Today’s Devotion: Jeremiah 4
Judah was a tiny nation. The Babylonian armies had been cruelly conquering one small state after another, getting ever closer to Jerusalem and Judah was threatened with extinction. The people were busy fortifying their cities and trying to make peace treaties, but Jeremiah knew this would all prove useless in the face of the onslaught of the enemy. Jeremiah knew that the Judah’s only hope was through divine intervention. That they needed to set right the relationship with God.
Jeremiah appeals this to the people in a few ways, let us look at three of these for today’s devotion.
1. RETURN TO ME (Vs 1)
a. If you will return, O Israel, return to Me!
First God calls his people to return to Me (Him). A return to God Himself. This is very personal. God wants us too, to come back to Him; in a personal relationship. With a heart of repentance. That is not insincere and feigned, but real and hearty; not delayed to another time, immediate, without any delay; If thou wilt return, return now.
b. …you put away your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray.
The second thing the people had to do was to get rid of their idols and their sin. What about us? The Holy Spirit will show us the idols we need to turn away from. It may be the love of something more than God; a wrong relationship; a permissive life style; internet pornography; or a deep-rooted grudge? We can’t afford to hold onto things that God dislikes. Proverbs 6:16-19
Similar to sheep, we always find the pastures greener on the other side and are led astray. We are led astray by the fancies of this world. The sheep must have a constant supervision from the shepherd, for without this constant supervision the sheep will go astray becoming hopefully lost. To be connected to the Shepherd; the sheep must listen to His voice. Read the word of God every day, so that you may not be led astray by what the world offers.
2. BREAK UP YOUR UNPLOWED GROUND (Vs 3)
Unplowed ground won't let a crop grow. It's hard, preventing seeds from penetrating, germinating, and growing to maturity. What's been growing in our hearts? Hatred, bitterness, lust or greed? These must be rooted out so a new crop can be planted. Grain doesn't flourish under the shade of trees. They must be removed so the new crop can grow in the light.
It is also sometimes the hardness of the heart. If we've been hurt in a relationship, we may have sealed off an area of our lives because it's just too painful. But we need to let God break up those resentments and heal those longstanding hurts. He'll pull the plow, but we must direct it toward those hard places in us that we know must be dealt with.
From time to time we've been hardened by unbelief too. You prayed that someone wouldn't die and your prayer wasn't answered. You've been out of work or have chronic illness that has taken its toll on your faith. We come to the conclusion that God doesn't answer prayer — at least for you. That hardness of unbelief must be faced squarely and broken up if God is to plant something new and fruitful in your heart. Heartfelt repentance and confession are the only ways of plowing deep.
3. CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS (Vs 4)
Jeremiah’s third appeal is, circumcise your hearts. Circumcision was the sign given to Abraham that he was in covenant relationship with God, which signified Abraham’s commitment to the Lord—that the Lord alone would be his God, whom he would trust and serve. The idea of “circumcision of the heart” refers to having a pure heart, separated unto God, it focuses on the condition of the heart that only belongs to Christ. Using circumcision as a metaphor, we know that only the Holy Spirit can purify a heart and set us apart to God. Through Him, a person can be made right with God and receive eternal life.
Lord help me Father to identify things that I should be doing right, by returning to you. There maybe things about me, that are really hateful to you, teach me loving God as my heart receives your word, to respond to you wholeheartedly. Set me apart Oh Holy Spirit, to live a life that is glorifies you.
In your name I pray, Amen.