Day 67: How Long Will This Go On?

Jeremiah 13:21-27

What will you say, when he sets over you as head those whom you have yourself taught to be friends to you?
Won’t sorrows take hold of you, as of a woman in travail?
If you say in your heart,
“Why have these things come on me?”
Your skirts are uncovered because of the greatness of your iniquity,
and your heels suffer violence.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin,
or the leopard his spots?
Then may you also do good,
who are accustomed to do evil.

“Therefore I will scatter them,
as the stubble that passes away,
by the wind of the wilderness.
This is your lot,
the portion measured to you from me,” says Yahweh,
“because you have forgotten me,
and trusted in falsehood.”
Therefore I will also uncover your skirts on your face,
and your shame will appear.
I have seen your abominations, even your adulteries,
and your neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution,
on the hills in the field.
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
You will not be made clean.
How long will it yet be?”

In Old English, there’s a specific word for patience that is used. It’s the word “longsuffering.” That’s probably a better word to use for the kind of patience that God expects of us in this world. I believe that’s what we see God portraying for us in these words.

Israel and Judah had been sinning and sinning for generations. God is outside of time and that’s something that we really don’t quite understand, but I believe He frames Himself for us as One who is in time so that we can understand Him more. In other words, we can understand how God feels a bit better by considering what it would be like for Him to be in time like us, waiting for Israel to quit sinning!

God is both angry and sorrowful as He waits for Israel to change. What God communicates to us is that He knows that they aren’t going to change because it’s in their nature now just like the spots on a leopard. In His righteous wrath, God is going to expose their shame.

It isn’t our place to have wrath against sinners, but it is our place to have longsuffering as we wait for them to either change or be punished by God Himself. In a sense, God wants us to be satisfied and joyful, but in another sense, God wants us to be unsatisfied and sorrowful. Is God being joyful and satisfied in this passage? God is not satisfied with His people living in sin and He’s not happy about it either! There is a time to be sorrowful and Jeremiah was experiencing that. We may have to experience it too as we wait, with God, for a final resolution.

Day 31: Why We Should Listen to Jesus

John 3:31-36 : “He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Here we read more of John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus. This is still in response to those who were saying that Jesus was getting more disciples than John. John says that whatever Jesus says is more important than anything anyone else would say. He explains that this is because Jesus is the only one who came from Heaven and can talk about heavenly things based on his first-hand experience.

John was a major prophet. Here John is saying that no one other than Jesus can come close to His importance. This is important to consider because some people try to compare Jesus to men. Once again, Christianity spoken of here as an exclusive religion. It doesn’t allow anyone to be on the same level as Jesus. He is God’s only Son.

John also mentioned that no one was accepting His message. He explained that God gave Jesus a limitless supply of the Holy Spirit and that He had put “all things” in His hands. This is an extreme situation. Jesus deserves to be treated as the most important person ever to come to earth, but men are not even listening to Him at all. Perhaps it will comfort you that Jesus went through this and felt what it was like to not be treated as He really deserved.

Then John repeats Jesus’ message that anyone who believes on Jesus has everlasting life but anyone who doesn’t will not only not get life, he will get God’s wrath instead. These wonderful and fearful words are repeated in John in the following references: John 3:16; 3:18; 5:24. There is life to those who believe and wrath for those who don’t. It is easy to see why this message was repeated. Hell is no place for anyone but that is exactly where the Bible says we will be going if we don’t believe in Jesus. It is important that everyone hears these words and understands that it is Jesus who says them and He was like no other person who ever came to this world.