Day 75: The Mercy of a Serious God

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Yahweh, you know.
Remember me, visit me,
and avenge me of my persecutors.
You are patient, so don’t take me away.
Know that for your sake I have suffered reproach.
Your words were found,
and I ate them.
Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart,
for I am called by your name, Yahweh, God of Armies.
I didn’t sit in the assembly of those who make merry and rejoice.
I sat alone because of your hand,
for you have filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain perpetual,
and my wound incurable,
which refuses to be healed?
Will you indeed be to me as a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail?

Therefore Yahweh says,
“If you return, then I will bring you again,
that you may stand before me;
and if you take out the precious from the vile,
you will be as my mouth.
They will return to you,
but you will not return to them.
I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall.
They will fight against you,
but they will not prevail against you;
for I am with you to save you
and to deliver you,” says Yahweh.
“I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and I will redeem you out of the hand of the terrible.”

It appears to me that God accused Jeremiah of being undependable. He’s definitely the One to know. Even though Jeremiah did speak God’s words and separated himself from the people, he must have been influenced by them. This is exactly why it is so personal to me. I have this very same sin in my life. I do speak the truth, but am often influenced by the thoughts of those to whom I am speaking. This perverts my attitude. What the Bible actually tells me to do is to have a clean separation between the ideas of the world and the ideas of God. I should never be allowing myself to think as they do. Could it be that Jeremiah’s complaint to God exposed the fact that he was beginning to think that he really was worthy of people’s hatred? It appears that, by this, Jeremiah was allowing the thoughts of others to influence his. The truth was that Jeremiah didn’t deserve their hatred and that they were completely wrong and would soon be discovering that fact. What they thought about Jeremiah only made it worse for them and that’s it. Let’s look at what God tells us as Christians now:

James 4:4

You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

God calls friendship with the world “hostility toward God”. We shouldn’t being going along with the world’s ways at all. God made this clear to Jeremiah in His response, but He also made it clear that if Jeremiah was willing to stay on track, God would make him like a wall that no one would be able to penetrate. The Creator of the Universe personally vowed to be Jeremiah’s protector even though Jeremiah had shown himself to be less than worthy. That is mercy. I find that God is more serious about sin than we are, but He uses it to express the depth of His mercy toward those who put their trust in Him.

Day 23: God’s House

John 2:12-17 : After this, he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they stayed there a few days. The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables. To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”

The Passover celebrates God’s delivery of Israel from Egyptian slavery. It is also a representation of the Lamb of God that would take away sin, because by the blood of a lamb, the houses of the Jews were passed over by the angel of death which took the lives of all of the first born children of Egypt.

It was required at that time for Jews to make sacrifices, so the animals were being sold in the temple. This obviously troubled Jesus enough to take extreme action. This is one of the notable acts of Jesus that was far from being “meek and mild.”

If the temple is full of marketing, how can a person get to see God? How horrible to think that anything would get in between God and man when man needs God so much.

God should be the main event of the temple. God does not allow competition for our attention. Yes, the Bible does say that God is jealous for our love. He is not jealous of you, but for you. This means he doesn’t want anything to compete with Him for your attention. God knows that there is nothing better for you than to keep your attention on Him. Most of us have had to learn this the hard way.

When the house of God has marketing going on inside of it, it distracts you from giving God the attention He deserves. Does this apply to our churches? I honestly don’t think the Bible is saying that at all. The temple is where God’s presence is. The temple is not your church building. If you are a believer in Jesus, the temple is your body:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 : Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

What would it mean to have our temple become a market place? Perhaps it is when we allow things in this world to fill our minds instead of God. Perhaps it is when we don’t present ourselves as those who have God in ourselves. Here are some questions to ponder: “What about you is more amazing than the fact that God lives in you? When people come to visit you, what do they come to see?” God really is more amazing that anything else and being one that has God living inside is to be one whose most important quality is God’s presence. The church building is not the temple, but we are as believers, and we should encourage each other to keep ourselves true to God and not allow the world to corrupt us.