As I read through The Chronological Bible this year, I find myself noticing certain words repeated over and over again. This week I happened upon all the words in one paragraph, and in order!
Then the LORD said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’” (Jeremiah 11:6-8)
For those of us who own a washing machine, the spin cycle operates at high speed so the centrifugal force squeezes excess water out of our clothes so they can dry more easily. Just like there is a spin cycle on our appliances, there is a sin cycle in the Bible.
God asks us to remember who He is and what is required to live a life of fullest blessing and purpose. This doesn’t happen by accident. We must search our Scriptures and remember. Are we spending more time and energy remembering God’s ways than time and energy spent on social media feeds?
James 1:22 warns us “to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We are to exercise our faith in God by doing as He asks. Our life of faith opens the door for God to saturate our lives with Himself. God implores us to obey.
I am stunned at how often God warns. He is not a “You messed up, so I am done with you,” God. He is not a “Three strikes, you’re out,” God. He warns and warns and warns. It makes me think about my own habits in relationships, particularly parenting. Do I warn repeatedly before I must finally act? That is what God does.
Oh, these hearts of ours. They can be so calloused. Life contains life-changing events if only we would let them be life-changing events. How often we remain unchanged in spite of them.
We actually tell God, “No,” in an act of defiance and decision. Refusing is different than struggling. Refusing is a turn-your-back decision.
Talk about a pattern of behavior! Over and over again God reminds and repeats Himself incessantly in Scripture. “Yet the LORD sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.” (2 Chronicles 24:19)
What sins is God talking about? Let me tell you, the sins are EXTREME. In many cases, we would not have supplied repeated warnings because once was enough. Take a look at this.
“The people of Damascus have sinned again and again.” (Amos 1:3)
They beat down the people of Gilead.
The people of Gaza have sinned again and again. (Amos 1:6)
They sent whole villages into exile and sold people as slaves.
The people of Tyre have sinned again and again. (Amos 1:9)
They sold whole villages as slaves.
The people of Edom have sinned again and again. (Amos 1:11)
They chased down Israelites with swords, slashing them continually.
The people of Ammon have sinned again and again. (Amos 1:13)
They ripped open pregnant women with their swords.
The people of Moab have sinned again and again. (Amos 2:1)
They desecrated the bones of Edom’s king.
The people of Judah have sinned again and again (Amos 2:4)
They rejected the instruction of the LORD and were led away by lies.
The people of Israel have sinned again and again. (Amos 2:6)
They sell honorable people for silver and poor people for sandals. They shoved the oppressed out of the way. Father and son sleep with the same woman. They live in luxury earned unjustly or gained in debt.
Things to consider:
- There is only ONE solution to the sin cycle. Jesus.
- Are our hearts refusing God’s warnings in any area of our lives?
- God does not judge unfairly. He is holy (no impurities) and He is love (lots of warnings and justice).
The next time you hear your washing machine spinning wildly, think about
Thank God for rescuing you from the sin cycle through Jesus and pray you don’t slip back into this pattern again by refusing to do what God asks. Stay in the first two stages of the cycle, REMEMBER and OBEY. If you don’t know Jesus yet, realize the cycle cannot be won by self-effort. The cycle never ends, so let Him pay for your sins. He has already paid the price for everyone in the world, so just receive His gift of forgiveness for you too.
Picture Explanation: Pictures of my family sprinkle today’s post because of this dude, right here, my man. This week he was in one of those auto accidents that could have kept him from coming home; yet he was not seriously injured and is home. The accident served as a reminder that every night our people are still alive, God has gifted us once again. Tomorrow has never been promised. He and I turned 28 years yesterday and celebrated at a jazz club. I am so glad we were able to keep the reservation. Hug your people this week and don’t sweat the stuff.
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