Living Lent – Day 24

Read… Jeremiah 30: 18-22

Their children shall be as of old, their congregation shall be established before me.

Jeremiah’s ministry must have been very hard; God had given him a difficult, unpopular and unwelcome message to speak to the people of Israel, and he did so with obedience and personal sacrifice.

Throughout the book of Jeremiah we can read something of the prophet’s struggle with what the Lord has called him to do. We can read his conversations with the Lord and share something of the frustration and even anger that he feels. And yet, despite all of his personal sufferings, the ridicule, the humiliations, beatings and imprisonment… despite all of this he remains faithful and obedient to his calling.

Here in chapter 30 he does, at last, have a message of future hope; of the restoration of Israel, and of their relationship with God; a message that people will want to hear. But this reprieve is only temporary and Jeremiah soon finds himself delivering difficult words once again.

The book of Jeremiah leaves us in no doubt that relationship with God is not a one way street; it is not all a matter of a God who is endlessly giving, undemanding, full of grace and eternally blind to the failings and weaknesses of his children. No healthy relationship can be like that.

Our covenant prayer, on page 288 in the Methodist Service Book, reminds us each year of the call to obedience and sacrifice; of a God who’s commands are central to our faith; that we are not promised a life of ease and comfort simply because we have promised ourselves as faithful followers of Christ.

Ultimately, God’s promises are true – that if we have faith in Christ, if we believe in Him, and we seek to love the Lord with all our heart and all our mind and all our strength, then we will one day meet Him face to face and rest in Him for eternity.

There is always hope.

A Prayer: May you see beyond the darkness and trials of this world – to a greater hope and a greater eternal destiny. Whatever troubles you bear, whatever hard things are required of you, no matter how impossible the task may sometimes seem… may the God of hope light your path and provide you with the strength, courage and faith to be obedient and true.

Ponder… Psalm 137:1-4 expresses the inability of the people of God to sing praises to God while in the alien land of Babylon. Is it really the case that because the Temple was destroyed so was the worship of the people?

Pray… FOR OUR COMMUNITY Pray for those in our community who are unemployed or seeking work, that they may be given patience and resilience in their search. Pray that we may be a community that offers support, encouragement and even practical help when people need it. We think especially of those for whom the lack of employment is leading to financial or other strains in their lives. FOR THE WORLD We pray for all of those in the wider world who are looking for work, thinking especially of those families for whom employment is now entering its second or third generation. We pray that the fast growth in technology that we are experiencing does not impact too heavily on the need for manpower.

Act… Use the washing up water to water some plants.