Monday, May 23, 2011


Last week's devo session involved the book of Jeremiah and Lamentations, a sketchbook, some Bonhoeffer, and a dog at my feet.

Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
- Lamentations 3: 39-40
Well yes, it's "Lamentations."  Written at a time before the Cross proclaimed a grace that covered sins, the verses the follow express a ripping sorrow and frustration of feeling abandoned.

Still- it's the Word, and the Word is True, and the Word is full of power.  God is just, and He is righteous in His judgments.  Although the prophecy of disaster and its fulfillment covers much of the Old Testament, it is easy to forget that, in the first place, God had always given His people options.  The torment we read of is, in fact, consequence for the choices the people have made.

In Jeremiah 42, the people asked Jeremiah to pray and ask God what they should do... saying, "whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the LORD our God," (Jer 42.3-6)  And so Jeremiah sought the LORD, and told them plainly what the LORD had said, holding nothing back (v 4)... It held both promises for obeying and consequences for disobedience.
‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down...
- Jeremiah 42. 10-12
‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, then the sword you fear will overtake you there...'
- Jeremiah 42. 15-16
The people would not accept this word... because it isn't what they wanted to hear.

And what I am about to say does not apply to all things.  But in reality:
There are times when God tells us to listen to Him, because if we don't, we'll suffer the consequences.
So we fight God, because what He asks can sound insensible, contrary, difficult - anything synonymous with "things we don't want to do."
And we choose otherwise.
Not surprisingly, we taste the consequences.  But as Jeremiah was alluding to, can we really say it's God's fault?  Where were our hearts in the first place?

Surely we cannot apply this to every painful experience we've had, dubbing our problems as "this is God punishing me."  No, we must realize that we do live in a fallen world; we are still in battle against darkness. And adding to that, we do live in a time of abundant grace. Truly,
You can step outside of the will of God, but you can never step outside of His promises.

I know this firsthand.  There are countless times when I haven't listened to the voice of God, downright avoided His voice sometimes.  And the path I chose was difficult to maneuver.  But it did not negate the promises that He's spoken, because He never breaks His promises:
Do not fear, for I am with you... I will strengthen you and help you (Isaiah 41.10)
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. (John 14.27)
In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world! (John 16.33)
I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him (Isaiah 57.18)

For He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help... (Ps. 72.12)
The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3.17)
Yes, God gives us options, and in this walk of faith, there are times when we miss His voice.  But the wonder of grace is the endless chances He gives, and the unconditional love that accompanies His call to follow Him.  Oh yes, we must examine our hearts to find whether or not we are centered on listening to and obeying His will, rather than seeking His approval and rejecting His "opinions."  But in seeking Him, we will also find that He takes great delight in His beloved, knowing full well that regardless of her fall, if she so chooses, she can grip onto His promises and find herself back on the path He first ordained.


currently reading: The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
currently listening: IHOP-KC prayer room (Worship in the Word sets)
currently watching: Finding Nemo.  really.


  1. Won't ever forget this post as it speaks so deeply to me. Thank you Karen. God bless u always..