So I just finished reading through and meditating on the Psalms and Proverbs. It was awesome. It was so convicting and I learned and am still learning so much. I began to pray and ask the Lord what He would have me read next. I just finished a long in depth study of Galatians so right now I am just going through a season where I want to rake in a lot of Scripture, instead of digging deep.
Well I was sitting with my roommates one night and we were doing one of our favorite pass-times: looking up various Myers Briggs personality match ups. We love to do this for different movies and TV shows. For example, mine is INFJ and my personality type in Lord of the Rings is Galadriel. It basically tells you the character that is most similar to you. Well someone looked up the character match for biblical figures. My personality, INFJ, matched up to Jeremiah.
The weeping prophet.
I have to say, I wasn’t too pleased. Jeremiah lived during a pretty depressing time of Israel’s history and he had a pretty depressing message for the Israelites. But throughout my whole life, I have definitely seen how that comparison has rung true. I have always been the one to say the “unpopular” thing. In many situations I have been the one to stand against the crowd because of standing up for some principle, big or small, that I thought was right.
So I started to read Jeremiah. And man have I been convicted.
People always ask, “why did God wipe out entire peoples?” or “Why did He do so many horrible things to His own people?” But when I read Jeremiah I find myself asking, “Why in the world don’t the Israelites just turn back to God?!” I mean good grief! If they would only return to Him then He would relent His wrath! When you read about the destruction and consequences that He sends their way you will be amazed that they STILL stiffen their necks and refuse to obey the Lord.
Not only is God just, but God also deals with sin because He is merciful. Which is better: for God to allow the Israelites to go on killing the innocent and harming themselves and others, OR trying to get their attention? Should He let them go on sinning or should He show them how they are sinning against Him and in the process killing themselves? The more I have read Jeremiah the more I see Jeremiah’s life as a story of mercy. Not wrath.
When I read about the lengths that God is willing to go to get the Israelites attention, to wake them up to their sin, it is actually comforting. And it convicts me. It makes me realize how often I justify sin and take advantage of grace.
Reading Jeremiah shows me the heavy weight and seriousness of sin, but it also shows me the costly price of grace.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer discusses the idea of cheap grace in his book the Cost of Discipleship. Basically he says that because grace is abundant we tend to treat it cheaply. We deal with sin in our lives flippantly, knowing that there will be enough grace to cover it. But if we truly understood how much grace cost, we would never act this way.
Grace isn’t like money. If too much money is printed and circulated, then the value of the dollar decreases. We don’t hold onto a single dollar like we used to. In fact, with any commodity, if there is an abundant supply of it, it is cheap. We don’t have to pay much to obtain it.
But this is not true with grace. It may be true that there is an abundant supply of grace for those who are in Christ, but this doesn’t decrease its value. All forgiveness was bought by the precious blood of Jesus, the Son of God. The Trinity was separated at the cross, and the Son of God took on the wrath of His Father. That was costly.
Reading Jeremiah has taught me once again how flippantly I can treat sin in my life, and how much I devalue grace. I am so thankful that because of Jesus I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me making my heart soft day by day. God doesn’t treat sin in flippantly, so neither should we.
May we all diligently guard our steps, instead of carelessly wandering into sin.