Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 10/13/09

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Jeremiah 29:11

To have lived amidst the trials and the tribulations of the prophet Jeremiah, those dark, mournful days of struggle and adversity where his life was held in such contempt, the hands of his enemies forever seeming to be raised against him in the challenges that we before him. He would cry out as the grim and somber reminders of his life given to the great battles for his faith were all around him. It would almost seem as they were ready to swallow him whole as they overshadowed him. You could hear the sorrow in his voice as he wondered about his every existence, feeling the gloom and the despair almost overtake him, leaving him with nothing more than the shattered frame of a broken spirit and a crushed soul.

It was wickedness and iniquity that he saw all around him as men turned from God’s law, from God’s path to pursue their own selfish ambition and self righteousness. They worshipped at the feet of idols that we blind to the evil that they could do and that we deaf to the cries of those whom they afflicted. They gave their lives over to their own lusts and desires that would burn inside of them and bring pain to whomever they touched, destroying whatever they set themselves upon. Their fall may have been complete yet they seemed as if their strength was unmatched as they lifted themselves up above all else in creation.

To be called amidst these days wore at Jeremiah, as he felt the life and the energy drain from him. His heart was wounded by the hurt that could be inflicted by one man against another and on the Lord their God as the people turned so quickly from Him. His life was taken into his own hands as people of power and wealth, influence and authority rose up against him. They sought his death, his demise, as they plotted and schemed against this servant of God and the call to righteousness that escaped from his lips to their ears. There was nothing but pain and agony, hurt and sorrow in this world, in this temporal existence for Jeremiah.

Yet, from the Lord, the same God who knew him whilst he was still in the womb, and laid out His grand design and plan for him (Jeremiah 1:5) there would come a promise. Looking to the life and the struggles that were before Him God would not turn His eyes from him. He would not, like the idols of this world, look upon him with eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear and lips that could not speak. He would know the plight and the struggle, the trial and the turmoil that was before him and He would give His Spirit unto Him, standing beside him, walking beside him all of the days of his life with a compassion and a mercy, a love and a peace that would transcend all human understanding, all worldly wisdom and knowledge.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

The world that Jeremiah knew is not that different from the world that we know. We look around us and we see evil on the rise, we see wickedness on the march and we know that there are men of brutal iniquity seeking to set the world ablaze. They bow before the gods and the idols that they create in their own image that somehow make their hatred and their contempt for their fellow man alright as they bind them in the dark chains of bitter slavery and captivity. They rob the innocence from our children, and the life from our people with no thought or consideration beyond their own self righteousness and selfish ambition as they bring nothing more than hurt and pain with their steps.

And like Jeremiah, we are called to do more than just watch, we are called to do more than just look upon their acts and their actions, then turn from it, no longer to see or to hear what it is that is actually going on. We are called to do more than just pretend as if whatever it is, whatever it may be, it’s all just alright as suffering and oppression are used as weapons of brutality. Whatever the risk, whatever the challenge, regardless of the trials that may be faced, we are called to do more than just sit back from places of safety and comfort as such great evil is done in this world.

In faith and by faith we are called to be the messengers of God, to proclaim His word and His commands, to proclaim His love and His direction. Ours is to be advocates for the freedom and the liberty that He declares through His Word and His grace. Never ignoring the plight and the struggle of those held in the dark and hidden places of captivity ours is a calling to be the voice of those whose cries are muffled by the bleak and sorrowful places where they are kept. Ours must be to announce the justice and the judgment of the Lord, telling those that take prisoners and hostages, captives and slaves that their way is not His way and their will is not His will, that their self righteousness shall be met with the righteousness of the Lord and it shall find that theirs shall not stand.

Perhaps it is a struggle that is hard at times as we find that it seems like our words fall on deaf ears, or that the challenges still seem like they are before us. Yet we can always take confidence, we can always have trust in the knowledge that God is ever devoted and ever vigilant, contending forever with the cause of His people. He never fails them or forsakes them, He never abandons them or leaves them to the paw of the loin or the mouth of the wolf, to be devoured by this world. In His mercy He is there for them, giving them His Spirit and sheltering them with His wings.

Draw comfort and peace in that knowledge even as the days of struggle and turmoil trial and hardship are before you, knowing that just as He spoke unto Jeremiah so too does He speak unto us, telling unto His people “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” It is then that we know that we have lived according to the calling of the Lord and the design that He has for our lives even amidst the greatest of struggles for the cause of His people. It is then that we know that we have, through the power of His Spirit, shown the strength that He has given unto us for the deeper service we are to offer unto our fellow man in the greatest of challenges that threaten to crush their spirit and their soul.

Regardless of the trials and the turmoil, regardless of how hard the days may seem, draw comfort from that assurance, knowing there shall come a day when God’s justice shall come to bear and the victory shall be claimed by His Holy and righteous hand regardless of the power those wicked men of brutal iniquity may seem to hold in their hands. God shall be the ultimate authority, and we the vessels, and the instrument of His word and His will in this world through all of the days of our life.

Live therefore in that service, in that love, taking your comfort in the Lord, knowing that He shall guide even the most lost of souls, even the most captive of spirits to the blessed air of freedom through His divine precepts and wondrous blessings, of which this world has no strength or supremacy over.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end, Amen.

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