Devotional on Jeremiah

God’s Law in my heart
Jeremiah 31: I will put my law within them — write it on their hearts!
I love this statement. Jeremiah sees the sin and rebellion of his people, not as a cultural or educational or behavioral problem, but as a heart problem. Their failure isn’t the result of misunderstanding and it isn’t a mistake. They sin because they’re sinners at heart. The great need of their lives isn’t that they straighten up and act right. They need heart surgery; a change at the very foundation of their being. In this passage the Lord describes this change. On the first level, it’s a change that will take place following the Babylonian exile but on a larger scale it’s a change Jesus, the Son of God, will bring. In fact, the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews returns to this passage to describe the new spiritual reality Christ has brought into the world. God’s Law is no longer written on stone tablets. Rather, it’s written on the hearts of those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Jeremiah sees the need and he has the promise from God that the need will be met, but he can’t imagine how it will all be brought about.
Take Away: We need more than to change our behavior – we need for our hearts to be transformed by the grace of the Lord.

Devotional on Jeremiah

Heart transplant
Jeremiah 24: I’ll give them a heart to know me, God.
In a vision Jeremiah sees two baskets of figs. One basket has good fruit and the other has bad fruit. The Lord tells Jeremiah that the good figs represent people who’ll obey God’s call to surrender to the Babylonians and be relocated to other lands by them. The bad figs represent the leaders and others who are ignoring God’s demand that they surrender and accept the Lord’s judgment on the nation. Even the “good fig” population, though, is in need of a divine heart transplant. God says he’s going to do just that. Those who trust and obey him, placing their lives in his hands, aren’t considered complete until the Lord makes some basic changes in their hearts. I think this illustrates the work of the Lord in our individual lives. On one hand, I surrender my life to the Lord, committing myself to live for him, no matter what might come. On the other hand, God does in me what I can’t do for myself. He changes my very heart, enabling me to love him with all my being. It is then, Jeremiah tells me, that I’m one of God’s people, and he is Lord of my life.
Take Away: The Lord does in me what I can’t do for myself.

Devotional on Jeremiah

Visiting ICU
Jeremiah 6: My people are broken — shattered! — and they put on band-aids!
To be apart from God is serious business. The solution isn’t to turn over a new leaf or to try to be a nicer person. Outside of God is death. A doctor doesn’t put a band-aid on a person who needs a heart transplant. The treatment is major surgery by a skilled surgeon. As a Christian I ought to understand this because I’ve been through the spiritual version of that process. However, I tend to forget it. Lost people aren’t simply making mistakes and facing a troublesome future. Spiritually speaking they’re in ICU with worse things yet to come. Jeremiah realizes that the sins of his nation have brought them to the brink of absolute catastrophe. I need to deal with those who are apart from God with the seriousness Jeremiah shows here.
Take Away: Lost people are really lost — condemned and without hope unless they allow the Lord to do a major, life changing work in their lives.