What will help you hear? What will help you listen? Is it the words? Is it the body language? Is it the tone? Is it the environment?
Is the environment too loud? Can you hear me now?
Are my words unclear? Can you hear me now?
Does my body language confuse or distract you? Can you hear me now?
Is my tone off? Can you hear me now?
Well, maybe today is the day! Maybe today is the day that everything will align and the words will be heard! Maybe today everything will align in a way that you will be able to hear the message!
It takes two people to have a conversation! They have to be willing to speak and to listen otherwise they are just talking. Are you ready to hear? What if it is something that will change your life forever?
Consider Jeremiah’s words and how they can be relevant today. Consider how you would respond to such a situation. Consider how you would reflect upon the words and live out your life?
12Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. 13Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. 14As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. 15Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
–from Jeremiah 26
Will you choose today to listen to God’s Word and turn back to Him? Humble yourself and ask for forgiveness? Ask Jesus into your heart and be transformed?
Can you hear me now?
Do you need an example to understand better? God provides a visual for Jeremiah to use too in today’s reading…
1This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah: 2“Go to the Rekabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the house of the Lord and give them wine to drink.”
3So I went to get Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons—the whole family of the Rekabites. 4I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the room of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah the man of God. It was next to the room of the officials, which was over that of Maaseiah son of Shallum the doorkeeper. 5Then I set bowls full of wine and some cups before the Rekabites and said to them, “Drink some wine.”
6But they replied, “We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab gave us this command: ‘Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. 7Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.’ 8We have obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine 9or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops. 10We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab commanded us. 11But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded this land, we said, ‘Come, we must go to Jerusalem to escape the Babylonian and Aramean armies.’ So we have remained in Jerusalem.”
12Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying: 13“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. 14‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefatherʼs command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. 15Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened to me. 16The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.’
17“Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.’ ”
18Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ 19Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.’ ”
–from Jeremiah 35
What will it take for you to hear from God and turn back to Him? God’s Word tells us if His people who are called by His name will turn from their wicked ways, humble themselves and pray, He will hear from heaven and heal their land! Don’t we need that right here and right now?
Can you hear me now?
Or would you need it in writing instead of being spoken? So a letter? a blog post? a sign? Or would you reject that even more?
Today’s reading shows how a scroll is used by God through Jeremiah…
Jehoiakim Burns Jeremiahʼs Scroll
1In the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2“Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now. 3Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”
4So Jeremiah called Baruch son of Neriah, and while Jeremiah dictated all the words the Lord had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them on the scroll. 5Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am restricted; I am not allowed to go to the Lordʼs temple. 6So you go to the house of the Lord on a day of fasting and read to the people from the scroll the words of the Lord that you wrote as I dictated. Read them to all the people of Judah who come in from their towns. 7Perhaps they will bring their petition before the Lord and will each turn from their wicked ways, for the anger and wrath pronounced against this people by the Lord are great.”
8Baruch son of Neriah did everything Jeremiah the prophet told him to do; at the Lordʼs temple he read the words of the Lord from the scroll. 9In the ninth month of the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, a time of fasting before the Lord was proclaimed for all the people in Jerusalem and those who had come from the towns of Judah. 10From the room of Gemariah son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper courtyard at the entrance of the New Gate of the temple, Baruch read to all the people at the Lordʼs temple the words of Jeremiah from the scroll.
11When Micaiah son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, 12he went down to the secretaryʼs room in the royal palace, where all the officials were sitting: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Akbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13After Micaiah told them everything he had heard Baruch read to the people from the scroll, 14all the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Bring the scroll from which you have read to the people and come.” So Baruch son of Neriah went to them with the scroll in his hand. 15They said to him, “Sit down, please, and read it to us.”
So Baruch read it to them. 16When they heard all these words, they looked at each other in fear and said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.” 17Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you come to write all this? Did Jeremiah dictate it?”
18“Yes,” Baruch replied, “he dictated all these words to me, and I wrote them in ink on the scroll.”
19Then the officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah, go and hide. Donʼt let anyone know where you are.”
20After they put the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary, they went to the king in the courtyard and reported everything to him. 21The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll, and Jehudi brought it from the room of Elishama the secretary and read it to the king and all the officials standing beside him. 22It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him. 23Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribeʼs knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. 24The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes. 25Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the Lord had hidden them.
27After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiahʼs dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 28“Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up. 29Also tell Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned that scroll and said, “Why did you write on it that the king of Babylon would certainly come and destroy this land and wipe from it both man and beast?” 30Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31I will punish him and his children and his attendants for their wickedness; I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’ ”
32So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.
–from Jeremiah 36
Today matters! Today you can make a difference Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! What are you going to do with your today? What are you going to do about what you have heard? What are you going to do about what you have read? Can you hear me now?
What do you think we deserve? What do you think should happen? Do you know what grace is? (the free and unmerited favor of God) Do you know what mercy is? (compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm)
Today you get to decide! Today you get to choose! So choose wisely! Seek wisdom! Seek discernment! And make your stand! Choose wisely!
Godʼs Righteous Judgment
1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that Godʼs judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape Godʼs judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that Godʼs kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of Godʼs wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.
12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in Godʼs sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God judges peopleʼs secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
The Jews and the Law
17Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24As it is written: “Godʼs name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the lawʼs requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a personʼs praise is not from other people, but from God.
–from Romans 2