Oh what a scene we see before us today in Jeremiah! Faithful Jeremiah proclaims the word of God to Judah and lays a choice before them, repent and live or continue in stubbornness and reap the consequences. In my experience, hard words tend to have one of two effects on me – either in humility I receive them and weigh them against my heart or alternatively I harden my heart further, dig in my heels and reject any notion that I need to change. To Judah’s peril the ‘priests and prophets’ pursue the latter path, seizing Jeremiah and proclaiming ‘You shall die!’
For me this passage shows draws out two things.
- The contrasting responses of God’s ‘people’. The ‘officials of Judah’ and ‘all the people‘ (v8) are incensed and demand Jeremiah’s death when challenged about their sin, however ‘some of the elders’ and ‘all the people’ (v16) then defend Jeremiah as he is dragged before the assembly. It appears ‘all the people‘ flip flop in response to winsome arguments? Perhaps each crowd was comprised of different people? At any rate, we do see two kinds of responses to Jeremiah’s words.
- The faithfulness of Jeremiah to the word of God – even at the likely cost of his own life ‘…behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you…’ (vs 14). Jeremiah does not sway and repeats his call to ‘.. reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God’
In dealing with this passage I am reminded again of the need for humble and continual repentance – especially when challenged about my sin – and also of the need to hold fast to the word of God, no matter the consequences. Furthermore, perhaps like the Berean’s I should diligently search the scriptures for myself for truth rather than being swayed easily by winsome arguments (Acts 17:11)
In our reading from Romans, Paul exhorts believers to live under grace – not as slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness. He contrasts the benefits of being ‘slaves to God’ (v22)… resulting in holiness and eternal life …compared with being slaves of sin…resulting in death. The chapter concludes with a verse well worth memorizing
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thank you Jesus for releasing us from the wages of sin and giving the gift of eternal life through your death on the cross! May our lives reflect your glory!
[Originally posted on 26/10/2015 by stevebowdz]