Day 76: When God Denies Us of Something Good

Jeremiah 16:1-4

Then Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, “You shall not take a wife, neither shall you have sons or daughters, in this place.” For Yahweh says concerning the sons and concerning the daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them, and concerning their fathers who became their father in this land: “They will die grievous deaths. They will not be lamented, neither will they be buried. They will be as dung on the surface of the ground. They will be consumed by the sword and by famine. Their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and for the animals of the earth.”

I would have to agree that this is not your typical devotional passage, but we are committed to hear what God says to us, and not just what makes us feel good. It probably didn’t feel too good to Jeremiah that he was not to get married or have children, but what God was doing was protecting him from the sorrow that the other Israelis were going to feel. Jeremiah had just prayed against them and God’s judgment was so severe that it mean that Jeremiah would do best to not have any relatives to worry about.

When I read this graphic description of death, I wondered why God would choose to have it written. I believe that God has allowed me to detect a couple of reasons. God knows that when we are told to do something that we have the tendency to ask: “Why?” Notice that Jeremiah doesn’t have to ask. God makes it clear why he shouldn’t marry and have children by describing what would happen to them. That makes it a lot easier for him to bring his desires into alignment with God’s and to understand that God is being merciful not restrictive. Another reason that comes to mind is that God may have wanted to impress upon Jeremiah the seriousness of the coming horror so that when he spoke to the people, it would be obvious to them that Jeremiah really knew something. By making Jeremiah more sober, it would give the people less excuse to not believe his words. This is another sign of God’s mercy and desire for the people to turn from their sin before it is too late.

This passage may not be comforting when you read about the horrible deaths of children, but God’s desire to warn His people through Jeremiah is a sign of His deep desire to give mercy. That is a comforting thing because you and I have accepted His mercy. We can also rest assured that when God denies us of something that would He would normally allow, He has a good reason for it. He may be sparing us from very deep sorrow caused by the sins of those around us.

Day 21: Honor Your Mother

John 2:1-5 : And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

This is a very interesting exchange. Jesus and His disciples have been invited to a wedding, and for some reason, there wasn’t any wine. I’m pretty sure that Mary knew that Jesus didn’t have any jugs of wine available when she asked Him to do something about it. It appears that she was asking Him to do something miraculous at the wedding.

Jesus knew that now was not the time for Him to do what she was asking. I don’t really know what it was that she was asking, but Jesus knew. I believe that Mary may have been acting out of line with what God wanted at that time. In a sense, she was not believing in God’s timing. Jesus did, however, honor His earthly mother even though her actions may have been unbelieving ones. This gives us an example of how to give honor and respect to those who we owe honor and respect to, even when they are not believing. We should honor them, but we are to always do what God wants us to do. In this case, Jesus figures out a way to quietly obey His earthly mother. It isn’t clear to me what Mary was asking. Perhaps Mary was expecting her son to get popular starting at that time. Maybe she thought it would be good advertising for the new Rabbi, whatever it was, Jesus knew that He couldn’t actually do it now.

I have found this to be a problem for me in many of my relationships with those who are not being faithful yet have some kind of authority over me. Sometimes, I am not able to reconcile the two and am forced to go with God alone. These times are difficult, but they prove whose side we are on; God’s or man’s.

It is important for us to remember that it is our spiritual family that is the most important:

Matthew 12:46-50 : While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Now Jesus may have still gone out after saying this to talk with his birth mother and brothers. The story isn’t clear at that point, but the message here is clear. The family of God is more important than our earthly families. It isn’t that we have permission to not care for our earthly families, it is just that we must do what God has told us to do first and one of those things is to take care of our earthly family’s needs and not merely their desires that conflict with the will of God. We also should respect those that God has put in authority as much as we are able under God.

Day 8: Rejected

John 1:11 : He came to his own, and those who were his own didn’t receive him.

Jesus was a Jew. His parents were very careful to make sure that they practiced the things that God wanted them to in regard to their special Son. Jesus was sent to save his Jewish people, but they refused him as their national Savior. Obviously, many Jewish Christians believed individually and were saved, but as a nation, He was rejected.

This is not to say that any other nation was eager to see Him come either as I mentioned earlier. The light of Jesus shows how much we love living in the dark and aren’t naturally willing to have anyone be God over us.

The fact that Jesus was rejected really bothered Him; He cried about it. I think that it hurt Him and He knew that what was going to happen to them after this would be terrible. You can read about this in Luke 19:41-44

People who reject Jesus today will find themselves individually in a bad position later just like the Jews were going to be in as a nation. This is a great example for us today and how important it is that we influence and pray for those around us so that they will not reject Him.

One of the most difficult things to face in life is the rejection of your own people. This happens to many people who become Christians. A wonderful thing is that we have a new family in Christ that will last forever. As believers in Jesus we have the ability to love each other in a way that we couldn’t in our own natural families. This makes our new family better than our natural one.