Bear The Yoke

Bear The Yoke

Lamentations 3:28-30

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,

    and let him be filled with disgrace.

This post is a follow-up to my post, Waiting For You.  In that post I wrote about verses 25 through 27 which precede the above verses.  I wrote about the long, never-ending journey of seeking the Lord, and how you find the Lord bit by bit each day.  The Lord is always there waiting for us to find God.  The post also referenced, “bearing the yoke” of consequences of your decisions, particularly your bad decisions.  It is better to suffer and learn in your youth when you have time to recover.

In these next three verses, 28 through 30, Jeremiah talks about how bearing the consequences of our actions, we must look inward, take our share of blame and learn.

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.

God has given us a conscience and we know what is right and what is wrong.  We have the inherent ability to distinguish between good and evil.  Some of us just choose to ignore it, or allow our hearts to be filled with worldly desires, and ignore the yoke of the consequences.  But those who bear the yoke realized they have wronged and sinned, hurting others and themselves.

To seek righteousness and improve as human beings we must sit alone and place the blame on our shoulders, just as a yoke is placed on an oxen.

Circumstances vary and are outside of our control, but how we react, what we do, is our responsibility.  We can share with others our mistake and seek solace, but the consequences are ours to sit alone in silence and ponder.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.

When we take on this responsibility for our actions and sins, we feel hurt and sorrow that causes us to double over on the inside.  When we let the pain of our sins sink in that deep, we then realize we must correct ourselves and take control of our actions. We must seek God in our heart, find righteousness, and try not to sin again.

We will sin again, but as we learn from the suffering of the consequences there is hope.  We will recover and learn.  We will learn how to avoid sin.  The more you live your life, the more you seek God and righteousness, the better you become at finding God and righteousness.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

Again Jeremiah is lamenting to us to take responsibility for our sins.  Do not shift the blame.  You are responsible for your actions and must learn that the only person who can bring disgrace upon you is you.  No one else can force you to sin. You control you and are responsible for you.  This is the yoke that God has placed on each of us.  Your mistakes and sin are your burden, placed there by you and only you can lift them.

Sit alone in silence, bury your face in the dust, and realize the one who strikes your cheek in disgrace is you.  Then you will begin to learn.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Eating The Sour Grapes

Eating The Sour Grapes

Jeremiah 31:29-30

In those days they shall no longer say:

“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
    and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

When I read these verses two words came into my head.  We’ll talk about that a little later in this piece.

In ancient times it was thought that the sins of the father, or the “eating of the sour grapes” as referred to in these verses, were paid for by their children and their succeeding generations.  When the Israelites we’re conquered and carried off to Babylon the children were paying for the sins of their fathers.  But many of those children were also eating the sour grapes.  Much like their fathers, the children continued the idolatry and worshiping of false gods.  They continued the abominations practiced by their parents. Continue reading

Personal Responsibility

Personal Responsibility

James 1:13-15

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

What is James talking about in these verses?  He is talking about personal responsibility.

He is telling us that temptation and sin are of our own doing.  We are not puppets and God is pulling the strings.  We are all free individuals able to make our own decisions and choices.  And with freedom comes responsibility, personal responsibility. Continue reading

Power, Corruption, Sin, Truth

Power, Corruption, Sin, Truth

Jeremiah 26:10-11

When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”

What has Jeremiah said or done to make the officials of Judah want to have him perish?  Well, let’s look back at Jeremiah 26:4-6: Continue reading

Give Your Best

Give Your Best

Malachi 1:13-14

But you say, ‘What a weariness this is”, and you snort at it, says the LORD of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD.  Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.

I’m just about all the way through the Old Testament on this go round with the Bible.

This verse spoke to me beyond the literal interpretation.

Animal sacrifices are obviously an antiquated idea.

They existed in Biblical times to drive home the seriousness of sin.  Through these sacrifices you atoned or paid for your sin.

The price was steep.  You sacrificed your best. You sacrificed your unblemished, your males who could produce quality off spring, the males that could grow your flock and enrich your wealth.

You give your best to God because God comes first.  By not giving your best you anger God and hurt yourself. Continue reading

The LOVE Of Money

The LOVE Of Money

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

I think this verse is one of the most misquoted verses of the Bible.

I know as a child and a teenager I often misquoted this verse and I remember my grandmother correcting me.

Most people paraphrase this verse especially when trying to make a compelling case against corporations, profits and capitalism.

They will leave out the one key word.  They will say “Money is the root of all evil”.  But if you read above, you will notice they omitted “love”. Continue reading

Hard Headed

Hard Headed

Isaiah 48:4

Because I know that you are obstinate,
    and your neck is an iron sinew
    and your forehead brass,

This is Isaiah summing up man.

In Isaiah 48, Isaiah is telling the Israelites how God has shown them miracles, brought them out of bondage, and informed them of the consequences of their actions.  God reminds them that all the things told to them and shown to them have come to pass.  The Israelites knew of the consequences of their actions and chose to ignore them, they turned to man-made idols for their salvation. Continue reading