Jeremiah 45-46: Baruch is Jeremiah’s longtime scribe who has written down all the struggles and judgments. Now, Baruch is discouraged because of this arduous task. He’s worn out from the effort. God’s message to Baruch was about faith in the midst of judgment. Baruch discouragement was because the realities of judgment conflicted with his personal desire of greatness. God’s message directly to Baruch was not to seek great things for himself. This leads into Ch. 46 where Egypt is the first nation receiving judgment. Reading through this we are reminded of the things truly important to God…(1) God’s love is for all people and he is most focused on relationship with his children; (2) there is no delight in judgment by God – salvation is God’s primary motivation; (3) Tolerating sin is not in God’s character because he is holy; (4) justice and fairness is the standard in God’s impartial nature.
Proverbs 6: Consistency is the hallmark of the God we worship…consistency in the way he loves us and, consistency in the things he hates…haughty or prideful eyes; a lying tongue; hands that kill the innocent; a heart that plots evil; eagerness to do wrong; liars; one who is intent on discord among friends and/or family. Included in the chapter are issues of laziness and not listening to parents and lust. These are the things to avoid as they are the things that strain any relationship, let alone a relationship with the God who was made real in Jesus.
Revelation 19: What an opening to this chapter…Hallelujah!!! Compared with the past few chapters in Revelation, we now see heaven’s perspective – a perspective that is the polar opposite of the Babylon imagery. The chapter brings us new hope – hope in the sure and certain return of Jesus – the one who came to serve and save will soon fulfill the promise to those who not just believe in him…but, trust in him. Gone is the gloom and doom…you can almost see the tears. From darkness we are presented with brilliant light!!.
Reflection: There are many struggles today as we all know. The hate, anger and violence seem to overwhelm us. On the other side of the coin are those who live in a fantasy world of never wanting to deal with the realities of life itself. I think our overall message today comes across in all of our readings but, maybe as a focal point I will submit to you the message of contemporary significance found in Jeremiah. I know many who want to blame God for the troubles of our world. I know many who look up to heaven and shake their fist and ask why God doesn’t do something to change the course of history. God’s message to Baruch was simple…stop being selfish! Baruch had taken his eyes off of God and was thinking of the rewards he thought he deserved. When we are more focused on the things we want – code for taking our eyes off of the God of all creation and how he is still moving and acting within his creation, the more frustrated we will be.
I thought about this today as I was voting. Tari and I decided to vote early today and a little exercise with a nearly 4 mile walk. As I looked at the election ballot, my first thoughts were about how something has to change in this messed up state we live in (and our country as well). Then…a certain calm came over me and I thought to myself how God may be working and moving in and among the people on this ballot. Then I realized…you know Dale, God will work in and through how you and the millions vote. And so, I cast my votes.
Stay focused my friends on the ultimate prize – the Hallelujah we will one day shout out as we stand with the one who has won the battle – Jesus. In the meantime, try to focus and look for God’s purposes…keep your eyes on him – it’s the only REAL vote!!