Our theme for this month: “Mistakes”
Our Bible verse for today: “Your way of life and your actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. It is very bitter because it has reached your heart.” Jeremiah 4:18 (HCSB)
Our thought for today: “Much of our suffering is our own fault.”
The southern kingdom of Judah had strayed far from the commands of the Lord. God had repeatedly sent prophets to correct them, to convict them, and to call them back to righteous living. But the people rejected the messages and continued in their evil ways. Finally God had had enough. Through the prophet Jeremiah he pronounced judgment and punishment, and in Jeremiah 4:18 He made it clear that the people had brought it all upon themselves by the way they had chosen to live. In 5:21 He even said that the people have been foolish and senseless – that they have eyes but have refused to see, they have ears but they have refused to hear. And so, they suffered.
For the most part the life each of us has today is a result of the choices we have made in the weeks, months, and years past. The choices we make on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis all combine and add up to the situation we find ourselves in today. Oh sure, sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control, and sometimes we are impacted by the poor choices of others, but for the most part our current situation is largely the result of our own past choices, good and bad.
Likewise, our future will be determined largely by the choices we make today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Make good choices and you’ll probably have a good future. Make bad choices and, well, you know.
God’s purpose for sending His messengers to the people was to alert them to the bad choices they were making and to get them back on the right path so they could then live lives that were blessed by Him. As they repeatedly disobeyed Him things continued to get worse and worse for them. But that didn’t seem to make a difference. They continued in their destructive ways anyway. So finally God sent Jeremiah to announce that severe punishment was about to come upon them. But again, God’s purpose was just to move them back into the center of His will. Once that happened the punishment would stop, the blessings would once again commence, and their lives would be so much better, so much happier.
Can I get an “Amen!”? Isn’t this our own story and the story of so many we know and love? How many people do we all know whose lives are a train wreck and will continue to be unless they change their ways? And how many of those people know it and hate it, and yet refuse to change? Just like the people Jeremiah was preaching too, their situation was entirely of their own making, they hated what was happening to them, and yet they persisted in their disobedience to God. So, they continued to suffer.
Much of what we suffer from in life we bring on ourselves through our own poor choices. The good news is that God will continue to send messengers into our lives to correct us, to convict us, and to help us – if we will only have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that is willing and ready to repent. The future can be better than the past, but it will require change on our parts.