I've been reading the OT Book of Jeremiah today. Its a fantastic one. :). Anyway, I thought I'd post a little of what I'm getting out of it. <3. Also, I thought of a cool band name: Play the Harlot. haha. yeah.
This book is mainly about the Nation of Israel and it's "spiritual adultery"(Jeremiah 5:17).
Throughout the Book, Jeremiah prophesies many things to the nation of Israel, and in turn he is ignored and/or persecuted by his fellow countrymen. Even in his home town he is persecuted, and he even pleads with God to punish them.
So far I've only read to the 14th Chapter out of about 52, but here's a few points that have definately jumped out at me:
"Shall I not punish them for these things [that is, the nation's many sins]?," says the Lord, "Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?"
This is one one verse that really worries me. God doesn't just say He's only judging Israel; He's saying He will judge any nation that gets to that point. The Bible says that Israel was a people who confessed God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him...sound familiar? To me, our nation is following right in Israel's footsteps. I think that too often, we as Americans read the Bible and see ourselves as Israel in it's golden years. But i think we need to take a step back, and get a closer look. We're not as genuine as we think we are. We are caught up in ourselves. How of us who consider ourselves Christians actually feed the poor, clothe the naked, and visit the imprisoned???
"31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
We don't hear alot of preachers out there preach about this, and my only guess to why, is because they themselves don't seek to do this. You see, this sort of thing is against our human nature- the very one that is supposed to be "crucified with Christ." However, through little slips such as this (which really aren't little at all, considering that according to Jesus, if you don't do those things, then you won't inherit eternal salvation....which means the only thing left is eternal damnation.....)
I guess this is part of what the Apostle Paul called being a "living Sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God." Its not easy being a sacrifice, because you're on fire! We want to so bad to be "on fire for God", butwe don't realize just what that means. When you're on fire, then you're dying. The reason that you're burning is so that God can "melt" away our sins, and refine our hearts. Trust me, that could NEVER be pleasant. But also, Jesus never said we would have it easy.