Friday, June 8, 2012

Jeremiah 15-49

1. Jeremiah 23:23-24
"Am I a God near at hand," says the Lord,
"And not a God afar off?
Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?" says the Lord;
"Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the Lord.

2. Jeremiah 29:7
And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.

3. Jeremiah 29: 11-13
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
NKJV; emphasis mine.

1. Sometimes i do feel almost overwhelmed by the fullness of God. It's rare, because i'm busy and cynical, but there have been moments when the beauty and grandeur and power and presence of God were so overwhelming that i have been brought to tears. There are moments when it seems that there is almost too much God to worship, and i understand why it is that to know God is to fear Him. I understand why we call Him awesome.

2. Jeremiah was written to a people in exile. They had been captured by the Babylonians, and were being held in captivity (again). Yet God tells His people to pray for peace in the city where they were slaves. It's an important message for two reasons: first, focusing your attention outward instead of inward is a good way to distract yourself from your own problems. Sometimes too much inward-looking produces nothing but further anxiety. Second, it's hard to find peace when your environment is chaotic. Praying for peaceful surroundings will make it easier for the Israelites to be at peace within themselves.

3. Those of us who have spent much time in churches (especially youth groups around graduation) have heard some version of Jeremiah 29:11 approximately 43,974,234,544 times. And it is a good one, but it gets trite after a while. I was struck, however, by reading it in context, mostly because the bolded line reminded me of a C. S. Lewis line in The Last Battle. It also reminds me of Matthew 7:7-8, which is also one of the two passages i have chosen to pretty much sum up my theology (not the ice cream one).

Here's what Jeremiah, Jesus, and C. S. Lewis all say to me: those who seek God (truth, goodness, peace, love, redemption, healing, etc.) will find Him. He doesn't play games. Neither does He force Himself upon us. All we have to do is ask, but He does wait to be asked. I often find myself asking several times a day, not because He has moved away, but because i have. I'm fickle and impulsive that way. But He is always there for the asking.

I was once annoyed by some boy who was flirting with me. While i liked him and wanted to flirt back, i wanted to do it on my terms, not his. I was telling a friend of mine about how this boy was trying to get me to meet him somewhere, and i said indignantly, "I am not his beck-and-call girl!"

God has much less pride than i do. He is my beck-and-call girl.

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