Storied Reflections — 23 July 2020 Devotional

Jeremiah 2:1–13; Matthew 9:35–38; John 7:37–39

Jerusalem was heading at full speed away from God and toward destruction. In many respects, this passage is God’s lament for Jerusalem. It is also, in many regards, the lament for the entire heritage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

When we read, “Israel was holy to the LORD, the first fruits of his harvest (Jeremiah 2:3),” we can readily see that this was indeed not only about Jerusalem. Then when we read about the Lord of the Harvest, it’s easy to tie Jesus’ words to the concept in Jeremiah.

There are two important aspects to this. First, is that from a Law standpoint (and even to the offerings of today) God is the Lord of our success. This means that we recognize that we are God’s beneficiary and respond in gratitude.

The second aspect is the implication that Israel was not the only harvest. Yes, they were the first fruits. That leaves the rest of the harvest, which is the rest of the world. In other words, it’s us.

Something that needed to be addressed was Jerusalem’s arrogance about God. The overwhelming opinion was that they didn’t need God, and all these other gods were good enough or even better.

Some will be quick to point at a particular country, and say, “yes, that is why the country is…” The reality is that Israel is the country called. The rest are a people called.

Jerusalem (and the world) had long fallen into the lifeless hands of useless idols. People were eager to do so. They do so today.

Thus, it becomes a critical point regarding water. It shouldn’t be lost on us that “Living Water” is used here. For Christians, it is easy to tie “Living Water” to Jesus. This also shows that Jesus was tying himself to/as God when he used that language.

In many respects, the objection is that Jerusalem acts as if it is independent and pulled itself up by the bootstraps (using a more modern phrase). Jerusalem, as part of its story, should know the truth.

The same could be said of us. Even we Christians, especially American ones, can tend toward so-called self-reliance, which is like building our own cracked cistern. It holds water, for a time. It ages. It leaks. And the water is stagnate.

※Prayer※

Lord, help us to wisely look at the story of Jerusalem and Israel, applying your Truths to our lives. Help us to put all things in perspective, that we may live life fully under your wings. Amen.

※Questions※

1) What does harvest look like in your life? How do you apply first fruits—not just money—to your life?

2) What in your life has been more like the cistern than Living Water?

3) Why is it important to keep in mind that we are called as a people, and not as a nation? Does that mean how/where the nation goes is not important?

Published by

Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.