The second half of Jeremiah 17 has a couple strong teachings we need to pay attention to. First the people were asking “to see something happen”. Why is it that we struggle so much with faith? We are dependant on seeing in order to believe. But more importantly, why do we have so much trouble believing when we see? Having just experienced the power of God’s nature in terms of storms and tornados and floods – it doesn’t take much for me to get the fact that God is in control. Throw in a tsunami, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes and all the other weather we have been experiencing – it really makes it almost impossible to miss God as far as I can tell. But then consider the mountains, the oceans, the miracle of life…..it goes on and on. There is something happening all the time that reveals God’s handiwork. The issue is not God, it is our willingness to look and acknowledge His work. The people didn’t get it and Jeremiah asks God to “lower the boom” on them. God will make Himself known to us one way or another. We need to pay attention and get that.
The last section of the chapter deals with the Sabbath. God tells us not to “use the Sabbath to do business as usual”. This is an area that certainly has changed significantly since I was a kid. The Sabbath has become a day to catch up and do lots of things beside spend time with God and family. It has become a day about me rather than about God far too often. God makes it clear what the problem is here: “They paid no attention to what I said and went about their own business, refusing to be guided or instructed by me”. We tend to want to make up the rules all by ourselves. We want to interpret things in ways that fit our agenda. God isn’t into that approach. He wants us to be obedient and walk in His truth. He wants us to embrace a combination of walking, talking, praying, pondering, and studying God’s Word. He wants us to dwell with Him. That means we know His ways and we live like that. I don’t claim to have the Sabbath figured out beyond suspecting that I am missing the mark here. Some weeks I do better than others, but honestly my motive is not making it His which is the objective. So I need to get into the mode of being guided and instructed by Him. I need to listen and then obey. That is what God is interested in. He wants obedience. Are you focused on that?