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Led Into the Wilderness to…Live, Part 2

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Led Into the Wilderness to…Live, Part 2

Nebuchadnezzar had just captured and destroyed Jerusalem, taking all but the poorest people away into exile to Babylon.  Jeremiah had been faithfully warning his fellow Israelites for years that they would suffer devastating consequences if they didn’t repent and return to the Lord, but they wouldn’t listen.  They deserved their punishment; he didn’t.  “Saint Jeremiah” had done nothing to deserve this emotional agony and destitution. 

Really? God said.  Try looking at your own sins, shortcomings, character defects.  Jeremiah didn’t have a glib remark this time.  To his credit, he recognized that God doesn’t have lists of good sins and bad sins.  James 2:11 hadn’t been written yet, but Jeremiah understood the principle: For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (NAS). 

Jeremiah realized he had become self-absorbed.  Me, me, me.  The gift of prophecy is for other people’s benefit, not ours.  These two revelations must have hit home hard, because Jeremiah began confessing his own sins, rather than condemning everyone else.  His focus switched from “me” to “us”. 

                Why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?
                Instead, let us test and examine our ways.
                Let us turn back to the LORD.
                Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say,
                We have sinned and rebelled.” verses 39-42(NLT)

The next thing that happened was equally significant:  Jeremiah understood his depression and pain weren’t his alone.  He was grieving for his people.  Jeremiah wasn’t the only one in the dark, walled in with pain, behind the locked door of exile they couldn’t escape.  He no longer was one;  he was one of.

                Tears stream from my eyes
                because of the destruction of my people!
                My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop
                until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees
                my heart is breaking
                over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem. verses 48-51 (NLT)

So what does Jeremiah’s tale of woe have to do with me?  Read Part 3 of this article.

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About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.

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