+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka
I’ve spent the last few months reading through the book of Jeremiah. The thing that struck me was how many times God gave His people the choice of whether or not to forsake their idols and worship Him. As I read, I realized how many times we have choices to make. In our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and especially with God. These next few weeks I will be sharing a 5-part series on choices (Read other posts here). I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what helps you make wise choices.
We always have a choice.
We are children of a God who always loves.
The thing is, God doesn’t manipulate us to love Him. We have to choose Him.
In Jeremiah’s day, the people knew God had brought them into the Promised Land. But in the hundreds of years since that epic event, their hearts had grown cold. They’d turned to other gods.
They called God the Lord Almighty, yet they didn’t live as if He was truly Lord in their lives.
God sent His messengers to His people. He spoke of His love through the prophets. He also spoke of what would happen if the people continued to betray the covenant between Him and them.
They didn’t listen. Their hearts grew colder and more wicked.
And yet, God waited.
His first choice was not to pour out judgment and wrath on them. God’s first desire was to have intimate fellowship with His people.
When the judgment began, God’s discipline was gradual. He didn’t just declare He was done with them and abandon them. He did, however, allow His people to lose those things that were precious to them.
When Nebuchadnezzar took the first wave of people from Jerusalem, he also took all the tools of the temple. Those valuable, precious vessels that were supposed to be used by the people in their worship of God.
They weren’t worshiping. So, God allowed the vessels to go into the hands of a foreign king.
As soon as items used for worship were gone, the people wanted them. “Prophets” declared God would bring them back.
Only, God had never said this.
How easy is it for us to take for granted the gift of relationship with God? We become busy with many other things. And often, these tasks are necessary.
But we relegate our relationship with God to that back corner of our hearts. Knowing He’s there, if we really need HIm.
And we forget Him.
We make our own choices, snap decisions, and move on in our days, our lives.
We forget God.
We forget how sweet our fellowship with Him was. How He filled us with His peace, with depth, with wisdom.
Relationships need nurturing. Whether it’s with a spouse, or our children, or friends. No nurturing—no time spent together—equals drying distance between hearts.
God won’t force Himself on us. He wants us to choose Him.
If we ignore God long enough, we lose our connection with Him. And when we need Him in a hard moment, He may not answer.
In Psalm 107, there’s a verse that talks about how people had gone their own way. They were living their lives, doing what needed to be done.
And then the storms came. It was only when they cried out to God—when they humbled their hearts before Him—that’s when He stilled that storm.
And, He guided them to their desired safe haven.
When we cry out to God in humility . . . .
When we acknowledge in our hearts how desperately we need Him . . .
He meets us in our place of need.
Let’s not become like the people of Jeremiah’s time who went into captivity before seeing how much God loved them. How much they needed Him.
Let’s be the people who nurture relationship with our Father on a daily basis—seeking Him, hearing His words, and obeying them.
What about you? When have you been in a place of need and seen God’s provision? How do you nurture your relationship with God and others?
Today I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth