Last night Confirmation and Youth Group were filled with sugar highs and the kids basically bouncing off the walls. The Halloween candy plus the soda vending machines proved to be a dangerous combination. I spent far more time saying “Guys, listen!” than I would have liked.
But the kids were squirrelly. They paced all night, talked out of turn, and were just in rare form. And that was just confirmation! Come Youth Group we hoped to calm them down by doing team relay races–use that energy for team building and athleticism! Amiright?
Well, it settled them down enough to get through our awesome testimony and then they were right back to being squirrelly during small group.
Now, what in the world do my energetic and attention lacking teens have to do with today’s readings?
My teens are acting like the Israeli people. God is sending prophets, His word, and even His presence to the Jewish people and they ignore Him. These people do what they want because they are lacking foresight and don’t fully understand that God wants to protect them and love them–much like my kids think I’m just talking to talk sometimes.
In the Jeremiah passage we see God speaking through Jeremiah and telling the people that He has repeatedly ask the people to not do something (go to Egypt, burn incense, worship false gods) and they do not listen. So, God let’s the consequences of their actions fall. He tells them “Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah form Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand–mine or theirs.” (Jeremiah 44:28).
There is a reason the Word of the Lord stands. It’s because His word is life giving! In the Psalm we see David acknowledging this truth because he says a few times that the peace of the law is with him and he treasures them deeply. Why would he treasure them if he they weren’t life giving?
The final rock bottom of not listening to God comes in the Revelation passage. Babylon is doomed and destroyed.
Many of you understand the process of raising teens. You understand their defiance, their unwillingness to listen to advice that you know is good for them. You know that at the end of the day rules are set in place to protect them and not just so you can be a “fun sucker.”
The same goes with the law of the Lord. Yes, Jesus fulfilled the Law. We re given the free gift of Grace and Salvation. This is not a free pass though to just do as we please–what we think is “fun.” The rules of God are put in place to protect us!
How many times has gossip hurt you or someone you love in the long run? How many times has speaking slanderously about someone actually caused you to stew in that dislike and eventually feel bad about yourself? Who knows the pain of drinking too much? What about the agony of sexual sin?
Brothers and sisters, listen up!
It is not easy to follow the words of Christ. It is not easy to obey the rules that God has given us–and we will fail. It is in the process of trying, in understanding God’s reasoning behind His rules, that we become happier and happier with a joy that cannot be defeated by this world.
God created us. He knows our inmost beings. He knows what will hurt us–the same way we as adults know what will hurt those teens if they continue to act out in one way or another.
Today as you meditate on this I pray your heart is open to an area of your life that God wants you to work on with Him. I pray you listen to Him.
PS: Last night wasn’t all awful. Join me in a good laugh and take a look at one of our teens dressed up for Halloween–in my Trunk n Treat onesie. Oh boy.