Saturday, October 31, 2009

Clinging or Captive?

'For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,' declares the LORD, 'that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they did not listen.' Jeremiah 13:11

But if you will not listen to it, my soul will sob in secret for such pride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the flock of the LORD has been taken captive. Jeremiah 13:17

Like loving mentors, prophets in the Old Testament were sent to speak to Israel over and over to turn them away from their bad choices to the way of life and blessing. Their goal was to relentlessly call the people back to total dependence on their God. The outcome would be a people intimately acquainted with and dependent on their God. They would then fulfill their purpose and be for Him a people for renown, praise, and glory. Sad, sad words follow….but they did not listen.

In verse 17 Jeremiah brokenly tells what motivated such a lapse. It was their own pride that led them away captive. He took no pleasure in their captivity. He sobbed in secret that something so unnecessary and avoidable should befall God’s people. As I recently asked my husband, “Who wants a ministry of I told you so?”

What is the lesson in such a heartbreaking scenario from God’s ancient people for us? Jesus clearly tells us that “apart from Him we can do nothing.” John 15:5 Yet how many days have I hurried off into my day not seeking His plans for my day and His power to walk in the Spirit? What begins as a few days of drift can carry us far away to places we never wanted to be.

This past year someone asked me to mentor them. We met, we talked, and I listened, prayed, and encouraged. Then I saw her making some really unwise choices. When I realized that I had to love her enough to confront I was met with a haughty, “I listen to God and He will lead me.” I asked her to please consider that my concerns might be a part of His leading. Her pride in her own ability to make the right choice caused her to shut out not only me, but others who were also concerned. She is being led away captive and daily I pray for God’s mercy over her. It is so unnecessary and so sad.

Hebrews 13:17 Tells us to “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” This seems all but lost among God’s people today. We must get back to walking humbly before God and each other. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 1 Peter 5:5

Let’s allow God to search our hearts. Are we walking dependently with Him and open to the counsel of those around us? Do not allow unchecked pride to lead you away into captivity.

MY PRAYER: Lord, root out by Your precious Spirit any notion that I can make it on my own. Help me to cling to you and clothe myself in humility toward my brothers and sisters.

MY CONFESSION: I will clothe myself with humility toward You and others. You give grace to the humble. I stand on Your Word!

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