Tuesday: Psalms 96-97 & Jeremiah 4.1-4

From Mark Booker

Psalms 96-97: The LORD reigns! That's the reality that both these psalms celebrate. The fact that God is king is great news - for creation (96.11-12; 97.1) and for all peoples (96.7). He is just and righteous (96.13; 97.2) and he will finally put the world right (96.10, 13; 97.8). Psalm 96 is overflowing with joyous praise. Are we? Psalm 97 introduces the reality that those who persist in resisting this king's rule by worship of false gods will be put to shame. That God is king is the best news the world has ever known. Instead of resisting that news, let's "hate evil" (97.10) and love the LORD. As we've seen over the past couple months, it's this to which Deuteronomy calls us. 

Jeremiah 4.1-4: Through the prophet of Jeremiah, God calls his people to turn back to him, to circumcise their hearts (v4). This heart change is what Moses urged upon God's people in Deuteronomy 10.16, in our text from this past Sunday. While this is what was needed, the entire Old Testament narrative shows us that God's people were powerless to bring this about. Sin was too strong a master for the in-Adam humanity. We needed divine help, as the Old Testament, including both Deuteronomy (30.6) and Jeremiah (31.31-34), acknowledges (see also Ezekiel 36.26). That divine help ultimately comes in Jesus who defeats sin itself, brings us into the in-Christ humanity, and sends forth the Spirit who circumcises our hearts (Romans 2.29). With this new heart and empowered now by the Spirit, we can live the life that God intends for us, not perfectly but in greater measure day by day as we mature in Christ. With the Spirit we can hear God's call to "break up your fallow ground" in Jeremiah 4.3 and rightly respond.