December 18: Into the Family
Jeremiah 33:1–34:22; Romans 8:1–17; Proverbs 22:1–16
As people once bound to sin and destined for death, our ability to approach God personally—to call Him our Father—should astound us. Yet we sometimes forget to pray. We can take it for granted that He looks out for our every need.
The concept of approaching God as Father would have been a radical concept for the Roman community. In his letter to the church there, Paul discusses how our former lives without God were nothing but slavery to sin and death, the wages of sin. Christ’s work has set us free from this trajectory: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself confirms to our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer together with him so that we may also be glorified together with him” (Rom 8:15–17).
Paul’s audience would have used the term “Abba! Father!” only within immediate family relationships. To call God “our Father” would have been a shocking paradigm shift—especially for Jewish believers. However, Christ’s sacrifice made this relationship possible. He paid our debt and repaired the rift. Because of His work, and because we share in His Spirit, we also share in His relationship with the Father. We can call out to God, just as Jesus did. And the Father cares for us, just as He cares for His Son.
We may forget our intimate relationship with God, yet the Spirit continues to work within us to bring our lives into accordance with this relationship with the Father. Pray for insight and gratitude for your new position because of Christ. When you call on God, relate to Him as a child would to a loving father—bringing all to Him and knowing He understands you and knows what is best for you.
Do you neglect prayer? Pray that the Spirit would work to bring you a childlike faith and trust in God.
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time (while he was yet shut up in the court of prison) saying, Thus saith the Lord, the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, and established it, the Lord is his Name. Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the Kings of Judah, which are destroyed by the mounts, and by the sword. They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill themselves with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my wrath: for I have hid my face from this city, because of all their wickedness. Behold, I will give it health and amendment: for I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace, and truth. And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me: yea, I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned against me, and whereby they have rebelled against me. And it shall be to me a name, a joy, a praise, and an hour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness, and for all the wealth, that I show unto this city. Thus saith the Lord, Again there shall be heard in this place (which ye shall be desolate, without man, and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast) The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts, because the Lord is good: for his mercy endureth forever, and to them that offer the sacrifice of praise in the house of the Lord, for I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Again in this place, which is desolate, without man, and without beast, and in all the cities thereof there shall be dwelling for shepherds to rest their flocks. In the cities of the mountains, in the cities in the plain, and in the cities of the South, and in the land of Benjamin and about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah shall the sheep pass again, under the hand of him that telleth them, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing, which I have promised unto the house of Israel, and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David, and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely, and he that shall call her, is the Lord our righteousness. For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. Neitehr shall the Priests and Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to offer meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, that there not be day and night in their season. Then may my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne, and with the Levites, and Priests my ministers. As the army of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites, that minister unto me. Moreover, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, Considerest thou not what this peole have spoken, saying, The two families, which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no ore a nation before them. Thus saith the Lord, If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the order of heaven and earth, Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, and not take of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have compassion on them. The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord (when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel, and all his host, and all the kingdoms of the earth, that were under the power of his hand, and all people fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof) aying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Go, and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord, behold, I will give this city unto the hand of the king of Babel, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babel. Yet hear the word of the Lord, O Zedekiah king of Judah, thus saith the Lord of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword, But thou shalt die in peace: and according to the burning for thy fathers the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odors for thee, and they shall lament thee, saying, Oh Lord: for I have pronounced the word, saith the Lord. Then Jeremiah the Prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, (When the King of Babel’s host fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah, that were left, even against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these strong cities remained of the cities of Judah) This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with the people, which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them, That every man should let his servant go free, and every man his handmaid, which was an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, and that none should serve themselves of them anymore, they obeyed and let them go. But afterward they repented and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and held them in subjection as servants and handmaids. Therefore the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I made a covenant with your fathers, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of servants, saying, At the term of seven years, let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew which hath been sold unto thee: and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers obeyed not, neither inclined their ears. And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight in proclaiming liberty, every man to his neighbor, and ye had made a covenant before me in the house, whereupon my Name is called. But ye repented, and polluted my Name: for ye have caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set a liberty at their pleasure, to return, and hold them in subjection to be unto you as servants and as handmaids. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Ye have not obeyed me, in proclaiming freedom every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine, and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And I will give those men that have broken my Covenant, and hav not kept the words of the Covenant, which they had made before me,, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the Eunuchs, and the Priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf, I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and unto the hands of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah, and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies shall be fore meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth. And Zedekiah king of Judah, and his princes will I give into the hands of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babel’s host, which are gone up from you. Behold, I will command, saith the Lord, and cause them to return to this city, and they shall fight against it, and take it and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah desolate without an inhabitant. Jeremiah 33:1–34:22
- Now then there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, which walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the Law of the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, hath freed me front the Law of sin and of death. For (that that was impossible to the Law, inasmuch as it was weak, because of the fles) God sending his own Son, in the similitude of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, That that righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, which walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh, savor the things of the flesh: but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the wisdom of the flesh is death: but the wisdom of the Spirit. For the wisdom of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh, cannot please God. Now ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, because the spirit of God dwelleth in you: but if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, the same is not his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sin: but the Spirit is life for righteousness sake. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwellth in you. Therefore brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye mortify the deeds of the body by the Spirit, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For e have not received the Spirit of bondage, to fear again: but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Fater. The same Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the childre nof God. If we be children, we are also heirs, even the heirs of God, and heirs annexed with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:1–17
- A good name is to be chosen above great riches, and loving favor is above silver and above gold. The rich and poor meet together, the Lord is maker of them all. A prudent man seeth the plague, and hideth himself: but the foolish go on still, and are punshied. The reward of humility, and the fear of God is riches, and glory, and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: but he that regardeth his soul, will depart far from them. Teach a child in the trade of his way, and when he is old he shall not depart from it. The rich ruleth the poor, and the borrower is servant to the man that lendeth. He that soweth iniquity, shall reap afflication, and the rod of his anger shall fail. He that hath a good eye, he shall be blessed: for he giveth of his bread unto the poor. Cast out the scorner, and strife shall go out: so contention and reproach shall cease. He that loveth pureness of heart for the grace of his lips, the king shall be his friend. The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge: but he overthroweth the words of the transgresor. The slothful man saith, A lion is without, I shall be slain in the street. The mouth of strange women is as a deep pit: he with whom the Lord is angry, shall fall therein. Foolishness is bround in the heart of a child: but the rod of correction shall drive it away from him. He that opposseth the poor to increase himself, and giveth unto the rich, shall surely come to poverty. . Proverbs 22:1–16