GodSpeak for the Week of December 16
“Light NOW – Joy”
We continue this week with our Advent Sunday theme of putting the “light” of Christ into practice “now,” by considering God’s promise for JOY and by considering the work we will be doing to bless men recovering – specifically and intentionally THROUGH Christ – at Christ Recovery Center (a ministry of Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul).
Day 1…Read Jeremiah 31:1-2.
- Consider this – Jeremiah was sent to prophesy to God’s people in the Judah (i.e., the southern kingdom after Israel and Judah split). Judah – like Israel before – had been in tumult: fighting with her northern neighbor, alliances which had gone bad, overthrow threats from abroad (both from Assyria, then Babylon).
- Consider this – Jeremiah was also sent to prophesy against Judah’s idolatry. God finally punished His people for this repeated sin, by allowing Babylon to overthrow them and send folks into exile.
- Answer this – in light of all of that, what does v. 1 of today’s reading say to God’s people, then?
Day 2…Read Jeremiah 31:2-4 (especially, v. 3)
- Answer this – what does God mean by saying He loves His people with an “everlasting love”?
- Think about how parents love their children (sometimes easy to do, sometimes necessitating “tough” love) – how does that understanding influence how we read this passage?
Day 3…Read Jeremiah 31:5-6
- Answer this – what does God promise will happen again in the days to come?
Day 4…Read Jeremiah 31:7-9
- Consider this – specifically who does God say He will bring back from exile? (hint – look carefully at v. 8)
- Answer this – what does God say those returning to His land will do? How will they respond?
- Answer this – why is this important? What will be the byproduct of the peoples’ reaction?
Day 5…Read Jeremiah 31:10-12
- Consider this – here begin the words of promise in this passage!
- Answer this – jot down every word which speaks of promise and restoration in these verses. What’s the picture that emerges about what God will do for His people?
Day 6…Read Jeremiah 31:13-14
- Consider this – in v. 13, there are two Hebrew words used for the idea of “gladness” and “joy”.
- Hebrew “sasson” = joy and gladness, while
- Hebrew “samach” = to cheer up, make joyful, make merry
- Consider this – one of the greatest exiling problems in our society today is that of alcohol and drug addiction.
- It separates the one suffering from his/her loved ones (in terms of placing a greater priority on their drug-of-choice).
- It puts wedges between relationships.
- It’s destructive.
- It can cost the one suffering legal problems; even their freedom.
- Consider this – the Christ Recovery Center (a ministry of Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul) acts as a safety net for men struggling with addiction – providing them with a Christ-centered community and program to battle this sin.
- To learn more about this vital ministry, please visit – https://www.ugmtc.org/our-work/addiction-recovery/
- Consider this – translated literally from the Hebrew, v. 13 reads like this: “I will turn their mourning (literally, wailing like an ostrich; wailing for the dead) into gladness (Hebrew “sasson” = joy, gladness); I will give them comfort and joy (Hebrew “samach” = cheer up, make joyful, make merry) instead of sorrow (literally, affliction and grief).”
- Answer this – how might these words speak promise and comfort to our brothers at the Christ Recovery Center?