Saturday, August 25, 2018

Jeremiah 17

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 17. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • Today’s chapter opens with descriptions of how the people of Israel continued to sin and because of that sin, God would bring destruction to them.
  • God then uses contrasting imagery of a “stunted shrub in the desert” versus “trees planted along a riverbank” (see verses 6-8) to describe the difference between those who trust in the Lord and those who trust in human beings and their own strength.
  • Jeremiah declares his trust in the Lord that those who abandoned God would be disgraced and asserts that his own faith is in God alone.
  • The passage ends with God instructing Jeremiah to instruct the people of Israel to obey His command to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the day of rest, but the people continued to work on this day. Instead of entering the city of Jerusalem to worship at the Temple (which was God’s church), they persisted in business transactions just like any other day. They considered making money more important than keeping God’s law.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Trusting in God creates fruitfulness. Even in times of trouble, those who trust in the Lord will have a deeply rooted strength that can withstand the pain and stress of life. Not only will someone have enough to sustain their own needs, but they will be able to assist the needs of others as well.
  • Keeping the Sabbath (the day of rest) a holy day is one of the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20:8-11). It was so important that God himself did no work on the seventh day of creation. And in Mark 2:27, Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." Keeping the Sabbath a day set apart intentionally for the Lord was to help the people remain focused on God.  

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • When you are facing suffering and strain in your life, where do you look for power and comfort? Do you look for ways to distract yourself from the pain? Do you ignore problems, hoping they will eventually go away on their own? God promises to bless those who trust in Him. Today, ask God to fortify your heart, to grant you strength to weather the storm and to trust that He will provide what you need to thrive.