Two Steps to God's Abundance
Many Christians love to dwell in Scripture. There is a huge preference for the New Testament (NT) - it seems there is not much relevance in the Scriptures of old, Psalms and Proverbs perhaps being the exception. The Old Testament revolves around rituals, sacrifices, and the wrath of God. The New Testament is all about our redemption, salvation, and sanctification, and the glorious promises of Christ. It is easy to see why we might prefer to live here rather than in the OT.
This morning I read Jeremiah chapter 22. The title of one paragraph was "Judgement against evil Kings." I will confess, I was instantly put off. Today we have no Kings (in the USA at least), we don't like evil, and we try to escape judgement. There was nothing in this title that made me want to read on. It rang loudly of Old Testament irrelevance. But Hebrews says "the Word of God is living and active," and the OT is the Word of God too. Feeling a poke of conviction at dissing God's Word, I prayed "Lord, you're gonna have to help me see this as living (i.e. relevant 3,000 years later) and active (i.e. applicable to my actions today)."
With new eyes (and a new attitude!) I was taken aback by what I read! Right before my eyes were the secrets to what usher in the most abundant blessings straight from the hand of God delivered in their finest and under protections that only He can muster!
I read about two simple behaviors that if I live by them I can receive this abundance from God; I read that I don't even need to go out in search of them because God knows where I am, and He brings them to me - if I live under two simple mandates. I also read that without my participation in these two simple behaviors, then the blessings that He has secured for me are unlikely to come my way.
Here are the truths from Jeremiah 22 . . .
Verse 3 says "This is what the Lord says: 'Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien [stranger/refugee], the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.' For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then the kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin."
Translating this into modern day it states: The two simple commands are 'Do what is just and right.' It's that simple! If I do that, then God sends whatever powers necessary (v4: kings on David's throne), with all the supplies necessary (v4. chariots and horses), and all the necessary processes & legalities, (v4. officials and their people), into my place of life (v4. the gates of this palace). Nothing is left out! All we have to do is be just and righteous. And whatever happens after that - well it doesn't really matter.
What a loss that we have conveniently justified our laying aside of the OT: socially it is no longer relevant to modern society; and theologically we now have a new covenant with Christ, God's wrath has been appeased, and we no longer live under the law but under grace. These truths of the NT hold, but not at the cost of the OT. God's Word, all of God's word, is living and active. Don't let the dated historical context of the OT rob you of it's blessings. Evaluate the promises under the context of your life today. Ask God to make those translations for you so you can soak up His Word and He will reveal His truths to you for your life, in its own unique way. I am so thankful that I didn't skip past this 'irrelevant' passage about opening up the hand of God. I almost missed the 'How to' lesson on receiving the abundance of God! I almost missed the incredible truths that usher in a Holy life, under a Holy God, with the promises that His love provides here on earth (as well as in eternity).
Jeremiah 22 calls us to be just to widows, orphans, and strangers. Who in your workplace, neighborhood, school or church are these people? Have you reached out to offer help? Have conversation with them about their needs. Specifically ask them if they feel anything is unjust or unfair in their lives. How can you advise or support to help bring about a just and rightful place for them?
What changes do you need to make to qualify for the rewards of being 'just and right' that God speaks of in Jeremiah 22?
In your own life, what temptations exist for not being just? e.g. in a family business, are you taking too much of a stake? In home life, are you carrying less of the burden than you should? Have you declared less than all your income on your tax forms? At work, are you vying for promotion over someone who is more deserved?
Pray and ask God to reveal areas where you need to do better on being 'just' and doing 'right.' Pray for awareness of cross-over ripples, that is, maybe you are upright and just at home, but less so at work. This can compromise God's blessing not just at work, but also at home. Ask God for full revelation across all aspects of your life (home, work, being a neighbor, finances, etc). Confess any shortcomings and pray for strength to be more just and righteous going forward.