September 29, 2011

BIBLE READING PLAN: Jeremiah 26-29


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.   I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”                  Jeremiah 29:11-14  


What is God’s purpose for your life?  How do you know God’s will for your life?

I think that those questions are very familiar to Christians of the last couple generations.  I have read many books on how to determine the answer to those questions.  I have listened to a lot of sermons on how to discern God’s will.  Mostly, I have listen to friends and family members describe to me their reasoning in how they determined that it was God’s will to pursue a specific course of action. 

Those descriptions typically contain some variation of the open door / closed door approach to decision making.  I think that there is a lot of merit in identifying options and then selecting the alternative that appears to be the best option.  This is how the Apostle Paul decided upon which country to enter on his evangelical mission. 

However, our decision making can quickly become gridlocked in the morass of determining what is open and what is closed.  I think that we have to be a little honest here.  Our natural inclination is to pronounce “open” the door that is most attractive or beneficial to us and “closed” the door that is least attractive.  If you knew that behind a certain door there contained beatings, lack of physical provisions, ship wreck, and death, would you consider that an open door?  Let’s be honest!

We often determine what is open based upon “good things”.  We do not tend to attribute what we consider bad to God’s plans for our lives.  After all, does God promises to work out everything for our good.  However, what we may consider bad is often exactly the will of God.  God’s exile of his people into Babylon was exactly what he intend.  If I were in that situation, I would not be think that was a “good” situation.  I would not like it.  I would want it to end. 

God told those exiled in Babylon that the captivity they were experiencing, for 70 years, was for their ultimate welfare; what would your response be?  That the fall of Jerusalem and the defilement of the temple was not evil; would you have agreed?  That he was giving them a future and a hope; would that feel like hope?

 God had planned the entire fall of the nation of Israel for the purpose of getting his people to seek him with all of their heart.  God’s placed a much higher priority on the people heart condition then upon the state of their physical condition.  God would rather have a people in captivity whose hearts were fully his then a people in sovereign control their country, yet with hearts in complete rebellion to him.       

How concerned do you think God is with your heart condition?  I know that I have areas of my life in which my heart is not fully God’s.  I give it to him and then slowly take it back, often without realizing it.  I rarely see those areas of my heart that are not fully God’s when everything is going well.  It is when the wheels come off and I respond in a manner that is not glorifying to God that I become fully aware of my heart condition and sin.  The challenge is what to do in those times. 

We are supposed to turn and seek God with all of our heart.  The wonderful promise is that we can have confidence that we will find what we are seeking; God! 

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for caring some much about that you will show me those areas of my life that are not yours.  Lord, give me eyes to see all that I have made into idols.  Create in me a heart that is fully yours and desires you more than anything else.    Amen

One comment

  1. Good insight on the open/closed door philosophy.

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