Jeremiah 7:16-8:3 – Who is in Control?

Read Jeremiah 7:16-8:3

white horse bowing down

God chose Jeremiah to bring all these messages to the people in the temple where he knew they would be gathered. Yet God seems to doubt anything will change. “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond.” Jeremiah was given fair warning about what sort of reception he’d receive.

From God’s lament here, it would appear the people “think” they are in control. After all, they can choose the way they live and pay attention to idols instead of God. We might fall into this same trap thinking we are “in control” of our lives. We, too, are able to make our own decisions in life. What happens when we make bad choices?

After being controlled by my first husband for years, it took me a while to even dare “spread my wings” once the torment was behind me. Then I went through the stage of being a “control freak” wanting everything to be my way. Thankfully, I have realized the folly of this approach and trust God’s plan and control of my life now.

As I look at how the Israelites were snubbing God, it seems ridiculous they were trying to call the shots. This was nothing new, they had never been good at listening to God. Enough is enough, God is ready to teach them their lesson.

All these years later, you’d think we would have learned from the Israelites’ mistakes. “Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.” For us, Jesus came and embodied the truth. Why is it that people continue to look elsewhere? People even talk about having their “own” truth. We all have the same truth. Jesus. Has Jesus vanished? I don’t think so.

God’s people thought they were in control when they found all sorts of things to fill up their lives. They did unthinkable things. “They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” What would possess them to kill their own children?

The final word lies with God. After all, everything belongs to him. God will take back control of his rebellious children. “The land will lie in complete desolation.” The people will find they have no choice but to relinquish control. The lies of the evil one will be revealed.

The deception is alive and well even today. People may feel like they are “safe” because of Jesus, but then turn around and act in very non-Christ-like ways. I don’t think we should use our religious faith as a “hiding place” to cover up our own sinfulness. God sees our heart. He knows our allegiance.

When everything around us feels out of control, we can allow God’s word to prove to us that God has been, is, and will be sovereign over our lives and world. He is our peace and comfort. Think on these verses today:

Psalm 73:26: “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”

Deuteronomy 31:8: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray … Lord, you are in control of all that is and for that I am grateful. Your faithfulness endures forever. Forgive me for those times that I lay my problems down at your feet and then take them back to work on them myself. Give me the patience to wait on your perfect timing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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