Power & Might

“Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD.” Jeremiah 16:21 NRSV

MP900422120[1] Despite God’s faithfulness, mercy, patience and generous blessing, God’s chosen people repeatedly turned their backs on God.

God had not failed to give them everything God had promised. God’s love for them had been steadfast and God’s patience abundant. But everything God gave this people, and all that God had revealed to them, failed to secure their love and devotion. Perhaps that’s because they had failed to learn the most important lesson of all, how to love the Lord God with all their hearts, minds and souls, and their neighbors as themselves.

God’s people had failed to learn.

So God told Jeremiah that it was time to bring this people back into the classroom. God had prepared a new lesson plan, and there was going to be a whole lot of teaching going on. But this wasn’t going to be the same old kind of teaching.

Up to now God had used Moses, dedicated leaders and prophets to bring the message to the people. The problem was that God’s people were not very good auditory learners. They had heard the Law and been taught God’s ways. But that information seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other.MP900447467[1]

Neither were they good visual learners. God had revealed God’s self in many visible, tangible and amazing ways. But seeing was not believing for God’s people.

Now it was time for some experiential learning. God’s people were going to have a first-hand experience of God’s power and might. That experience would take a heavy toll on them. Many would die. Others would be taken captive to foreign lands. God’s people would pay double for their sinful ways. God would cleanse the land by cleansing the hearts of the people.

God cleanses the hearts of God’s people.

The purpose here was not just to exact a penalty, but to teach a lesson. God needed the people to know that they had mistaken God’s patience as indifference. They had also focused on the promises God had given them, while ignoring God’s requisite call to faithfulness and devotion. Because of that, they saw God as no different from all the other gods being worshipped in that day. Eventually, their belief in the one true God was washed away in a sea of idolatry.

MP910218796[1] So Jeremiah was ringing the school bell. School was back in session. It was time God’s people learned that with the great blessing and promises they had received, came great responsibility.  It was also time for them to learn that God alone was the one true God.

These were painful but necessary lessons. What happened to Israel serves today as a reminder that God does not want to become irrelevant in our lives. God does not want to be worshipped as one of many idols. God wants our single-minded, whole-hearted devotion. In fact, that is the only kind of faith that makes any sense. Anything else robs us of enjoying the benefits of God’s power and love at work in our everyday lives.

God wants our single-minded, whole-hearted devotion!

So, school is still in session. The lesson is that God is full of power and might. God is the Lord of all, the one and only true God.

Let’s use what we have learned about God to draw closer to God, to deepen our devotion to God, to strengthen our faith in God and to redouble our efforts to serve God in everything we do!

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Prayer:

God of power and might, you are the one true God! You are the God of creation, the God who gives life, and the God who calls me to faith and devotion. I am ready to learn. Teach me your ways. Let your power work in me. Let your might guide, sustain and protect me. Be the Lord of my life, and make me into the person you created me to be!

Amen.

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