More from Jeremiah & a SOAP…

SOAP from this last week…

Jeremiah 7:21,22
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices & eat the flesh. For in the day that I brought your ancestors of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings & sacrifices. But this command I gave them, Obey my voice, & I will be Your God, & You shall be my people; & walk only in thee way that I command You, so that it may be well with You.”

Israel is attempting to cover their bases in their devotion time to God – to ‘do’ what God has ‘required’ of them – as though it involved a mere list of chores &/or a to-do list. That the heart attitude & mindset had nothing to do with what God was really, truly asking of them – to Obey His voice, & to walk in the way that He commanded them – & the results of that would be: Israel will be His people, & God will be their God, &, the results of obedience will be that life, it, consequences will be well with Israel.

I am like Israel – I have ‘forgotten’ & can forget what it is that the LORD has asked & required of me – & treat Him like I’m serving another God, one of my ‘choosing’ – that must be satisfied with offerings & displays of devotion… displays that don’t involve the heart or the mind, merely the outward declaration, the going through the motions… that is a small god that could be pacified. A god that doesn’t need (or even want) relationship, or to call me by His Name. At its most basic, a relationship of love, trust, faith, & honor – where to hear is to follow, to come running. To know & be known at the most core level. Its what God asks for, contends for, hopes for – not out of neediness or codependency, but out of desire for a bride… hard to fathom. Don’t quite know what to do with that.

We’re the ones that are trying to keep God at arms length, continually pushing Him back to a ‘safe’ distance, while He’s drawing us into an embrace, a place of safety, of strength – of confidence. Identity.

I fear You. Hide my face. Cling to my expertise, my knowledge, that which I’m familiar with. I know of Your goodness, but I forget; even with Your arms extended wide, fear lies to me. Rises up inside me, subtly shifting me, guiding me from the place where I can most be ME, offering up facades & other versions of me, mere shadows of the real, what is intended.

And rather than write me off, You wait for me. Pursue me with a love beyond words.

Turn my heart to You. I want to live Your love, to hear Your voice & come running. To not faithlessly doubt Your goodness, Your hand, Your face. To not come to You dragging my feet, sullenly demanding, “Ok, what do You want NOW?” when what You want is to Be Mine. And me to Be Yours. To just spend some time together. I’m so sorry LORD. With my own children I’m beginning to sense the longing to just hang out together, the longing that is met with rolled eyes, suspicion, & a checking of the cell-phone to see just HOW long will this little time be before they can go?

And I could be angry at them & demand their attention, their loyalty, their time… cause rejection hurts… stings like a sting to the heart… but I usually just tell them that I love them, & let them go… which is followed by a heavy sigh & a ‘finally!’

I chafe. Stiffen my neck. Live reactively. Analyze. Wrestle.

I look in the mirror & instead of seeing the reflection I see in my head, I see me. Flashing back & forth between being 4 & 41. The eyes are the same eye’s I remember seeing, looking for in the mirror. Cause my eyes are brown, & I like my brown eyes. They’re not as colorful or catching as the blues & greens & hazels & gold-flecked sparklies of those of the rest of my family, but they are my eyes. And in the reflection of my eyes is me. A glimpse of a soul I think. The “me,” that is me; while the shell of my body has grown, adapted, changed, & aged, the “me” is still there, looking out of this body, this tent, wanting so much to be accepted & loved, fearing that that just wont happen.

Thank you LORD – I lift my eyes up to where my help comes from; my help comes from YOU, Almighty maker of heaven & maker of earth. So I will wait for You to come & rescue me, to come & bring me life.

Thoughts from Jeremiah… pondering living waters vs. broken cisterns, perseverance, & other musings…

FWIW – this is the SOAP from yesterday… & a reading/journaling plan if you don’t have one..

S – Jeremiah 2:11-13 Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, & hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

4:3,4 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah & Jerusalem: Break up your fallow ground, & sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah & inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, & burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.

O – The word pictures God uses are rich in imagery & in depicting the futility of the pursuit of idols made of stone & wood – & God calls upon the heavenly host to be a witness to the unthinkable – that the people of His hand would exchange their glory, God, for something lifeless… the fountain of living waters, the source of life, a spring that never runs dry; reminds me of Jesus’ cry in John 4 & John 7 – that those who come to Him He will cause to have rivers of living water out of their hearts/heart of their being – & Israel/Judah have exchanged this never-ending supply of life giving water for a hand-made cistern, & a leaky, faulty one at that. And they’re content with it – & will die because of it, because the very thing they need, living water, they have rejected & have chosen instead their own ways & provisions.

The challenge that the LORD gives to Israel/Judah is to set themselves apart to Him – to plow the uncultivated, unplanted ground – a picture of neglect, laziness, & a call to diligence, & return to purpose. And to NOT sow among the thorns, but on the good ground. Not among the pointless & counterproductive – to not waste their seeds. To not have just an outward circumcision, but one of the heart; an inner set-apartness. Or the consequence will be fire & the wrath of God.

A – both Scriptures challenge me – the 1st to not exchange the provision of God, dependence on Him & His life giving Spirit for a ‘provision’ of my own making – self-sufficiency, & a denial of my very desperate need for Him.

The 2nd is a challenge to stay focused, to stay on task – to not forget or neglect the common or repetitive work – the preparing of the field, the planting of the seed in the RIGHT places – to not just go through the motions, but to mind the details, because what’s planted will grow – with interest.

P – LORD – I ask You to fill me with Your living waters – I’m dependent on You, & acknowledge my need for You & Your Spirit. I repent for self-sufficiency, for functioning on my own competency, for relying on my reserves, my strength, my abilities w/o bringing myself to You for Your direction, life, supply, shaping. Forgive me LORD.

And make me strong – someone that perseveres, endures, is faithful. Who stays on the little things, takes care of details, loves You in word & in action. Weave my fabric strong LORD.

Isaiah 50:7-9 ESV
But the LORD God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, & I know that I shall not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. Behold, the LORD God helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.