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Paradigm of His Presence

The first few chapters of the book of Jeremiah are rocking my world - and I pray that they really rock “my world” - ya know, earth, but more specifically, the River Valley region… how much our nation reminds me of the nation of Judah during the reign of king Josiah.

During the reign of Josiah, there was a lot of religious and moral reform taking place.  The nation of Judah was tearing down the altars and outlawing the practices that previous generations established in honor of other gods and their immorality.  The priests and rulers must have been ecstatic over such a moral and religious victory - only “Godly” things were allowed to remain.  But the Lord knew that their changes were only exterior, corporate, cultural changes, and that He still did not have their hearts, souls, minds, and bodies.

It’s November 2000, and we made it through Y2K and the impeaching of our last president.  Christians the nation over were tickled pink by their role in the victory of a president who did not shy away from talks of faith and moral conservatism.  Finally, the nation would be headed back down the course our forefathers had placed us on - one based on the ‘freedom to express religion freely’ (not the ‘freedom FROM religion’).  Conservative judges would begin to tear-down the anti-christian laws and precepts established during the past reign of immoral judges and rulers.  STOP!

Disclaimer: I am not (at all) knocking our current president; I’m speaking in generalities - mostly about a perceived  consensus of thought in the christian majority of our land.

The age we are in, in our country is reminding me a whole lot of the reign of King Josiah of Judah.  Nationwide moral reform and consciousness seems to be the agenda of leaders (although the opinions of the nation itself doesn’t line up with these attempts - just like in the nation of Judah)… but, Hey, it’s a victory for the religion of Christianity itself, when a leader who can spearhead these reforms is in power, right?  But is it with “our whole heart”, or is it only in pretense?

“And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the LORD.
- Jeremiah 3:10

What lept out to me in these first few chapters of Jeremiah was the content of the charges that the Lord brought against Judah, and a question that “the fathers” and “the priests” should have been asking.

“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
- Jeremiah 2:13

“Neither did (the fathers) say, ‘Where is the Lord…’” - Jeremiah 2:6
“The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ and those who handled the law did not know Me;” - Jeremiah 2:8

For too long entire denominations… too many of all of us… have tried to carve our own niche into christiandom.  Some through emphasis on doctrinal purity and simple living, and others through good music and cultural relevance.  Some through focusing on good works and charitable deeds, and others through evangelism and church growth.  But how many of us are truly asking that question?

“Where is the Lord?”

It is His desire to establish a dwelling place in and among His people.  It is His desire, the very purpose of our creation, to commune with us - daily.  It is His desire to have friends, not servants; people who would know His will and His heart, and partner with Him in it every day.  The answer to this question is not, “Look at His hand working on our behalf - we are blessed.  We are growing.  We are healthy.”  (Read Jeremiah Ch. 2)  The answer to this question is the question itself.

Let’s start asking Him… “Where are You, Lord? I don’t just want to see what You are doing.  I don’t just want to feel my emotions stirred.  I want You to come in as much as I can handle, and dwell with me.  Where are You, Lord?  You are my exceedingly great reward.”

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