Monday, November 24, 2008

Refinement by God

Whewww...I had a ton of things I had to get done first thing this morning, and it feels good to finally have a chance to sit down and read God's word and let him speak to my heart.

I continue on in the 9th chapter of Jeremiah. We read in the first few chapters, how Jeremiah's heart was broken, due to the hard heartedness and sin of his people, and the knowledge that God was about to bring judgment on them for all of that.

Today's passages are verses 4 - 9

"Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer.

Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.

You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me", declares the Lord.

Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty says: "See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks with deceit. With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets a trap for him. Should I not punish them for this?", declares the Lord. "Should I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?"

In verse 4, where it speaks of every brother is a deceiver, this is a pun on the Hebrew meaning of the name Jacob, which means "supplanter" or "one who deceives". Everyone has a Jacob in their life.

The Lord says that he will test and refine his people, to bring them to a place of repentance. He continues to do that today - those of us who are believers in Christ don't forego testing and refining; the Lord wants us to be a spotless bride for Christ, when he returns for us. He has to prune and purge the things from us that keep us at a distance from him.

I spoke not long ago about how a silversmith can tell when the product is pure and finished; he holds it up, and when he sees his reflection in it, he knows it's ready and complete.

That's how the Lord is with us - he refines us as a silversmith does, wanting others to see His reflection when they look at our lives. He was saddened that his people had a hypocritical walk in life - they would bless thier neighbors while in thier presence, but in their hearts, they thought otherwise.

God wants us to be "real" - to live our daily lives like we present ourselves in church on Sundays. He sees our hearts and knows our motives, and it's those motives that aren't pure, those motives that are self-serving, that he wants to get rid of.

Who do people see when they look at you? Are they able to see Jesus in you? Were you to die today, would the funeral home be filled with people who were able to say, "He/she loved God, and it was evident in his/her life".

That's my life's desire - to reflect Jesus to others - to have some kind of impact on someone's life; pointing them to the cross, and to the feet of Jesus.

Have a blessed day!

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