Today you should read: Jeremiah 17:19-27
Do you ever return to your home and realize that your front door had been unlocked while you were gone? It’s a creepy feeling, right? Anybody could have walked in. Anybody could have rummaged through or taken anything they’d have liked while you were gone.
The Lord told Jeremiah to go to the “People’s Gate,” which was a prominent gate used by the “Kings of Judah.” Although we’re not sure what or where the People’s Gate was located, or if, like the NASB translation suggests, the phrase People’s Gate is not a proper noun but instead a generic phrase for a particular “public gate.” In either case, Jeremiah knew the gate and was supposed to go there to proclaim a message.
Essentially, Jeremiah’s message was a warning for breaking the Sabbath. Verse 24 and following indicate the good things that will happen if the people listen. However, when we read verse 27, there is a dire warning if the people fail to listen, “But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.”
A failure to keep the Sabbath was a failure to obey and trust in the Law of God. The Sabbath was the physical sign associated with the Mosaic Covenant. By living according to the Sabbath Law, Judah was saying, “I am a covenant person, looking forward to an eternal covenant rest.” Breaking the Sabbath was saying, “My way is better than God’s way. It is better to work than to rest. I don’t need God because I trust only in me.”
Two of the main words we need to focus on are “trust” and “rest.” Ironically, breaking the Sabbath means trusting in yourself and resting in what you can accomplish—for instance, resting in the fruit of my hands and trust in a city gate for my protection. Keeping the Sabbath meant trusting in the Lord’s provision and finding your rest in Him, both temporarily in this life and eternally in the life to come.
Although I do not believe New Covenant Christians are required to keep the Sabbath (see this very helpful article for more info on that position), that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great deal to learn from this passage.
I was reminded recently of a Tim Keller quote from his great book on Jonah called The Prodigal Prophet in which he says, “Sin always begins with the character assassination of God.” The truth of that statement is seen in Jeremiah as well as in our own lives. Our sin always challenges God’s power or provision. Sin says, “I can’t trust you. I can’t trust you want my best or I can’t trust you have the power to bring it about.”
Why do we struggle to find time to be in God’s Word and practice the disciplines of the faith? Because we don’t trust Him.
Why is it hard to attend church and be involved in a biblical, life-changing community? Because I don’t trust Him.
Why do I struggle to share the Gospel with those in my life? Because I don’t trust Him.
Why do I turn to relationships, substances, or other distractions that either is a sin or lead to greater sin? Because I don’t trust Him?
Ask yourself today, in what area(s) of my life am I failing to trust the Lord?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
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