This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’” (Jeremiah 6:15, NLT).
Jeremiah reminds the people that there is a way out of their distress. It has been there since ancient times, encoded in the Law which God gave to his people. The Law was good, and its intent was to provide rest (v.16). The people need only walk in the way of the Law—loving God with all their heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5) and their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18). Jeremiah points out that gifts and sacrifices are not acceptable to God when his Word is rejected (v.19-20).
Like Jeremiah, I need to observe and to test the value of the paths before me (v.27). Much of what passes as acceptable practice in our society—our priorities, our values, our attitudes, our world view—does not overlay the one true Way, Jesus. Religious observance is of little value if doesn’t function as signposts to keep me on the right path. Only by following Jesus along the pathway of love do I find rest for my soul.
Father, thank you for inspiring your people to record the godly path in Scripture. Thank you for Jesus, your Son, who is the Way, Truth, and the Life. Set my feet firmly upon his path. Keep me eyes steadfast on him. Forgive me when I stubbornly go my own way. Restrain me from worldly shortcuts. Redirect me when I’ve lost my way. Let your Holy Spirit be my constant Guide. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for blessing us with every spiritual blessing through him. Thank you for choosing us to be your adopted children. Thank for the grace you have lavished upon us, giving us redemption and forgiveness of our sins. Give n. the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so she may know your Son better. Enlighten the eyes of her heart. May she know the hope to which you have called her. Gift her with the riches of Christ’s glorious inheritance. Strengthen her belief; may she rely on your Son’s incomparably great power which is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion. Strengthen n. with that power through Christ’s Spirit in her inner being. May Christ may dwell in her heart through faith. Root and establish n. in love, and may she, together with all the Lord’s holy people, grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and know this love that surpasses knowledge. Fill n. to the measure of all the fullness of God. Together may we give glory to Jesus, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, Amen.
Abba, Father, thank you for adopting as your children and for sending your Spirit into our hearts. Thank for making us heirs of your promises. Clothe us with Christ your Son. Enable us to serve one another humbly in love. Fill us with your Spirit so that our lives overflow with love, joy, peace, kindness, and goodness. Empower us to be forbearing, faithful, and gentle to all. Grant us self-control, and put to death our sinful passions and desires. Restrain us from being conceited and from provoking and envying others. Keep us in step with your Spirit, and visit us with your peace and mercy. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us and all our brothers and sisters. Amen.
Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, comfort us in all our troubles. Give us patience to endure what distresses us. Grant that we may comfort others with the comfort we have received from you. Firm up our hope in you. Lead us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession. May we spread the knowledge of Jesus everywhere and be to the perishing the pleasing aroma of life and salvation. Make us equal to this task. Bless us abundantly. Supply what we need in all things at all times so that we may abound in every good work. Fill us with the seed of your Word, and enlarge our harvest of righteousness. Enrich us so that we may be generous to all, bringing thanksgiving to you. Enable us to serve your people so that others will also express their thanks. Grant that our confession of your Son’s gospel be confirmed by our obedience in sharing with those in need. Thank you for the indescribable gift of your surpassing grace. Keep us from doing wrong; strengthen us to stand the tests of our lives. Restore us to you and to each other when we fail. Grant us grace to be of one mind, encouraging one another. Let your love and peace be always with us. May the grace of your Son Jesus Christ and the fellowship of your Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
Father, thank you for sanctifying us through your Son Jesus and calling us to be your holy people. Send your grace and peace to all who call on his name. Thank you for extending the grace of Christ to n. Enrich her speech and fill her with all knowledge so that the testimony about Christ is confirmed in her. Fill n. with your spiritual gifts. Keep her blameless as she waits for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. Keep her faith firm to the end. Sustain n. in the fellowship of your Son to which you have called her. Let the grace of your Son Jesus be with her. Strengthen my love for her. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Father, thank you for your great love and for calling us to be your holy people. May the grace and peace of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, rest on us. Thank you for faith of n. and how the world is being impacted because of it. Encourage n. and give her the grace of endurance. Inspire the mind of Christ in n. and me so that with one voice we may glorify you. Grow her trust in you, and impart your joy and peace. May the power of your Holy Spirit overflow into her life and bring her hope. Grant that n. and I may reunite in joy and refresh each other’s spirit. Until that time, keep us in your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. From prophets to priests, they are all frauds. They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:13-14, NLT).
The personal sin of greed brought about the destruction of Judah. God’s law provided for the poor by leaving produce behind at harvest (Leviticus 19:9-10). Greed brought about more efficient and profitable harvests for landholders. The welfare of the poor and orphans was denied (Jeremiah 5:28). In a stunning example of “reaping what you sow,” the prophet proclaims that the coming destruction by the Babylonians would be “as when a harvester checks each vine a second time to pick the grapes that were missed” (v.9). Neither old, young, male, nor female would escape (v.11). Greed opposes God’s law; one cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). Greed drowns out the warning of its ensuing peril (v.10). When God’s law of love is scorned for personal gain, true wisdom is unknown. Fraudulent religious systems created to lighten the guilt of greed offer no remedy nor direction for the wages of sin.
I need to be on my guard against every kind of greed (Luke 12:15). Since greed is the selfish desire to have more than is needed, greed is not just the domain of the wealthy. Greed can manifest as fearing not having enough for the future. Greed can be holding tightly to what I have and showing no compassion to those in need (1 John 3:17). Greed is the idolatry of serving one’s desires and fears rather than God who supplies all my needs (Philippians 4:19).
Father, thank you for supplying all my needs. Thank you for your generous grace and patience with me. Purge me of my greed. Show me how to trust you more and serve you more fully. Fill me with truth and banish fraudulent ideas that obscure how you would have me live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Have you no respect for me? Why don’t you tremble in my presence? I, the Lord, define the ocean’s sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar, but they can never pass the boundaries I set” (Jeremiah 5:22, NLT).
Jeremiah’s audience are foolish; they deny God exists and cares (v.21). They are senseless; they do not reason correctly that God who created and tames the sea has set boundaries which should not be crossed (v.22). They have abandoned God and so deprived themselves of blessings (v.23-24). Yet they do not perceive the lack (v.25). They have adopted the lies of false prophets as beliefs. Like their priests, they like using this deceitful system to gain power and wealth (v.31). They prey upon the innocent, fatherless, and poor to gain their desires (v.26-28). Although they recognize no limit to their evil (v.28), God has passed judgment against them and will not relent (v.29).
God’s power can bring comfort. Knowing God is in control and will bring an end to evil sets my mind at rest. In the difficult times of my life, I can trust that his way is best, even when I cannot understand, because all options are open to him. Yet I also need to allow God’s power to check the rebellious impulse to go my own way. Failure to acknowledge his sovereignty results in empty, false religion ending in societal collapse and estrangement from God. I dare not misconstrue God’s patience with my selfishness as approval. Religious pretense to justify sin is folly. God’s judgment of sin is as real as the boundaries he has enforced upon the ocean.
Father, Creator of all that is seen and unseen, teach me to respect you. Thank you for the boundaries you assign to all that you have made. Keep me within those boundaries, and guide me into truth. Strip me of pretense. May the worship that I offer honor you as God alone. Forgive my rebellious ways, and keep my eyes fixed on your Son, the author and finisher of faith. In whose name I pray, Amen.