THE HEART OF COMMANDMENT
Do this, don’t do that. We have a hard time keeping rules the commandments of God because we see them as a list of restrictions without taking time to realize the purpose behind them. The commandments of God are hard to keep when we see them as impersonal requests from a being but what if I were to tell you that these are not just rules, that they are not even simply restrictions alone but that they are in fact safeguards for connection and joy? If we see the commandments of God as rules then we will just see them as rules that will only be hard to keep because in of themselves they seem to lack purpose as impersonal commands but if we see them as safeguards in protecting a relationship then we will not only have purpose but a personal being to take account of.
The heart of commandment is the purpose of protecting God’s heart and protecting our relationship with Him. More than rules, it’s a way of preserving a relationship and from that comes the deepest of joys. Let us guard our hearts as a way of guarding our relationship with God.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
18 “The Lord is in the right,
for I have rebelled against his word;
but hear, all you peoples,
and see my suffering;
my young women and my young men
have gone into captivity.
Despite the severity of the punishment, the prophet Jeremiah acknowledges that God is in the right. When we sin and do not know Christ as Lord and Savior than we will receive the judgment of God but a lot of us when we hear that will question why a gracious and good God won’t just simply excuse it!?!? God doesn’t simply ignore and brush sin away because if He is good, He must deal with evil, which sin is very much evil because of the corruption, separation, and death that comes with it. For God to not deal with sin will make God unjust and not good, to which He is neither of those things. For us to know God’s grace we must know the fullest extent of what sin does to us and His hatred towards it. Grace is a gift that we receive that we do not deserve and to be forgiven is a grace but we will never know the power of God’s forgiveness if we don’t know how much sin hurts Him. If sin was no big deal, than the judgment displayed will not match the crime but if we know that sin is in fact a VERY serious break in our relationship with God and hurts him than we will not argue but acknowledge that His reaction towards it is right.
20 “Look, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my stomach churns;
my heart is wrung within me,
because I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword bereaves;
in the house it is like death.
Jeremiah expresses a deep inward struggle and pain due to sin. Rebellion is not just a physical action but that the deeper issue is the inner pain that comes from it. Jeremiah experiences this inward guilt and pain because in his soul, he knows that more than breaking the rules, the relationship with God has been broken. When we think of sin, we think of God’s punishment and breaking of his laws but we should first think of God’s heart being broken. The severity of the punishment in today’s passage reveals the severity of the break in the relationship between God and His people. God is aware of how sin kills relationship thus his reaction matches that severity.
When you know you’ve hurt the person you care about, you will realize that though you are the one that caused the pain, it causes you just as much pain because of the connection you have with that person. Today let us move away from simply seeing laws but let us move towards protecting our hearts by protecting God’s heart.