Jeremiah 3:6-10 – Who Else Is Guilty?

Read Jeremiah 3:6-10

fancy wooden gavel and sound block

There might be some hidden gems in today’s reading, or at the very least a skillful use of human analogies. We see that Jeremiah is recalling a conversation with God and confirms it was during the reign of King Josiah. God was lamenting that both Israel and Judah had left him for other gods.

Did you find it interesting, too, that God used the word “adultery” to describe what Israel and Judah were doing? That’s just one of those “human analogies” used as a way of helping the people understand the significance of betrayal with a recognizable situation. There will be a price for this disloyalty.

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Philippians 1:12-19 – God Can Use It All

Read Philippians 1:12-19

Holy Spirit stained glass in circle shape

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one that doesn’t have it all together? I know lots of women who confess on social media they are simply a “hot mess” struggling to pull it all together to be a positive influence on their families and in the workplace. Why do we all feel it necessary to put on a good show for the rest of the world? Isn’t it better to just be ourselves, comfortable in our own skin, thankful for what God has provided?

One of my favorite sayings we used often in our Celebrate Recovery ministry over the years was, “God never wastes a hurt.” Think about that one for a moment. God can use everything we experience and make something good out of it. Paul is alluding to this in this passage when he gives credit to how his less than desirable circumstances have helped him spread the Good News!

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1 Corinthians 10:1-22 – Being Tempted

Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-22

direction signs that say "over here" and "no this way"

There is a lot going on in this reading, and we’ll reflect on a couple things I have missed before. What was it that spoke to you today? It’s cool that the Holy Spirit will reveal new insights to God’s word each time when we allow him to speak to our hearts and minds. Sometimes we need to slow down so we can listen for what the Spirit is prompting us to hear.

Did you notice how Paul uses the story of the Israelites in the wilderness to help illustrate the whole food issue he’s been talking about? Keep in mind that the majority of his audience would be Gentiles, so using “our ancestors” is a nice way of bringing them into a story they were not originally part of.

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Judges 10:1-5 – A Reboot

Read Judges 10:1-5

a pocket watch nestled in white flowers on the sand

I wasn’t sure what to make with the reading today. The rules of our judges, Tola and Jair, comprise a total of 45 years. We don’t see any big conquests or bloodshed. Personally, that’s a bit of a relief for me.

We also don’t see the familiar “cycle” called out of (1) Israel’s rebellion and turning away from God, followed by (2) oppression from a foreign power, followed by (3) crying out to God for help, and (4) God raising up a judge to rescue his people. After the fiasco with Abimelech, it’s almost as if we see a “reboot” going on. God was giving the people a bit of a reprieve by having back-to-back judges to keep the peace for this period of time.

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Psalm 123 – Have Mercy

Read Psalm 123

I lift my eyes to you Lord.

We need our focus to be on God and everything else will fall into place. We need to cry out for mercy, and it will be given to us.

When I imagine true attention on God, I picture our dogs during training exercises. Those sweet little faces looking up at me, wanting to please and obey. They are so eager for the treat that awaits them as an reward for the appropriate response. There is almost a pleading in their expression.

How does it look when we look to God? Are we smiling with thanksgiving? Are we scowling with anger? Are we laughing with joy? Are we pleading for forgiveness? Are we expectantly waiting for direction?

We are probably all waiting for answered prayer of some kind or another. Maybe it’s for restored relationships, for healing from sickness, for clarity on a job change, for rescue from a dangerous situation, for peace, for financial security. We are all in the waiting boat. Where are our eyes while we wait?

Don’t you love how God’s word is always fresh? We may have read this same psalm a billion times, but each time there is something new, something fresh that is revealed. That’s why Bible studies with others can be so beneficial. We all see the same passage through different eyes, coming from different backgrounds with perhaps differing perspectives. We can learn so much from each other and how God is revealing himself to them.

So where are your eyes focused today? Do you want to do something about it? For me, I’m going to work harder at keeping my focus on God and not on the struggles or frustrations of the day.

Let’s pray. Lord, I cry out to you with thanksgiving for giving me life and breath. May I serve you and bless you with my words and actions today. Help me keep my focus on you. Help me shut out distractions. Use me to touch lives today. Have mercy on me and my household. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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