Jeremiah 3 & Matthew 17

Jeremiah 3

    “If a man divorces his wife
        and she goes from him
    and becomes another man's wife,
        will he return to her?
    Would not that land be greatly polluted?
    You have played the whore with many lovers;
        and would you return to me?
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see!
        Where have you not been ravished?
    By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
        like an Arab in the wilderness.
    You have polluted the land
        with your vile whoredom.
    Therefore the showers have been withheld,
        and the spring rain has not come;
    yet you have the forehead of a whore;
        you refuse to be ashamed.
    Have you not just now called to me,
        ‘My father, you are the friend of my youth—
    will he be angry forever,
        will he be indignant to the end?’
    Behold, you have spoken,
        but you have done all the evil that you could.”
        The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD.”

    And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say,

    “‘Return, faithless Israel,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    I will not look on you in anger,
        for I am merciful,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD;
    I will not be angry forever.
    Only acknowledge your guilt,
        that you rebelled against the LORD your God
    and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree,
        and that you have not obeyed my voice,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    Return, O faithless children,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD;
        for I am your master;
    I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
        and I will bring you to Zion.
        “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.

    “‘I said,
        How I would set you among my sons,
    and give you a pleasant land,
        a heritage most beautiful of all nations.
    And I thought you would call me, My Father,
        and would not turn from following me.
    Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband,
        so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel,
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.’”
    A voice on the bare heights is heard,
        the weeping and pleading of Israel's sons
    because they have perverted their way;
        they have forgotten the LORD their God.
    “Return, O faithless sons;
        I will heal your faithlessness.”
    “Behold, we come to you,
        for you are the LORD our God.
    Truly the hills are a delusion,
        the orgies on the mountains.
    Truly in the LORD our God
        is the salvation of Israel.
        “But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”

(Jeremiah 3 ESV)

Matthew 17

    And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

    And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

    And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

    As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

    When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

(Matthew 17 ESV)

Matthew 17: How often might we be missing out on the miraculous because we are too unconvinced of the Power we now possess? Jesus has promised that nothing is impossible with God (Mark 10:27), and that we possess the Power to do some even greater things than we see throughout Scripture (John 14:12). What might happen if we would just believe these words of Christ to be true? 

And then there’s this other hinderance in life that most likely disrupts displays of power as well - the foolish and selfish desires of my flesh. Jesus has promised that we will be granted all things that we ask in His name (John 14:14). Surely, He means the things that are consistent with His character and according to His will. I wonder how few are the prayer requests made in accordance with God's will? After all, who can understand God's desires so accurately as to even know what to ask from Him? Even in our requests, we must exercise faith, patience, obedience and complete submission to His greater wisdom. Lord, teach us how to pray.

I no longer want to miss the miraculous because I ask wrongly or ask weakly. Lord, help my unbelief. May we stop playing it safe in life and step out into the wilderness of vulnerability where God's presence and power are promised. May God help us to believe without any doubts that we are the strongest when we find ourselves beyond the boundaries of our own strengths and capabilities. Let us be reminded that we possess a power in the Spirit that helps us in our weakness.