Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29 – What makes you different?

“A time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit — the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”  (Jeremiah 9:25,26   NLT)

The prophet Jeremiah lived in a time of turmoil and frustration.  The northern kingdom of Israel (10 tribes) had already been defeated by the Assyrians and taken away as captives, and now, a little over one hundred years later the same thing was about to happen to the southern kingdom of Judah (2 tribes) by the Babylonians.  Mind-boggling isn’t it?  People who had been delivered from slavery in Egypt through a series of never-before-seen miracles, had eaten manna and quail in the desert and drank water from the rock, had seen the walls of Jericho collapse as well as all the other nations of Canaan, had taken possession of the Promised Land, had experienced the leadership of Moses, Joshua, Gideon and David, and the wisdom and prosperity of Solomon, and had visited the Temple of Solomon on Mount Moriah, decided in the end to turn away from the One, True God who had proved Himself over and over again, and turn to the gods of the nations they had defeated!

In the end, all but the poorest of the poor were carted off to Babylon and treated as colonists there, as long as they were loyal to Babylon. But an amazing thing happened there, the people of God were more faithful to God in Babylon than they had been in Jerusalem!  Though Jerusalem and the Temple had been razed to the ground and all the sacred articles of gold taken by the Babylonians, including the Ark of the Covenant, the people of God drew closer to Him and learned to circumcise their hearts and minds.  God had not abandoned them, He had allowed them to be disciplined in order to wake them up and bring them back to Him.

The fact that we go to church, read the Bible and call ourselves Christians is not enough.  If we are not careful God sees no difference between us and atheists, agnostics and people that bow down to idols and false gods.  God may not even see a difference between us, and people involved in Satanism and the occult!  What God is looking for is people with circumcised hearts, people who are willing to cut off a piece of themselves in order to please Him and live according to His will.  This is not an option.  Either we do this or we will no longer be considered Jesus’ disciples.  Either we do this, or God will allow us to become captives and experience the suffering that comes from being separated from Him.

Take a look at your life and make sure you are circumcising your heart.

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