Daily Readings & Thought for July 13th. “… NO MORE STUBBORNLY FOLLOW …”
As we read more of the remarkable testimony of Jeremiah we come across some brief glimpses of the ultimate future time of glory. In today’s chapter we read, “At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather together to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.” [3 v.17] Those seeking God with a genuine heart were encouraged, indeed, wondrously excited by this prospect, as we are today.
So much of what we read in Jeremiah has parallels with the self-centred attitudes seen today as we live in the final years of human control of this earth. Jeremiah had begun his life in good circumstances, he was born to be a priest and the word of the LORD first came to him as a very young man in the reign of Judah’s last good king, Josiah.
We learn in 2 Kings 22, that Josiah initiated the repairing of the Temple (v.5) and it was reported to him by the High Priest that “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” [v.8] and the rest of the chapter and the next describes the dramatic story of the reformation the King then initiated. In the eighteenth year of his reign a great “Passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem” [23 v.23] It was a dramatic early start to the life of Jeremiah, it compares just a little with our own teenage years when we witnessed the dramatic re-establishment of Israel as a nation after nearly 1900 years in oblivion. But how ungodliness has grown in the world since then!. There are now no humans, those unenlightened by the word of God, who have any confidence that the world has a long term future – and this became Jeremiah’s experience too – the nation of Israel had no future .
Josiah is killed just 13 years after this Passover; from then on, Jeremiah lives and preaches in many hostile circumstances right through until the destruction of Jerusalem – and afterwards. But first God granted him a brief period of “peace” to gain strength under the reign of a good king. His book does not appear to have been put together in chronological order, yesterday’s and the start of today’s chapter almost certainly reflect conditions near the end of his life. His life and his distress at the godlessness surrounding him has many parallels to today in which, like in Jeremiah’s time, people “refuse to be ashamed” [3 v.3].
Today, the broad way that leads to destruction has never been more evident, we need real strength of heart and conviction of mind to stay on the narrow path, there are distractions on every side, especially for the young. Let’s look to Jeremiah as our role model to follow, sharing the vision given him of the throne of the Lord being established in Jerusalem and the time when all people will ”no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart” – but those who are doing that now – they will not be there.