A friend was recently speaking metaphorically about the manufacturing business and comparing it to the production of wine (where a business needs investments to run, grow, and continue to be relevant and profitable for a long period of time). To make wine you need seeds for the grapes, fertile soil, sunlight, water, attention to the vines, machinery, and a lot of equipment to store and ferment the juice until it is ready to be bottled. People are also needed for the care of the vineyard, harvesting the grapes, and executing all the various processes to ensure a successful (and delicious) final product. There’s also marketing, distribution, financial management, and much more. Without any of the necessary “ingredients,” there can be no success in the wine business.
That description has one important thing missing. Our sustainer, God almighty. Without his provisions, without the life he breathes into us, without his blessing, there is nothingness.
Today’s reading: Jeremiah 8-10; 2 Corinthians 11
Jeremiah 8:4-12 talks about false prophets, the sin of man, and God’s brewing anger. To paraphrase the sins (from the NLT version) we:
- Are even more sinful as we don’t turn away from our sins (v.4)
- Cling to our lies (v.5)
- Lie about everything and have no remorse (v.6)
- Do not know the Lord’s laws (v.7)
- Write lies about God’s word (v.8)
- Reject the word of the Lord (v.9)
- Are greedy and fraudulent (v.10)
- Superficially respond instead of being peaceful (v.11)
- Are unashamed of our sin (v.12)
As a result of these sins, God promises his judgment:
I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the Lord, have spoken!’ (Jeremiah 8:13)
I take too much for granted and am guilty of returning to the same sins over and over so this is a stark reminder of God our sustainer (everything good that we have comes from him) and that God’s anger and punishment are real.
Just one sin separates us from God, and therefore he has every right to punish us and take things away. Our sins put us into voluntary bondage and leave us with feelings of guilt and shame. Whether we admit it or not, there’s still that soft voice letting us know we are in the wrong.
What then shall we do?
- Ask God to reveal our sins so that we can confess (telling him what he already knows to be true). Fill our hearts with gratitude for God’s love for us and what he has done and continues to do with us. Put all our hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to the Holy Spirit speak to us and reveal a way out from our sin.
- Stop sinning, stop trying to do it on our own, and put every situation in our lives through the lens of God’s word (The Bible). Therefore, don’t put up with false teaching. False teaching is anything that doesn’t align with God’s word. The early Christians were prone to this, and we can be as well if we are not careful. “You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” – 2 Corinthians 11:4)
- Watch out for Satan’s deceit as he is the ruler of lies. He loves to twist just the smallest of facts to lure us away slowly but surely from God. “But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
Don’t lose hope or heart! Our God is the same today as he has ever been. He loves us more than we can comprehend, and with each new day, we have the opportunity to know him better, to become more like his son Jesus (through trust and obedience), to share him, and ultimately spend eternity with him. The more we fill our lives with God’s truth and light, the less room for sin. How will you choose today?