READ: Jeremiah 15-17
THINK: In 1992 a wildfire scorched over 4,500 acres of forest north of Atlantic City. One man who owned a home in the path of destruction saw a giant fireball with 60-foot flames come roaring up across the street from his house before he was finally convinced he needed to leave. He remarked, “I’ve worked 25 years of my life here. The thought of having it gone in 10 minutes makes you want to stay for the last possible minute.”
Part of the reason that this particular fire spread so quickly and powerfully while proving extremely difficult to contain was the fact that the forest was incredibly dry that year. But it wasn’t dry because of a drought; it rained in New Jersey during the summer of 1992. It was dry in large part due to an invasive insect known as the pine looper. The pine looper defoliates trees, ridding them of the leaves which hold so much moisture.
In Jeremiah’s time, Israel had a similar situation. The invasiveness of sin and trusting the things of the world left the nation spiritually dry. Jeremiah warned the people that they had become like dried up shrubs in the desert rather than green, flourishing trees near the river (17:6-8). And because of their sin they had aroused the fire of God’s anger. They continually trusted in men instead of God and their nation was set up to be scorched because of it.
Little sins can become destructive invasive species in our souls – like the pine looper was in the New Jersey forests – that leave us ultimately dried up and without the deep roots of connection to God that we need when times get difficult. Life’s trials can scorch our souls if we aren’t careful about rooting out these sins and making time to connect with God.
PRAY: Search your heart today. Better yet, open yourself up and let God search it. Jeremiah 17 makes it clear that the heart is deceitful above all things and we aren’t even self-aware of the depths of our depravity sometimes. But God is. Ask him to reveal to you the invasive sins that are drying out your soul. Confess that you’ve chased the world instead of chasing him. Confess that you’ve allowed your soul to become dry. Ask God to come and fill you up today, and commit to spending regular time with him so that your spiritual roots will grow deep and you’ll flourish.
Thanks for some convicting thoughts on this passage!