Devotionals from Fall 2015 print issue (Week 10)

(Last issue also included some devotionals based on Jeremiah 2, but these devotionals will touch on different verses. Since this is the Lord’s decree against His people, there is much to be learned from their mistakes, the nature of this world and the nature of God.)

SERIES: JEREMIAH 2, LESSONS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

Monday: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord ‘I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.’” Jeremiah 2:1-2

‘Devotion Of Your Youth’

When I first started playing golf the summer heading into my seventh grade year, I’m reminded of how pure my love was for the game. I played each day simply because I loved it. It was a challenge, and it brought me joy. Many years later, when I was golfing in college, I was extremely aggravated and anxious over the way I was playing. The game was hardly enjoyable to me anymore. I was far removed from my middle school days when golf brought me so much pleasure and joy. It was almost as if Golf was saying to me, “Remember your approach to me in your youth; remember I am a game that was created to be enjoyed.”

In Jeremiah 2:1-2, God reminds his people about the devotion of their youth, when they followed God into the wilderness—resting in Him, enjoying Him, believing He would provide and deliver them from Egypt. Now, however, so much had changed. They had forsaken Him.

As I read this, I’m reminded of the days of my youth when I had my first encounter with God. How on fire and passionate I was for the Lord! Sometimes our years and experiences and different encounters with sin can cause us to become calloused. However, my prayer today is that God, in His grace, would remove the scales from my eyes and help me to see His goodness once more and that I will return to the devotion and innocence of my youth.

By Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum


 

Tuesday: “‘They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’” Jeremiah 2:6

Blessed, Forgotten, and Defiled

At Indiana University’s Assembly Hall, all five of the men’s basketball team’s national championship banners hang in the rafters, as if to remind everyone there, on a daily basis, the prestige of the program, and the demand for excellence in Bloomington, Indiana.

In Jeremiah 2:6-7, God reminds His people of how He brought them into the land of plenty and rescued them from their enslavement to the Egyptians. Then, however, they defiled the sacred land He had provided for them in His grace. Unfortunately, I feel like this is the story of my life: God blesses me, I forget about how He has blessed me, and I defile the land. May we be reminded to reflect on our blessings and swim in His grace, so that we are continually reminded of His goodness and love, the only pleasure greater than the pleasure of sin.

By Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum


 

Wednesday: “‘Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate,” declares the LORD…” Jeremiah 2:11-12

Prone to Trade gods for God

It’s so easy to forget that which brings us the most pleasure in life, God, and chase after the things of this world, thinking we might taste fulfillment.

I have interviewed a number of coaches and athletes who got caught up in the chase of striving to attain the ultimate prize, a championship of some sort, and all the pleasures that come with success—the money, the fame, and the reputation.

In Jeremiah 2:11-13, we are reminded of, one, our tendency as people to hew out cisterns, “broken cisterns that can hold no water,” and, two, that God is “the fountain of living waters.” Our tendency is to insert gods—idols—for the one, true God, to change our glory “for that which does not profit.” We must return to this truth daily or else we will enter the process of hewing out our own cisterns. May we always be reminded of true fulfillment, truth, and pleasure, which is God Himself.

By Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum


 

Thursday: “Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the Lord your God, when he led you in the way?” Jeremiah 2:17

Led In The Way

In the classic movie Hoosiers, there is a stubborn, arrogant sharp-shooter on Coach Norman Dale’s team named Ray. At the start of the movie, Ray deliberately disobeys Coach Dale and goes against his strategies. At one point, Coach Dale benches Ray for not submitting to his strategies, even though he was scoring a lot of points. There is a sense, however, that Ray brought it all on himself by not committing himself to the coach’s plan, which was designed for the betterment of the team.

God has a plan—guidelines, suggestions, strategies—that are detailed in His Word about how to live a life of fulfillment. All of these things are implemented for the betterment of us, because He loves us. Sometimes we wander from the fold, and our sin causes everything to come crashing down, and yet we brought it on ourselves. May we be reminded that God is leading the way, and that His way is where fulfillment lies.

By Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum


 

Friday: “Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?” Jeremiah 2:21

A Wild Adventure

Take a look at the 2014-15 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team that played in the national championship game. Was there anything flashy about them? They were not loaded with superstars. They were not ridiculously athletic like the University of Kentucky.

However, they played gritty defense, perfected the little things, and wore down their opponents, one by one. Their style of play might not have been flashy, but they went on one of the most adventurous, joy-filled journeys in college basketball that year.

Sometimes I think that to go on a crazy adventure, I must be wild and out-of-control in my lifestyle. However, submitting to God’s plan produces the most adventurous journey of all.

Why? Because we are committing to something bigger than ourselves, something transcending, and the journey sometimes results in the wildest ride of all.

By Stephen Copeland, Sports Spectrum 


Weekender: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” Ephesians 6:18 (KJV)

Going Long

How often do you pray? Reflect on how this verse says we should always pray. Do you pray in the car, while at your desk at work, while walking to and from work or appointments or while you’re in the house? This verse challenges us to do that, and to do it “in the Spirit.”