You guys know that I love taking little nuggets out of Old Testament Bible Stories. However, I’ve been in Isaiah and Jeremiah recently and haven’t pulled a TON of “applicable” stuff out.
But today. Today is interesting.
Today I found myself in Jeremiah 34. Sometimes it’s a lot of “The Lord spoke to Jeremiah” and then “Jeremiah proclaimed” but then sometimes it’s just “the Lord said” so I’m usually not exactly sure WHO is speaking but let me give you a short Becky Leach context.
First, there is judgment. Y’all, there is always judgement. These are the people of Judah and they just cannot seem to get their stuff together. They keep forgetting God and then proclaiming Him - just like we do, unfortunately. But this was on another level. They were blatantly disobeying God but attempting to honor Him with speech and actions - as if He couldn’t see the MAJORITY of what was going on was disobedience, right?
So anyway - Jeremiah (or the Lord) is recounting a part of their disobedience which I find to be insanity, actually.
When God made a covenant with the Hebrews, He had commanded that servants be released after six years. Typically servants were either working off a debt, or a crime etc. so they were essentially to be released of that every six years. God's goal was that they were to be free.
With the threat of Babylonians invading, the Hebrews remembered their covenant, and released the servants - but get this “Afterward they turned around and took back the male servants and the female servants whom they had set free and brought them into subjection for male servants and female servants.” Her 34:11
Say what now?
I feel like this is so something my kids would do. I’d say “put down the light saber, we are not hitting our brother any more today” and he would indeed put it down, only to pick it RIGHT BACK UP when I looked the other way.
He was “obedient” but they missing the entire point of obedience!!
The point is not the deed itself, but the heart behind the deed. The point in this case was redemption and forgiveness. But to free the servants in an effort to be obedient, but then enslave them once again immediately after doesn't get to the heart of obedience, does it?
So I asked myself, what are the servants in my life? What are the things that I lay down when asked to, but pick right back up again?
Just being super honest here, but gossip is a big one like this for me. I try hard, I really do, but when there are moments of silence in a conversation I can't help but say "did you hear ______?" It's not even juicy gossip, but the fact is that it's simply not my story to tell.
I realize this, make a commitment to not tell other people's stories and perhaps I do well at the not gossiping part. But what's the point when I still sit and listen in?
Don't you see that it's the same thing?
God's purpose in speaking against gossip is we wouldn't tear our brothers and sisters down. So when I participate in gossip by listening I am missing the entire intent behind God's command!
I are taking back my servants, just as God's people did!
So, friend, whatever thing God is pricking your heart about at this moment, can I just encourage you today? This is a battle that we will forever face this side of heaven. You are NOT alone in this! This is a war that will rage on until the day we meet Jesus and inasmuch as we would like to conquer it, we can only get better.
Our hearts though, when our hearts are after God and His intention behind the commands He has set before us, we will fair much better. It will take us longer to take back our servants and we will be much quicker about correcting our mistakes. Stay in tune with the Lord today, sister, and release those things you keep picking back up.