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Which Way Are You Looking?

By John A Carroll

Week 45 in the Word—November 5-11, 2021

This week we finish the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations and continue in Hebrews.

Which way are you looking? Depending on your age, you may find yourself looking back to an earlier time in your life: the good old days! Even some younger folks talk about their lives as if they were 100 years old. It is a matter of perspective.

Jeremiah bemoaned the loss that came to Jerusalem and Judah. He grieved for the suffering, the poverty, the devastation of the once-glorious kingdom. On our schedule below, Thursday’s devotional is entitled Goodbye to the Good, Old Days. Jeremiah and all the people of his generation needed to accept by faith that God was going to do something new—give His people a new covenant. In Hebrews we learn more about that new covenant with a perfect, eternal High Priest who offered not the blood of bulls and goats but His own blood on the cross for sinful mankind.

The good old days are a myth. Many selectively filter out unpleasant experiences and remember only the best times. But in Ecclesiastes 7:10 we read:

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

Your life today may not seem to be as happy as at a previous time, but, if you are in Christ, God has a better way to focus. The afflictions and burdens of today are the ones we must pass through on our way to glory. Trials abound--physical ailments, financial difficulties, relational problems, anxieties about family members, fears about the future.

It was just before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion that Jesus said,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 14:27; 16:33 ESV).

As disciples of the Lord we are called not just to look back but to look up with confidence where our perfect, sinless, High Priest sympathizes with our weaknesses and provides the mercy and grace we need for our every need.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV).

Jeremiah found a ray of hope in the dark sky of a Babylonian Captivity. After pouring out his anguish he wrote,

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lam. 3:21-24

Have a great week in the word and keep looking up to Jesus and hope in Him!

Week of November 5-11, 2021

November 5/Day 309 Drifter, Be Warned (Jeremiah 40-42; Hebrews 2)

November 6/Day 310 The Confusing Faces of Sin (Jeremiah 43-45; Hebrews 3)

November 7/Day 311 Confidence in the Worst of Times (Jeremiah 46-48; Hebrews 4)

November 8/Day 312 The Everlasting Covenant (Jeremiah 49-50; Hebrews 5)

November 9/Day 313 Vows of God (Jeremiah 51-52; Hebrews 6)

November 10/Day 314 The Perfect and Eternal Priest (Lamentations 1-2; Hebrews 7)

November 11/Day 315 Goodbye to the Good, Old Days (Lamentations 3-5; Hebrews 8)

This schedule and devotionals are taken from my book Concealed and Revealed: a year in the old and new testaments. Available here.