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That Vicious Cycle

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Judeans who lived in the land of Egypt, at Migdol, at Tahpanhes, at Memphis, and in the land of Pathros, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the disaster that I brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah. Behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of the evil that they committed,provoking me to anger,in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they knew not, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers. Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’ But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods. Jeremiah 44:1-5

Philosopher of the 19th and 20th centuries, George Santayana once said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Sadly, this is a very true statement. I'm not going to talk about politics, or the current state of affairs, but rather I hope to point us toward our own faults, as individuals, so that we can be the healing and change through Christ that we want to see in the world. This morning, I was telling my two oldest sons about the sermon I was going to preach (through Joshua 8), and talked about how God did not grant victory to Israel because one of them, a man named Achin, took things God said were devoted to destruction, or to the Treasuries of the Lord, and hid them for Himself. Because of Achin's sin, his family was ruined, and 36 Israelites died in a battle that should have easily been won. My oldest said "That's kind of like King Saul when Samuel told him to destroy the Amalakites, and he didn't!" He's not wrong! Saul, though King and subjected to remember the Law of Moses forgot what happened when the people settled the land not a few hundred years prior. He forgot the law, and God's word, and thus repeated the sin that cost Achin his life, which doomed his kingship and his family. Israel had a history of forgetting. It's easy to look at Saul, or the passage in Jeremiah and say "Shame on them...I would never have done that!" Yet, we can look around at many who say they are called by Christ who are trying to live with one foot in the world, and one foot toward the Cross. It can't happen. And when God does not bless us, we wonder why. When we don't see the wonders, or feel His presence we wonder why, when in truth, we have turned to other gods, pursuing our own pleasures as opposed to submitting to God as our sovereign ruler. We repeat the vicious cycle of Israel, we turn from our God, while making a pretense of following Him. We forget that if we try to have God on our terms, we don't have Him at all. The only way to end the cycle is complete and total submission to God, remembering the words of Jesus "If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15)

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