There are always certain danger signals which become quite evident when one’s physical or spiritual health declines. We respond to signs of physical deterioration by running instantly to a trusted doctor for advice and treatment. We are certainly not indifferent to the danger signals which could mean an impending heart attack. I simply can’t understand how thinking people can be indifferent to the moral decay around them and in their own families.
Jeremiah, who wept over the sins of Israel, not only saw the deep spiritual and moral decline but also warned them of the imminent Judgment of God. Had the people of Israel heeded his timely warning and repented of their sins, they would have saved themselves and their children from innumerable ills and sufferings.
I have noticed that in most people, when they have committed a tragic blunder or grieved God greatly, there comes a period of deep darkness, when they seem quite incapable of seeing or recognizing their fallen state. This period of spiritual blindness lasts long enough to do serious damage to a person or family. By the time they awake, it is often too late to undo the harm. Irreparable loss is sustained and the children are ruined. The pain and loss due to the initial disobedience remains for generations. The marks of our disobedience are plainly printed on our posterity.
When the fruit of youthful sins and the effects of the disobedience of later years are so devastating, how deeply one should repent for every deflection from the path of holiness and seek Christ’s pardon with real brokenness!
Jeremiah laments, “Renew our days as of old.” This is not a mere nostalgic reference to the “good old days.” Sometimes this phrase can be very misleading. In our days knowledge has greatly increased. Hence rapid changes are taking place around us. The stranglehold of some superstitious traditions [is] broken, and with the rubbish, some useful standards of conduct too have been discarded. The sacred institute of marriage is being belittled by those who break God’s laws and wreck their own homes.
From twenty years to thirty, it is a pretty fast lap in the race of life. By the time the wildly speculating and dashing twenty-year-olds crash through the thirty-year barrier, they are disillusioned, broken, haggard, weary and jaded. What is more, some of them are bitter and frustrated. They simply want to forget their teenage years and their wild twenties.
Jeremiah knew that God had promised His children that they would be the head and not the tail if they would obey His laws and statutes (Deut. 28:13). Further, the unerring manner in which God had led His children out of their slavery in Egypt, across the Red Sea and through the wilderness, where nothing practically grew, was indelibly written on the consciousness of Jeremiah. Thus, it was quite natural for him to pray, “Lord, come back to us; Lord, renew us.”
True spiritual renewal is necessary for every child of God, for every church or missionary Fellowship like ours. The Lord Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. What an insignificant and tiny little thing is the mustard seed! But life comes out of it and it grows until the birds can come and lodge on its branches. So does new life grow in a humble and broken-hearted man.
When the new life begins, significant things begin to happen. Where life had become dull, painful and boring, new strength and grace break forth. How many have told me of their thoughts and plans to end their lives. In the midst of their gloom and darkness, the Lord Jesus suddenly met them. Their lives were so completely transformed that none would recognize them as the same people.
It is the powers of darkness which tell you, “End it all; one leap, one plunge, one gulp of poison and it is all over. Your misery will end.” No, that is not true. Real misery begins in hell, “where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.” It is an awful sin to attempt to kill yourself. God says, “Thou shall not kill.” Death is no cure for anyone’s misery but it only adds agony and sorrow to those around you.
Let us be positive, let us give one chance to God. When you study the Bible and begin to tell your need to the Living and Loving God, hope begins to break out and trust in the Saviour who cares begins to warm your cold heart.
Have you lost your health? Ask the Lord Jesus to give it back. I well remember the doctor who was brought to my boyhood home in a taxi. The sad-looking wife and the taxi-driver helped the paralytic into the house. My father prayed for him. A few days after, the same man walked away unaided from our house. Ask the Lord to renew your health.
There are many today who have weak nerves. I tell them, “Ask Jesus to give you new nerves, strong nerves.” Where there is lovelessness, much negative talk and bitterness, there is ample chance to get bad nerves. Love is the cure.
Our God is the God of new beginnings. He is the God of Renewal and Revival. When an old car is junked after several years of use, no one attempts to repair it. Your life may seem to be beyond repair, you have wrecked and damaged it so greatly, but Jesus is able to renew you completely. That is why the unique term is applied to Him. He is the Saviour indeed! Let us not allow our pride to be a stumbling block to our progress.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon