The little girl left her mother from her seat on the plane to run down the aisle to and from the back, wreaking havoc with all the other passengers. The mom was at her wits end. She also had an infant in her lap to care for so riding herd on the obnoxious little girl was difficult. The flight attendants used all their hospitality skills with warnings to the little girl and to her mom to no avail. The girl looked them right in the eyes and kept misbehaving, almost daring them to do something about it. “I can do what I want and I will!”
The passengers were beginning to revolt against her and take care of her with their own devices. The senior flight attendant quickly took the little girl’s hand and led her back to her seat with words of direction and warning in ways she would understand and comply, “You will sit here, buckled in your seat by your mom. You will remain here until we land the plane. This way we will all get to where we are going safely.”
The response of the little girl was a huge smile. Her mortified mom turned to her and said, “Why are you smiling?” The little girl’s stubborn reply reminds me of many who refuse discipline, warnings, and refuse to obey. She said, “I may be tied to a seat, but in my mind, I’m still running around!”
We can create laws for protection. We can warn people of danger and even death for disobedience of the laws. It us up to everyone to adhere to the laws. We cannot change minds or attitudes about the laws.
We can tell the Truth of who God is and what He wants to provide for all who believe and obey. But it is up to everyone to decide to turn from self, change their minds and behaviors in obedience to God. We get a choice.
Jeremiah experiences extreme disobedience of “self-important men” who lead God’s people to death and destruction. When a few disobey, all are affected. How it must have broken Jeremiah’s heart to be told to his face that he is a Liar!
Jeremiah 43, The Message
Death! Exile! Slaughter!
1-3 When Jeremiah finished telling all the people the whole Message that their God had sent him to give them—all these words—Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah, backed by all the self-important men, said to Jeremiah, “Liar! Our God never sent you with this message telling us not to go to Egypt and live there. Baruch son of Neriah is behind this. He has turned you against us. He’s playing into the hands of the Babylonians so we’ll either end up being killed or taken off to exile in Babylon.”
4 Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers, and the people along with them, wouldn’t listen to God’s Message that they stay in the land of Judah and live there.
5-7 Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers gathered up everyone who was left from Judah, who had come back after being scattered all over the place—the men, women, and children, the king’s daughters, all the people that Nebuzaradan captain of the bodyguard had left in the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and last but not least, Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah. They entered the land of Egypt in total disobedience of God’s Message and arrived at the city of Tahpanhes.
8-9 While in Tahpanhes, God’s Word came to Jeremiah: “Pick up some large stones and cover them with mortar in the vicinity of the pavement that leads up to the building set aside for Pharaoh’s use in Tahpanhes. Make sure some of the men of Judah are watching.
10-13 “Then address them: ‘This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies says: Be on the lookout! I’m sending for and bringing Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon—my servant, mind you!—and he’ll set up his throne on these very stones that I’ve had buried here and he’ll spread out his canopy over them. He’ll come and absolutely smash Egypt, sending each to his assigned fate: death, exile, slaughter. He’ll burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods. He’ll either burn up the gods or haul them off as booty. Like a shepherd who picks lice from his robes, he’ll pick Egypt clean. And then he’ll walk away without a hand being laid on him. He’ll shatter the sacred obelisks at Egypt’s House of the Sun and make a huge bonfire of the temples of Egypt’s gods.’”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
This is Jeremiah’s final action sermon. While the Jews were watching, he gathered some large stones and set them in the clay (or mortar) before Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanhes. As he did to the temple in Jerusalem, so Nebuchadnezzar would do to the gods and temples in Egypt. Set fire to it all. How did disobeying God go for His people? Not well.
Attitude determines our altitude. How much farther and higher we will go with God when our hearts are fixed on Jesus, His Son. Jesus talked many times about the attitude of our hearts and the truth that lies withing. He reminded us that God sees each one’s heart as He did when Jesus walked the earth. The condition of our hearts, known to God, reflects and determines our behaviors. Who are we in Jesus? Here is some help:
- “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23
- “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” Proverbs 27:19
- “But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
The Secret. Jesus lives in us who believe with hearts ready to obey. “For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” Colossians 1:27 NLT (Gentiles means everyone in the world.)
The Transformation. Paul describes how to change our minds. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12;1-2, MSG
Live in Peace. “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15, NLT
We see how pride and arrogance leads people in disobedience to You. Help me to guard my heart that belongs to you. I’m yours. Everything I am, all that I’m not but becoming is yours. My life is in your hands. My heart belongs to you. Transform my mind to think and behave more and more like you.
In Jesus Name, Amen