September 2, Sunday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

 “Are you free today?”

Jeremiah 34:17

“Therefore this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine.”

I don’t know about you, but I do enjoy a bit of humorous sarcasm with friends. So whenever I discover sarcasm in the Bible, it tends to grab my attention. As you know, sarcasm is a literary device in which the speaker actually means the opposite of what is being said.

In this verse, we see God using sarcasm to convey a solemn judgment upon the Israelites. During the time of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, those Israelites who owned slaves had proclaimed freedom for them. They had even made a covenant with God in verse 15 in setting the slaves free. (Note: Friday’s QT revealed that it was not economically advantageous for owners to care for the slaves during the siege.) However, when the siege was lifted (temporarily), these owners quickly cancelled their freedom and forced them to be slaves once again. This breach of the covenant only infuriated the Lord.

So the Lord sends Jeremiah to let the owners know that He too will proclaim “freedom” for them. And just in case the owners did not understand the Lord’s sarcasm, He explained that this “freedom” would bring about their fall by the sword, plague, and famine. The slave owners who were “free” from the covenant would also pay a steep price and longer be protected by the other Party of the covenant, the Lord Almighty.

Today, we believe that we have been given our freedom. We correctly believe that Jesus has set us free from our sins. But some of us erroneously assume that true spiritual freedom means freedom from having to obey God’s commands. Obeying God’s commands is wrongly seen as a path of legalism. However, if we continue to live a life apart from obeying God’s word, that “freedom” would only lead to death (e.g., addictions). Paul says in Gal 5:13 – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

For the Israelite slave owners, their freedom led them down the path of total destruction. We, too, must not allow our freedom to lead down the path of destruction by disobeying the Lord. Instead, we are to use our freedom to serve others with humility and love.

Prayer: Lord, may the freedom that You have proclaimed in our lives through Your Son, Jesus Christ, lead us to serve others with love and humility. Thank You for the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. In His Name, Amen!

Bible Reading for Today: Job 14

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