Saturday, November 15, 2008

Finding God

I continue in Jeremiah 7: 21-26. God has told Jeremiah the judgments he is going to bring on the people of Judea and Jerusalem because of their sinful ways. He also told him to stop pleading for them; to paraphrase it - enough is enough! He has given them many chances to turn back to him, and they just kept getting worse in their actions and attitudes.

Today's passage says this:

"This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ' Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: "Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you". But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their wicked hearts. They went backwards and not forward. From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again, I sent you my servants and prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers".

For God to tell them to eat their burnt offerings, which was supposed to be burnt in its entirety, meant that the sacrifices meant nothing to him. They were continuing to practice the ordinances of offering burnt sacrifices, but continuing in their sin.

How that can apply today is that one can go to church, sing hymns, take part in the Lord's supper, know scripture, teach Sunday School, sing in the choir - participate in all the things in the church; but then to walk out the doors of the church and willfully live in sin, gives no credence to one's religious practices.

We hear a lot of people say, "Oh he/she found religion". God doesn't want us to "find religion"; he wants us to find HIM! There's a HUGE difference in being religious and having a personal relationship with the Lord.

God gave the laws for our own good, contrary to the belief of some that He did so because he's a mean and hostile God. He gave the laws of what foods to eat or not eat, because he knew that some things would interfere with good health. He gave laws of keeping sex only within the bonds of marriage, because he knew other sexual activity would bring diseases and other consequences; he gave the laws of how to sacrifice perfect lambs, as an example of the perfect sacrifice he was to bring to us in Christ Jesus. To offer an animal anything less than perfect, was a useless sacrifice.

Worship is an intimate and holy offering to the Lord; it's a time for us to humble ourselves before Him, and acknowledge who he is. When one truly worships God and gets into his presence, the desire to go out and willfully sin, leaves. It makes us want to follow him and his plan for our lives and be blessed in doing so.

Search your heart - are you a "religious" person, or do you have that personal and intimate relationship with Jesus that brings you into the presence of the Lord Almighty? Jesus said, "I am THE way, THE truth, THE life; no one comes to the Father, but through me".

If you're searching for truth, and have taken many paths other than the ONLY path to God through Christ Jesus, turn around and call out to Him to show you the way. He will meet you where you are; the emptiness and feelings of hopelessness will leave you, and they will be replaced with His peace, and a knowing that you were a precious creation from His heart, and there's a purpose for you in this world.

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