Day 11: When God Turns Away from Man

Lamentations 3:1-9 :

I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of his wrath.
He has led me and caused me to walk in darkness,
and not in light.
Surely he turns his hand against me
again and again all day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin old.
He has broken my bones.
He has built against me,
and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in dark places,
as those who have been long dead.

He has walled me about, so that I can’t go out.
He has made my chain heavy.
Yes, when I cry, and call for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
He has walled up my ways with cut stone.
He has made my paths crooked.

This part of the Bible teaches us that it is important to consider what it is like when God is against you. It’s important that we not think of God as a big Santa Clause in the sky. God isn’t just there for us. We were made by Him and for Him. God is there for us in a sense that He loves us and wants to help us, but He isn’t a tool in our hands to be used for our own desire. Our will was intended to be subjected to His. When we consider the true nature of God, we must consider His wrath and anger because it is real. His wrath is what we get when we choose to make ourselves greater than He is.

There are several things that a man experiences when God turns against him that are represented in this passage. One is that they walk in darkness. I take that to mean that his life becomes hopeless in that he can’t see around him anymore. Another thing mentioned here is that he becomes unhealthy. God is always involved in the processes of our body that keep us well. He also mentions that God surrounds him with “bitterness and hardship.” He says that it’s like having a heavy chain on him. He mentions that God puts up walls in his path and makes his paths crooked. This reminds me to thank God when my day is going smoothly. It is God who holds the power to change our smooth days into difficult ones.

I think that the worst thing in this passage is that God no longer listens to prayer when a man is in this condition. This is a place that none of us should ever be in, but it’s good for us to consider what it is like. If a man chooses to ignore God and His mercy, all that is left is to suffer alone and without hope. God hasn’t provided a way for man to walk independently of Him and end up well. Those who choose to rebel against God, are choosing to not have their prayers answered and that very well may be the very worst part of going to Hell. In this life, hope is always in the back of our minds, but when God finally turns His back on you, all hope is gone.

Day 127: The Full End is Coming

Jeremiah 30:4-11

These are the words that Yahweh spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For Yahweh says:
“We have heard a voice of trembling;
a voice of fear, and not of peace.
Ask now, and see whether a man travails with child.
Why do I see every man with his hands on his waist, as a woman in travail,
and all faces are turned pale?
Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it!
It is even the time of Jacob’s trouble;
but he will be saved out of it.
It will come to pass in that day, says Yahweh of Armies, that I will break his yoke from off your neck,
and will burst your bonds.
Strangers will no more make them their bondservants;
but they will serve Yahweh their God,
and David their king,
whom I will raise up to them.
Therefore don’t be afraid, O Jacob my servant, says Yahweh.
Don’t be dismayed, Israel.
For, behold, I will save you from afar,
and save your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob will return,
and will be quiet and at ease.
No one will make him afraid.
For I am with you, says Yahweh, to save you;
for I will make a full end of all the nations where I have scattered you,
but I will not make a full end of you;
but I will correct you in measure,
and will in no way leave you unpunished.”

In this section, God makes it clear who He is going to permanently reject and it won’t be Israel. This is one of the most alarming things about those who claim to be Christians and teach that God is finished with Israel. God says the opposite, that those who say things like that are the ones He intends to destroy. Here it says: “I will make a full end of all the nations where I have scattered you.” Concerning Israel, God says: “but I will not make a full end of you.”

Does this mean that Israel is going to get away with their sin? Not at all! This future time is called: “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” It’s just that “he will be saved out of it” and his enemies will not be. They will be completely destroyed and there won’t be anyone left to “make him afraid.” It’s pretty obvious that this final end has not come yet, but it should scare us. Everything that the Bible has predicted has happened up to this point. This end is coming and people have a responsiblity to be ready.

Christians should not be acting as if they are better than the Jews. Here we see that those who do will be destroyed. This is not just “an Old Testament thing.” It’s amplified in the New Testament. This is what is written in the book of Romans:

Romans 11:16-21

If the first fruit is holy, so is the lump. If the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree, don’t boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Don’t be conceited, but fear; for if God didn’t spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

Day 78: Having It Their Own Way

Jeremiah 16:8-13

“You shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and to drink.” For Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says: “Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place, before your eyes and in your days, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. It will happen, when you tell this people all these words, and they ask you, ‘Why has Yahweh pronounced all this great evil against us?’ or ‘What is our iniquity? or ‘What is our sin that we have committed against Yahweh our God?’ then you shall tell them, ‘Because your fathers have forsaken me,’ says Yahweh, ‘and have walked after other gods, have served them, have worshiped them, have forsaken me, and have not kept my law. You have done evil more than your fathers, for behold, you each walk after the stubbornness of his evil heart, so that you don’t listen to me. Therefore I will cast you out of this land into the land that you have not known, neither you nor your fathers. There you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’

Here we read that Jeremiah was not only to avoid funerals, he wasn’t allowed to attend parties and weddings. Once again, God was using the physical behavior of His prophet to illustrate the reality of His words. Jeremiah was to tell them that this is because this generation of people would witness the end of parties and weddings in their culture.

God anticipated that the people would ask: “Why?” God tells them that it’s not only because their fathers worshiped gods, but that they have made it worse by walking after the stubbornness of their own evil hearts and refusing to listen. This shows us something about mankind. These people were stubbornly doing whatever they wanted to do against God while calling God: “Yahweh our God.” They thought that if they just called themselves people of God, then that is what they were. Isn’t that what we have today as well. People call themselves “Christians” even though they stubbornly refuse to obey what the Bible says about Christians. Instead they walk after their own evil hearts without listening.

When mankind is stubborn and refuses to listen to God’s way, He gives them over to their own. This is a very clear pattern in the Bible and it is emphasized in the New Testament. In this case, God was going to send Israel into captivity in Babylon and they were going to have their full of gods there, but the one true God was going to leave them. I want to make it clear that this is a general statement. We know from the book of Daniel that it wasn’t an exhaustive statement. There were at least four Israelis that refused to follow the Babylonian ways while in captivity and were protected by God.

This same thing is happening to cultures today. It appears to be happening to the United States even now. Here’s what it says in Romans one:

Romans 1:21-26

Because knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, and didn’t give thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves; who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature.

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.