Oh, that my head were waters,
Today while studying Jeremiah 9, I was struck by a few things. First, was Jeremiah's obvious distress. He basically says that if his head were full of water, his eyes would be like a fountain of tears. That's a lot crying. He was known as The Weeping Prophet for a reason. This tells me a lot about Jeremiah the person:
The most interesting thing about Jeremiah for me though, is that he wasn't just a prophet for the Jews. He was a prophet for the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). God appointed Him to speak to ALL people. And thousands of years later, remarkable as it is, the book of Jeremiah is still doing exactly that. At least it is for me. The warnings in this book have seemed to parallel what our world is going through today, convincing me once again that ALL of God's Word (not just the New Testament) is relevant for Christians. Those who say we are not bound by the Old Testament and never bother reading it, do themselves a disservice, because it is in the Old Testament that we find lessons we can take to heart and learn more about the ways of our unchanging God.
In Jeremiah 6:27 we are told that God has set Jeremiah as an assayer and strong tower among God's people. An assayer is someone who is an inspector of metals. He judges their value. So Jeremiah is out among the people and he is assessing them. He knows they are unworthy and God knows he knows. So God makes a decision and says:
Behold, I will refine them and try them;
How are metals tested? They are put through the fire to see how well they stand up. It's called a refiner's fire. In Revelation 3:18 Jesus says: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich.” In my book He Who Has an Ear, Who the Seven Churches of Revelation are Today, I explained it this way:
To refine gold, it must be hot enough to burn away the dross or impurities.It is known as a “refiner’s fire” and this is what Jesus was saying the Laodiceans needed to go through. They needed to be refined or tested so all the dross in them could be cleaned out. Then they would be truly rich. If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s this: When God wants to deal with something about me He knows I’m not seeing clearly or haven’t worked towards refining, I can be sure I’ll go through a trial. Of course, when those trials go on for months, one starts to wonder, “What am I not getting?” But it may simply be that the dross is gone but God knows He has to “test the gold,” as it were, to see if it endures.
Jeremiah's people were about to be put through the refiner's fire. Not only would they be tested with the horrors of war, (they would end up going into captivity for 70 years) but the land would also be put through the fire. God said:
I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a den of jackals.
You may be wondering why God would punish the land. Jeremiah asked the same question and God said it was because the people had forsaken His laws. They had not obeyed His voice or walked according to it (Jeremiah 9:13-14). Instead, they had walked "according to the dictates of their own hearts." Their sin polluted the land. So what was God's solution?
“Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I will scatter them also among the Gentiles,
What God was about to do in response to the unrepentant hearts of His people would be (essentially) bitter for them to drink or endure. Since they refused to obey Him or listen to Him anymore, He was not only going to bring destruction to Jerusalem and its surrounding cities, but He was also going to send them among the heathen nations (Gentiles) they had followed after.
How Does This Apply to Us Today?
Only the blind cannot see what is happening in the world today. We are rushing headlong toward God's judgment once again. For those who know the Lord, don't be surprised if you find your troubles in life increasing. Rejoice if they are, because the Lord is preparing you for the future. All Christians will go through a refiner's fire at some point. Be strong, stand firm and you will come out shining like gold.
To those who do not know the Lord, this is your warning from Jeremiah, me and all Christians everywhere who beg you to repent and turn to God to be saved. Jesus is coming again and He will not be coming as a meek shepherd, but as a righteous judge.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead." - Acts 17:31
God set Jeremiah as an assayer - to test the people to see if they were worthy. Today, we have an intermediary, who stands before God on our behalf. His name is Jesus and one day He will come again to judge the living and the dead. He alone will decide if we have stood the test and have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Will you be found worthy when He returns?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Did you know that the number one Bible verse of 2015 was John 3:16? That did not surprise me at all as it is the one verse in the Bible that perfectly describes how much God loves us. Last week I shared a poem on being still enough to hear God. This week, by looking at John 3:16 closely, I think we can accurately know the heart of God.
For God So Loved the World
World in Greek is translated as "kosmos" and there are eight different meanings for its biblical usage. Below are three meanings that really stood out for me:
God's greatest creation is not just us, but the entire universe that surrounds us. We know from the first chapter of Genesis that everything created by God was deemed "good". He loves this world He created. So we should take care of it.
Earth is just one of the ornaments that decorates the heavens in this vast universe God created, but we have the incredible privilege of being the only planet where the human family was created. A family that God loves. A family devoid of colour, sexual orientation, religion - anything divisive. You see, to God we are all the same, because despite what we might look like on the outside, on the inside we all have the same parts. And He sent His son for the ENTIRE human family because He loves ALL OF US.
GOD'S LOVE IS SO VAST AND SO DEEP THAT HE CARES EVEN FOR THOSE WHO ARE HOSTILE TOWARD HIM.
That He gave His one and Only Son
This is the single reason why we can be confident that God loves us. He sent His only son into this world because of His divine love. How vast is His love? The Apostle John makes it very clear in the following verses:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
WHO WAS THE WORD?
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
JESUS WAS THE WORD!
In other words God came down to earth in the form of a man - Jesus - and walked among us. Why? Again - His love was so great for us that He gave up His heavenly abode in order to walk among us - to teach us the right way to live. This is like the stories of old, when a King desired to walk among His subjects to find out how they really felt about him and to grasp what they were going through. Now think about that for a minute. GOD DID THAT FOR YOU AND ME!
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7, NKJV).
That Whoever Believes in Him Shall Not Perish But Have Eternal Life
Let's keep this in context - God gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him - in Jesus - shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 4:24 says, God is spirit, and it is because of the gift of the Holy Spirit that we are able to have communion with the King of the universe. But, those who reject God's gift of eternal life with Him, are making a conscious decision to lose access to God. To die in their sins. To reject God's saving grace. To reject His very promise to save them from themselves. These are people God loves and they are the reason He came to earth, so that no one would perish.
THIS IS THE HEART OF GOD!