Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections:
Today as one of our readings, we look at Jeremiah 7: 23-26:
23 But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward. 25 From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; 26 yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.
Today’s reading was an interesting one to me. One of the universal themes across the Old Testament (and much of the New) is remembering. So many Psalms recount the history of the people and all that had happened. So much of the Law is focused on remembering that the people were once slaves in Egypt. Passover, one of the most sacred holidays of the people was built entirely on remembering what the people went through when they left Egypt and then teaching it to the next generation.
Now in this passage, God is telling the people this – their ancestors looked back. They didn’t look forward. What is this about? Aren’t we supposed to look back and remember?
What is happening here is that recounts (or remembers) when the people left Egypt and they were afraid of what was to come with their new freedom. With slavery, at least they had consistency. At least they knew what they could count on, In some ways, slavery was more comfortable than the future.
The future required faith. No longer were they enslaved. Now they had freedom. The future was wide open, but it was dependant upon faith in God. It was going to be good. But it was going to be different. And that different scared them.
They desired the comfort of slavery to the discomfort of freedom.
That is a great lesson for us. I think about that a lot as a preacher. It was one week ago COVID entered many of our lives and things have changed. What we are going to be once all this over, is going to be different than what we were when this started.
I think in some ways, we will be better. I’m really excited about what is going to happen in our church in the days to come. But I know it is going to be different. Some folks are going to be more excited about church than ever before. Some haven’t been to church in over a year and they haven’t missed it. I think this has been a season of refining and what will come through will be even better!
But it will be different. God is calling us to something new, something different, something that may even be a little uncomfortable. But it is going to be awesome.
Don’t look back to the comfort of the past. Look ahead to the beauty of the future. God is calling us to something amazing. I’m thankful that we get to be a part. Look ahead. Great things await. It may be hard. But it will be something beautiful.
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