The Scriptorium

Wash Your Heart

Still hard, still in need of cleansing. Jeremiah 4-6

Judgment: Jeremiah 4-6 (7)

Pray Psalm 146.1, 2, 10.
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the LORD;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
The LORD shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Sing Psalm 146.1, 2, 10
(Hallelujah! What a Savior!: Man of Sorrows)
Praise the Lord, my soul, give praise! While I live, His Name I’ll raise!
And exalt Him all my days –God forever reigns in Zion!

Review Jeremiah chapters 4-6; meditate on Jeremiah 4.14-18.

1. Summarize Jeremiah’s third message to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as we see it in these chapters.

2. What had happened to the people to provoke God’s judgment?

It’s always the case that straying from God, which leads to forsaking God and rebelling against Him, begins in the heart. We let our strong desires to love and please be turned from God by all manner of temptations. In the case of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, they had allowed love for God to be compromised by affection for material pleasures and false deities. They may have considered these as harmless indulgences, since, after all, they were still worshiping God and offering sacrifices to Him.

But we sense Jeremiah’s rising sense of urgency and exasperation as the people ignore what they must have regarded as his extreme and cranky preaching.

But God had given Jeremiah these words of judgment to declare against His people. And, as this third message unfolds, it becomes more dire, threatening violence and destruction from the north. But the people just would not listen, and soon enough, they’ll get tired of this tiresome backwater prophet trying to tell them what to do.

In spite of the threat of judgment, God declares that He will not make a “complete end” of His people. They are about to go through birth pangs. And what will be born – a new covenant – will be more glorious than anything Israel had ever known. For now, however, due to their disobedience, discipline was about to be unleashed against them.

1. What kinds of things cause people to stray from the Lord, ultimately forsaking and rebelling against Him?

2. How can we guard ourselves against such drifting from the Lord?

3. How can believers help one another to keep listening to God and focusing their love on Him?

Listen to what was said to the Jews, who were much concerned about such exterior purification, “Wash your heart from wickedness. How long shall hurtful thoughts abide in you?” Let us also wash our hearts, not with filth but with pure water, with almsgiving and not with covetousness. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Gospel of John 73.

Keep me listening to Your Word, Lord, and setting all my affections on You as I…

Pray Psalm 146.

Pray that the Lord will increase your hope in Him, and that He will use you to show His love to the people around you today.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 146.3-10 (Hallelujah! What a Savior!: Man of Sorrows)
Trust we not in prince or man – no salvation’s in their hand;
death shall take them, breath and plans – God forever reigns in Zion!

Blessed are they whose hope resides in the Lord, Christ at His side.
By Him heav’n and earth abide – God forever reigns in Zion!

He is faithful evermore; He gives justice to the poor,
feeds the hungry from His store – God forever reigns in Zion!

Jesus sets the pris’ner free, heals blind eyes that they may see,
lifts those burdened painfully – God forever reigns in Zion!

He the righteous loves the best; wand’rers in His grace are blessed;
needy ones in Him find rest – God forever reigns in Zion!

But the wicked who defame His eternal blessèd Name,
them He brings to ruin and shame – God forever reigns in Zion!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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