Part one with this title took a completely different direction than I had intended in the beginning. As I sat in Bible Study last night at church, I was amazed at how God had used yesterday’s devotion to prepare me to HEAR Him in that Bible study last night. God IS amazing. He continually goes before us to prepare the way. If we will learn to listen to His voice and adjust our lives to His ways, oh what abiding joy would abound in our lives! Today I want to build on the original intent. I begin by asking two basic questions.
1. Do YOU have a HEART for God?
Not 100% sure what all might be involved in that word HEART. I am thinking in term of a yearning for; a desire to know Him fully; a longing to please Him in every breath you take kind of attitude. At your very core, you want to immediately turn from your ways to His ways when the truth is revealed to you.
Psalm 42: 1 (Amplified): “As the hart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God.”
2. Are you confident YOU are in relationship with the Living Lord Jesus Christ?
I am becoming more and more convinced I have to deal with this basic question in my dealings with “church folks.” So many of us appear pre-occupied with things contrary to the teachings of Christ (the heart of God), that I feel we do need to examine our personal relationship with Christ. Do you absolutely know that you will spend eternity in His presence? It is my belief that, as we walk with Him, we WILL walk with Him and not work so hard at getting things done our way.
Several years ago, there was a faithful member of the church I served. She was faithful in her attendance, faithful in her support, and faithful in her service and ministry to others. There is no doubt in my mind she was in a personal relationship with the Living Lord Jesus Christ. When she passed a couple of years after I served the church, I chuckled to myself about one of our regular conversations. She would say, “Preacher, remember when I die I want you to sing ‘I Did It My Way” at my funeral.” To which we would have conversation about that being the worst song I would want sung at my funeral. Oh how I want my legacy to be the singing of “He Did It God’s Way.”
I read recently, “God is interested in whole-hearted stayers, not false-hearted strayers.” We can NOT fool God! The Lord has your name and address. He KNOWS our “secret sin” that interferes with our relationship. Moreover, He knows the REAL condition of your heart. God KNOWS when our status is updated to reflect where we are, who we’re with, what we’re doing, but He also knows our motivation for all! What does God long for in His relationship with us? He longs for hearts that want to know Him. If we are walking with Him today, as we should, then it is our heart to KNOW Him!
In the scripture used in this writing, we see how God encouraged Jeremiah to remain faithful. Jeremiah was God’s prophet to the people of Judah somewhere around 600 B.C. The people of Judah were in exile in Babylon as punishment for their continued disobedience to God. Perhaps we need to learn there are both personal and collective (family, church, nation) consequences for our continued disobedience to God. Nevertheless, God still used Jeremiah to proclaim His truth to His people (thank God for His amazing grace). In this instance, God used two baskets of figs to encourage Jeremiah, assuring him of His redemptive plan for the faithful exiles.
One of the baskets was filled with ripe, juicy figs. This basket represented the exiles that would honor God by returning to Him. The second basket of figs represented the exiles that would refuse to follow Him. Those figs were rotten. God set His eyes on those who would return to Him. He promised to bring them back, build them up, and plant them in the land of His purpose. He would be their God, and they would be His people.
It is my prayer we will HEAR what God is saying to His people (then and now). To ALL that will return to Him (and those that have remained faithful to Him), we can STAND ON THE PROMISES OF GOD! He has promised to bring us back – restoring that relationship with Him and not being exiled to a pagan land; to build us up – to strengthen us and provide all that we need for each day; to plant/establish us as His people to achieve His purpose. Oh, and then the beautiful promise of God – as a part of His family, we will experience the joy of His being our God – our refuge, our strength, our comfort, our help, our everything!
Is your basket of figs ripe toward Him?