In the past few weeks I have been thinking about – and teaching on – the grace of God.
When you give much thought to the subject and when you look at the staggering promises of existential fulfillment in the scriptures, it is hard to escape the question of whether we fail to receive His grace because of our own stubbornness and lack of faith. Do we frustrate the grace of God?
I’ve been reading lately in Jeremiah. I may be fooling myself on this point, but I do think I have come to the place where I can distinguish Jeremiah’s voice. That is to say that I think I have come to appreciate him as a poet. I’ve come to appreciate his manner of expression. Of course, so much of his voice will be lost in translation from his original Hebrew into English, but his voice is still discernible, I think, even against the other canonical prophets. It is a voice that catches and grips you.
Here is a passage I read this morning that speaks eloquently to the notion of frustrating God’s grace:
Jeremiah 5:23-25English Standard Version (ESV)
23 But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say in their hearts,
‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
the weeks appointed for the harvest.’
25 Your iniquities have turned these away,
and your sins have kept good from you.