Read:  Jeremiah 18:1-23

15 Yet my people have forgotten me;

    they burn incense to worthless idols,
which made them stumble in their ways,

    in the ancient paths.
They made them walk in byways,

   on roads not built up.  Jeremiah 18:15

Give me a second – I’ll be right with you . . . I just have to print out Jeremiah 18 on pretty paper and post it on my fridge because it is SUPER encouraging. Do you feel encouraged after reading our text for today? Um yeah, it actually is a little scary, slightly disturbing, and one that I might rather skip over.

But alas. The beauty of a scripture like Jeremiah 18 is that I really have to dive in and look at each verse and struggle to see what God is saying and what the application is for today. And that, hard as it may be, is really good for us. So here we go!

Verse 14 says,
Does the snow of Lebanon
    ever vanish from its rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters from distant sources
    ever stop flowing?

The answer is no – the snow of Lebanon does not vanish and its cool waters do not ever stop flowing. They carry on in obedience to the natural order. They do what they’re made to do. They fulfill their purpose.

But not the Israelites. They, also, were made for a purpose – to love God and glorify Him forever. But they lived in complete disobedience and rebellion against God. They despised what they had been made for. Verse 12 says, But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

Nobody says that in real life, right? We don’t even think it. When we go our own way, and we all do at times, we either justify our actions/attitudes or we drown out the reality of our “stubborn, evil heart” with all sorts of noise that keeps us from acknowledging the truth. We want to do what we want to do and that’s that. Even when we know we are bringing sorrow and ultimately death to our hearts.

But we were made to love God and glorify Him forever. Just like the cool waters from the snow of Lebanon lives in the natural order of things, we were “naturally” made to be in relationship with God. We won’t thrive any other way. We’ll always be walking in “byways, on roads not built up” (vs. 15). You can probably remember a time that you were walking on uneven ground – constantly stumbling, tripping, turning your ankle. Not fun.

Some of us have made the choice to “continue with our own plans”. We’ve shrugged our shoulders, looked at the consequences and said, “Whatever. I’m going to follow the stubbornness of my heart. I want what I want.” If you’re in this place, your merciful Father is inviting you to turn back to Him. Get off the byway and walk in His ways.

Some of us are watching someone we love make that choice. Prayer is powerful and moves God’s heart – so don’t stop praying for that person.

We were made to be in relationship with God. We were made to walk in His ways. It’s the natural order. Our hearts will not be at peace any other way.

Heavenly Father, thank you that, in your infinite mercy, you give me another chance. Thank you for redeeming my life and making me new. There is nowhere else I’d rather be than walking with you. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and may my words and actions honor you today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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