“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have been hung on my neck, and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has given me into the hands of those I cannot withstand.” Lamentations 1:14
During the time of the Babylonian takeover of Jerusalem, the people were under much suffering. The Babylonians did not treat them well, though they did allow them to live. The city had been destroyed and the people were in great misery. As Jeremiah sees this, he is weeping, lamenting, because he feels the weight of all the sin that brought on this destruction.
Sin is something that looks and sounds like fun, but it carries a heavy weight to it. People often think that they can handle their own sin, especially those ‘little’ sins.
It is commonly thought that what does it matter if one tells a little lie? Or if one cheats his neighbor a little bit? Or if one just breaks a little rule once in a while? It really does not affect anyone is what most think. And besides, God will understand.
The truth is that any sin, big or small, has a weight that no one can really bear up under. That weight is the weight of death. It will take away all strength from a person, pulling their head down to the grave as though a millstone was hung on his neck. It is bound tight to the person’s neck as a yoke is placed on an animal, that only the master can remove.
Jeremiah had faithfully followed God, but was feeling the weight of the sins of the people. All those sins took a toll on his body and zapped all of his strength.
Even today, if you live in sin, it will take your strength away from you. You will be constantly looking over your back to see if you will be caught in that sin. Fear will keep you awake through the night because death will be knocking on your door. The weight will be more than you can handle.
The good news is that you do not have to bear that weight any more. You can hand it over to Jesus. Turn from the sin and He will get rid of it. He paid the price of death for your sin.
As you turn from your own sin, weep for the sins of others. Lead others to Jesus to get rid of that enormous weight.
I pray today that God will help you turn from all sin; that you will know the freedom Jesus can give you from your sin; and that you will tell others about Jesus.
There are many false beliefs and teachings in this world. Knowing what God’s word says is very important. If you are already reading the Bible, you are on your way to being strong in the Lord. However, just reading the bible does not keep you focused all day, all the time. It is easy to forget what was read.
Memorization helps keep God’s word in focus at the front of your mind. David wrote that he hid God’s word in his heart so that he would not sin against God. As you have His word hidden in your heart, you will always be thinking about what He said. It will help you remember His promises and commands to you. This will help you live your life more for God, than for this world and self.
Starting later today, I will be posting one verse from the bible to work on memorizing. Take time to read it. Write it down and carry it with you each day. I will post one verse every Friday for you to work on.
Each morning when you get up, look at that verse and try to quote it. As you are driving to work, think about that verse. As you are doing chores around the house, think about that verse. As you walk through a store, think about that verse. As you are filling your car with gas, think about that verse.
Quote it several times a day, each day and you will soon have it memorized, hidden in your heart.
May you know God’s blessings as you memorize and hide His word in your heart.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31
Everyone has days of weariness. The business of things to do, places to go, and people to see gets to a person and they begin to slow down. It does not matter the age of a person, because given enough time and work, they will get weary.
Watch a young child running and playing. It appears as if he will never slow down or come to a stop. He runs on the Energizer battery, he just keeps going and going and going and going. But if one watches long enough, even that young child runs out of energy. Little children are known for all of a sudden laying down in the middle of the floor and going to sleep, or falling asleep with their face on the plate at the dinner table. Their energy has given out.
Isaiah says that there is a way to have more energy and strength. There is a way to have it renewed. It is found in having hope in the Lord.
Going through this life can be very wearisome. It can drain the energy of a person, especially when things are not going so well. It appears that you do good over and over again and again, and do not seem to get any good results. Things still go wrong and you get weary and want to quit. Most of the world will quit.
To keep going and renew your strength, focus on the Lord. Find the hope you have in Him. Keep in mind that one day Jesus will return and take you to heaven where there will be no more sorrow, pain or suffering.
As you focus on that, you will have the needed energy and strength to keep going. You will be able to soar above others in this world. You will be able to run and not get weary. You will walk on in the heat and not faint.
The reason you can do this, is because you know that in the end you will win with God on your side. Hold on to that hope in the Lord and renew your strength.
I pray today that you will personally know God; that you will know the promises God has for you; that you will trust God’s word to you; and that you will know the strength God can provide.
You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. Isaiah 17:10-11
The city of Damascus was a very powerful city of Ephraim, one of the tribes of Israel. The city was very well fortified and productive in its time. A time came when the people of the city chose to forget about God. The chose to do everything in their own way and in their own power.
Since this had occurred, God chose to break them down. God told them that no matter how well they planted the vineyards, they would reap nothing in the end. They would start off with planting the best of plants and the plants would start to grow and show buds. By the time of harvest season, however, nothing would be left of the plants. Disease would overtake the plants and destroy them.
Forgetting God is something that many people do. They feel as though they can put God on a shelf and that everything will be acceptable and well for them. Wealth and health will appear to still be good when God is forgotten.
Yet, God is watching. When a person claims to be a follower of Jesus, yet, does not do what God wants him to do, or ignores the calls of God, God will take His hand of favor off the person. The work the person does will come to no avail. The produce of his garden in this life will be worthless and destroyed.
God is a gracious God who wants to pour out His gifts and favor on each person. However, that person must be looking to Him and following Him for that to happen.
You cannot be doing your own thing, while claiming to be a believer in God. Do not put God on the shelf and forget Him. Do not just remember God on Sunday morning or when crisis arises. God has to have central control of your life.
May the plantings in your life bare great fruit.
I pray today that God will be the center of your life; that you will not forget God in anything you do; that you will know God’s favor and blessings in your life; and that your works will be done to glorify God.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2
Isaiah had been speaking about how God was going to punish and destroy Judah. The destruction of the nation was going to be great and the people were going to be sent into exile. This destruction was going to last for nearly 2,000 years as a nation.
As with every destruction of a nation, it would be horrible. People would be killed, imprisoned, tortured, enslaved, separated from families, and ridiculed. It would be a war upon the nation, and no war is pretty.
Yet, Isaiah gives praise to God and speaks of God being his salvation. Isaiah knew that in spite of everything that was going to happen, God would be with him and keep him. The ultimate salvation was to be found in Jesus. Jesus would save from the sins for all eternity.
Today there is destruction and war going on all around a person. Economies are failing, disease is rampant, hatred is high, and fear is everywhere. Looking at this world it is difficult to see any hope of a good future.
Believers look on the way their nation is going and are often in fear for their children. In many places, being a Christian is harder now than it was when a person was younger. Violence against Christian belief keeps rising.
Yet, in spite of all that is happening and seen in this world, if you are a believer in Jesus, you can know the salvation He has for you. There is a freedom in knowing that your sins are forgiven and you are in the right standing with God that the world cannot know. There is freedom from fear in knowing that you will live for eternity with God.
You do not have to be afraid of the way things are going in this world. Jesus has already overcome this world when He rose from the dead. No power is greater on this earth than death, yet Jesus conquered death.
Jesus is your strength, defense and salvation. Trust in Him and do not fear this world, despite what is going on around you. In the end you will win!
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your salvation; that you will not fear this world; that you will not fear destruction; and that you will know the hope and salvation you can have in Jesus.