Shared Sept. 4th, 2014
Jeremiah 8:20 says, “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”
Long warm days… The pace of life slowed down… You knew it was a time for flip-flops, sandals, shorts, tank tops, picnics, cold drinks, rest in the shade… but now you recognize “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
What is the word of the Lord for those of us who feel as though our intentions, plans, and dreams have inexplicably petered out and our visions clouded over because we hear the drum beat of the end of the summer’s warmth? Yes, what is the word of the Lord when Fall/Autumn is only on the horizon, but we are already feeling, just ahead, the first chilly winds of Winter and its freezing of our plans? Were you a little too lazy during the summer so that you are where you are now? What interrupted and hindered your good intentions from materializing into some concrete deed?
It may be that you are mourning the end of Summer just because you have not been all that you know you could have been. But come see what God can do! He is the Balm of, and in Gilead; He is the One who makes a difference. See how in our story, the Word of the Lord came to the people of Judah. Yes, the sure Word of God was sent through Jeremiah who offered the people of Judah in two things: first, an analysis of what is wrong: then, a word of hope and assurance for what can yet be done.
Let us look at what Jeremiah the prophet-cum-analyst says. First, he reminds all of us who find ourselves in such situations that our issue lies in the fact that we expected God to guarantee our selfish ambitions while unashamedly we refuse to pay the price of loyalty to this same God who is our provider. Thus Jeremiah identifies the problem, that, we have expected God to make it all happen for us, yet we have not wanted to be disciplined or obey Him.
You see, the people of Judah were asking, v.19 “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” It’s just like parliament in July/August when you can’t find a soul to do some work because everybody you need around to work with has trekked away to some cottage or beach. The legislators are not in their offices or their homes. I can tell you from personal experience how things slow down in the nation’s capital in Summer. So the people of Judah were suggesting that God, like politicians, had deserted His post, His role and probably even hinting that they saw the back of God’s SUV as He drove away on vacation.
Blaming God huh? Well, in the same v.19 God answered them via Jeremiah: “Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with their foreign idols?” So as you can see, God Almighty turns the ridiculous question around. Look at it; just as much to the people of Judah as to us, God asks them what they were doing running off after foolish priorities. You see, we are quick to ask God what He is doing about all our failures. Today, that is what the charisprorbra teach, making God our puppet. But in all sincerity, how can we make demands on God to rescue us at the last moment when we have not maintained our loyalty to Him? How on earth can we expect the Lord, Creator of the entire universe to overlook our laziness, ignore our procrastination, and look the other way when we reject discipline? And then demand that He solve and repair our repeatedly shameful attitude when it is too late?
You and I know that if we don’t study, we will fail our courses come quiz, test, or final examination time. No amount of “O Lord, help me to retain what I cram into my brain so I can pass this exam” prayer will make a difference. So the truth is that if we do not study, we won’t pass our exams! My point here is that there is a discipline to be lived, a procrastination to be curbed, a laziness to be overcome so that even when it is late in life, even when it is late Summer and we think there is no more time, we can at least salvage the dregs of our good intentions and transform them into good deeds.
Having diagnosed their problem, Jeremiah offers a solution by asking them, Jeremiah 8:22 “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” Jeremiah is very cryptic in his oratory. Basically, he’s saying that no matter how late it is, no matter how humongous the task, no matter how slipshod we may have been, it is never too late for the Balm of Gilead to step in and save the day, even if it is the last day of Summer. He is an on time God. Hallelujah!
Proposed prayer: “Dear Father and God, You who are my Comforter be it in sorrow when my heart is faint within me, or when my very own failures have caused things to spin out of control. I thank You that You are the Balm of Gilead. Lord God, I know that late as it may be, it is never ever too late for You, Most High God. It is never ever too late for You to offer new life to my intentions. Please help me put them into action, to Your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
May this weekend be a time when you do, implement your good intentions.