it would be for Jesus to talk to her.
Now I know why.
In Ezekiel 23, God talks about having two wives that left Him and cheated. One of those wives is Samaria; her name is Oholah. The stuff she does is pretty gross, inciting the ancient rabbis to only allow a man to read Ezekiel after he turned 30.
That woman at the well in John 4: she is Oholah.
In Ezekiel 23, Oholah lusted after the Assyrians(1) and the Egyptians(2). As time went on, Samaria would be ruled by Persia (3), then in 332 B.C. be filled with Macedonians(4), then in 63 B.C. it would become a Roman Province (5).
Jesus arrives on the scene with a nation that has long forgotten who her Husband is in all of her whoring. She’s had 5 identities, and is having trouble identifying herself with the man who is currently NOT her husband.
And still Jesus reaches out, tells her everything, and tells re-introduces her to her first love, The Father that seeks worshipers that worship in Spirit and in Truth. Awesome.