Archive for December 1st, 2017

This passage graphically pictures the reality of sin. The Hebrew word for ‘sinned’ in v7 is translated to carry various meanings: to miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, be considered unclean. It can mean that you’ve missed the mark, induced or caused others to sin and brought yourself into a place of guilt or condemnation or punishment.

There is a wilfulness about it that is implied here. But, there is also a helplessness about it – as the old confession says: there is no health in us. There is a presence of sin which somehow pervades us, gets hold of us, inside us, causes us to say and do that which we know is wrong and yet avoid the good we know we’re called to do. As J.John memorably puts it: at the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. There is a stain of sin which leaves its mark upon us.

But we also see here the power of sin and in this we see, I think, a picture of the power of addiction – whether to alcohol, other drugs, pornography, love of money. It’s as if we are pursued by sin, enslaved by it, we stagger under the weight of its pull and attraction. It can become our master and we find it impossible to set ourselves free. Such addictions of course promise pleasure but only lead to enslavement, captivity and death. Its outcome is described here as the absence of joy and dancing, a sense of despair, absence of life, a weariness with life and an absence of rest.

Jesus had much to say about sin. He spoke about both its stain upon us, its presence within us which define us as unclean and in need of forgiveness – read Mark 7:20-23 for an all-embracing internal examination. He spoke about the power of sin in John 8:34-38 but only to hold out the hope that knowing Jesus sets us free from its grip.  But, as in Jeremiah’s day the choice for freedom and life is still one that we have to make for ourselves. Especially in addictive practices it is not just the power of the Holy Spirit that will do it – we need to want to be set free and we need the company of others to stand with us. There is a call here to live in a transparent way with close friends who will hold us accountable.

The images and graphic pictures of the desolation around him causes Jeremiah to end with a plea for restoration. There is a longing for national revival – a reconciliation with God. He refuses to accept that God has rejected the people and longs for him to move.

 

 

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Is there anything that holds a grip over you that you struggle to be free from. Choose to tell someone today.  Spend some time praying for anyone you know who struggles with addiction. If any more time then pray for our nation to turn to God in repentance and trust.

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