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Friday, May 16, 2014

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God adopted a tough stance toward the Israelites. He finally declared that they were so disobedient and determined to follow their sinful ways that no one could intercede for them to do any good.

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth’” (Jeremiah 15:1, NKJV).

Think about the harshness of this statement. No one could intercede on behalf of God’s people. No one.

Remember the enormity of the evil of the Israelites when God brought them out of Egypt? They had been drifting away from God for 400 years. They had forgotten God’s laws, including the sanctity of the Sabbath. Their sins grew increasingly grave as God taught them His ways in the wilderness. Several times God expressed disappointment that He had delivered them from Egypt and was ready to destroy them, only to back down amid the pleas of Moses, their leader.

King Saul faced a similar problem, and the high priest Samuel interceded - for a time - between him and God.

But God told Jeremiah that not even Samuel or Moses could intercede for the people. That is how far the Israelites had strayed. Was all lost? Would all be lost for us under similar circumstances today?

God offered hope to Jeremiah, saying: “If you return, then I will bring you back; you shall stand before Me; if you take out the precious from the vile, you shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, but you must not return to them” (vs. 19).

Moses, Samuel and Jeremiah foreshadowed our Heavenly Intercessor, Jesus, who pleads on our behalf.  The Jeremiah story illustrates God’s mercy but it also serves as a warning. If we persist in disobedience, determined to follow our sinful ways, the day will come when no one will be able to intercede for us.

Prayer: “Thank you, Jesus, for interceding for me. I want to obey You; I really do. Please help me to obey. Amen.”

Andrew McChesney
Journalist in Russia.