I like the meme that lists all the sins I haven’t committed yet today, adding “now it’s time to get out of bed!” We sin all the time. And, we’re probably even oblivious to much of our sinfulness, but God sees. Today’s text convicts us to be mindful of our sinning, especially if we’re continuing to sin in the same way over and over. It doesn’t matter the reason or purpose we’ve created to minimize the guilt, we are to avoid deliberate sin. Period!
These would be the sins we do on purpose or do even though we know they are sinful. When is the last time you did a deep dive into your own faith life and uncovered some sins that might have soon become “deliberate”? Maybe you’ll find some deep dark sin tucked away, but you’re unable to give it up. Examples that come to mind are addicts and atheists. Whether you’re doing things that distract you from God or you’re not living to honor God, you are sinning.
We see five individual prophecies of doom in today’s reading. Each recipient of God’s wrath has a little different story, but what they share in common is proximity to Israel and Judah. Why do you think we need to see how God is going to deal with other nations?
It’s helpful to know God is fighting for those he loves. Sometimes it means he has to take control of those around us who are causing us harm or poised to do so. We don’t have to seek revenge. God does the heavy lifting for us. Here’s a little of what I took note of in my reflection of the text and research of who these nations were.
“Watch out, Jeremiah! They are out to get you. And your bitterness is not far behind!” Jeremiah has every right to be emotional about this. His life has turned upside down since God chose him to bring the message of doom to his people. Jeremiah chose obedience to God and did not turn his back like so many. His faithfulness was seen by God.
Now we see the “ugly” side of being a prophet. I might even extend that “ugliness” to any of us who have served God in ministry. From my firsthand experience in that area, I’d have to say the blessings are so much in excess of anything “ugly.” That’s probably Jeremiah’s experience, too, until now when his audience is plotting against him.
Samson was a little like a loose cannon, don’t you think? He had gone home to cool down after the wedding fiasco, but it appears he thought he was still married. Imagine his surprise when he found out his wife was no longer his wife. That surprise sparked more destruction of Philistine property. Samson said, “This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.”
Samson truly believed that he had proper justification to sacrifice those foxes and burn down the grain fields, the vineyards, and olive groves. All over a woman! His pride had been damaged after all. He needed to show who was in control. That did not end well for his wife or her father.
What is your first reaction when someone brings harm to you or someone you know? Is it getting even? What should we think when we read in the Bible where it says “an eye for an eye”? What’s that all about?
Paul is clear here in this verse. We should not repay evil with evil. I remember being picked on as a child. Hurtful words are certainly evil in my book. It was so tempting to lash back with more of the same, but I didn’t have the courage. Looking back, it seems my fear actually kept me from sinning in return.