DayBreaks for 2/06/2019: The Pathway to Rain
From the DayBreaks archive, 2009:
Jeremiah 14:1-11 (NLT) – This message came to Jeremiah from the LORD, explaining why he was holding back the rain: “Judah wilts; her businesses have ground to a halt. All the people sit on the ground in mourning, and a great cry rises from Jerusalem. The nobles send servants to get water, but all the wells are dry. The servants return with empty pitchers, confused and desperate, covering their heads in grief. The ground is parched and cracked for lack of rain. The farmers are afraid; they, too, cover their heads. The deer abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass. The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills panting like thirsty jackals. They strain their eyes looking for grass to eat, but there is none to be found.” The people say, “LORD, our wickedness has caught up with us. We have sinned against you. So please, help us for the sake of your own reputation. O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble! Why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like someone passing through the land, stopping only for the night? Are you also confused? Are you helpless to save us? You are right here among us, LORD. We are known as your people. Please don’t abandon us now!” So the LORD replies to his people, “You love to wander far from me and do not follow in my paths. Now I will no longer accept you as my people. I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.” Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore.”
We are in the middle of a drought right now here in California. How foolish if we think that the Lord no longer holds back the rain for the same reason He withheld it in the past! Yes, he sends rain on the just and unjust, but He is also equally able to withhold it at any time He chooses.
But what I found especially intriguing about this passage was in verses 7-9 where the people plead with the Lord to help them. It is a wonderful sounding plea, also reflecting some of our own doubts and confusion about why God acts as He does. I know there have been plenty of times when I was confused by what God was doing or not doing, when it seemed He was a stranger or powerless to do anything (that, by the way, is a horrible assumption – just because He doesn’t act certainly doesn’t mean He’s powerless to do so!) Pay careful attention to the reason the people approach the Lord: they say that their wickedness has caught up with them and that they’ve sinned, but they beg for His help for the “sake of Your own reputation.” They never ask for forgiveness – they only get as far as a confession, which is short and not very convincing. They never get past the confession to asking for forgiveness and they show no inclination towards repentance. Instead, it is as if they are trying to convince God that it’s in His own best interest to just forgive them and send them rain.
How many times have I tried to appeal to God’s self-interest thinking I could manipulate Him into a certain desired behavior? I’m not even sure that God can have “self-interest”! My repentance had better be real. True repentance moves the heart of God but fake repentance, even when there are lots of fine sounding words, never does. And if God’s mercies don’t rain down upon us, we will all die of the drought.
PRAYER: Father, we say things hoping we can get You to “fall” for them as if You were another human from whom we can hide the truth. Lord, we have sinned against you. We ask you for forgiveness. We desire to repent from the evil we do and to experience once again the refreshing mercies that fall from Your throne of grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>