In my last post, I mentioned that God wants us to rely on Him. The prophet’s words in Jeremiah 17:5-6 make that clear. Those who rely on themselves or on other humans will be cursed. In Jeremiah 17:1-4, we see that the people of Judah were worshipping and relying on idols. They provoked God to anger which resulted in them being carried off into captivity. In verses 5 and 6, Jeremiah is warning the people that those who trust in any human, including themselves will not succeed. When you trust in others, you will be let down. When you trust in yourself, you will be let down. In fact, God’s words through Jeremiah are so much stronger than that. Only God is infallible. When you don’t trust in Him, you will be cursed.
You will remember, I hope, from a previous post (February 28, 2011), that God is slow to anger. (Nahum 1:3, Exodus 34:6, Psalm 145:8, Joel 2:13). It is not that the people of Judah slipped up just once. They repeatedly rejected the Lord their God who brought them out of Egypt into the promised land. If you read about their journey, you will see the pattern repeat itself over and over again.
God is patient with us too, but what Jeremiah said to the people of Judah also applies to us. When we don’t invite God into our lives, not only our hearts, but our everyday activities, we will be like a shrub in a dry land. Our roots won’t be strong enough to get to the water, and we won’t be able to grow. We may get along for a little while, but we will not thrive.
I think the reason that many people reject God is that they want to be independent; they don’t want to give up control of their lives. They somehow think that if they surrender themselves to God, they will be giving up their freedom, and their lives will be dreary and dull. In fact, the opposite is true. Come back on Wednesday to see the other side of this coin.
Today, my American readers are remembering Martin Luther King Jr., a man who stood for equality, peace and freedom. It has become a tradition to honour Dr. King on this date by performing an act of service. The website at http://mlkday.gov/ invites you to share your story of how you helped others or served your community today, and also “challenges us to make service a part of our lives – every day of the year”. They would like you to continue to honour Dr. King, and celebrate the 25th anniversary of this holiday by pledging to perform 25 acts of service this year. That averages out to just over two kindnesses per month. It doesn’t sound like that much really, does it? Unfortunately, when we get into our busy routines and hectic schedules, we tend to focus only on our own desires. We want to work to meet our own goals, and we leave the downtrodden to fend for themselves.
Have I got good news for you! Proverbs 28:27 tells us that those who give to the poor will be blessed. It is a common theme in Proverbs and throughout the Bible to give to the poor, but here the command is stated with a blessing. If we give we will not lack. That means that if we ourselves aren’t very well off, giving will not impoverish us. God will find a way to bless us and give to us. I’ve often heard it said that you can’t outgive God.
Those who have much really have no excuses. You have already been blessed, and would not suffer for giving some of your wealth away. The blessing still applies to you though, for those who give generously will be generously rewarded. (II Corinthians 9:6) There is another side to this blessing though. Those who don’t give, will not only not be blessed, but they will receive many curses. That is quite a serious statement, one that should be given sincere consideration by each of us.
We are all God’s children, and He doesn’t want to see any of us suffer. We need to care for our brothers and sisters and trust in our Heavenly Father to provide for our needs. We who act as His hands and feet to bless others will ourselves be blessed. What can you do to help someone today?