In the time of the early church, the apostle Paul appeared before the Jewish King Agrippa to give an account of himself after his arrest. As Paul spoke in his defence, he recounted how he had come from being a persecutor of Christians to a believer himself. His message was: “I preached that men should repent and turn to God and live lives to prove their change of heart

The year is 588 BC. Jeremiah is imprisoned in the palace courtyard. The Babylonians hold the city in the grip of a siege that had already lasted more than a year. The city is doomed. But God is at work and he once again speaks to Jeremiah.

In our response to God, there often seems to be a ‘point of decision’ in our lives. Leading up to that point are opportunities to think about and consider the decision but inevitably a crisis point arrives when the decision must be made. If one actively rejects God, it becomes increasingly difficult, perhaps almost impossible to reverse that decision.

Jeremiah buys some land

It’s the spring of 2019 and the Brexit deadline has come and gone. Will the result of the referendum be honoured by parliament? Will there be a withdrawal deal agreed? Will there be another referendum? Will we leave or will we remain? As I write, no one seems to know. This uncertainty is now beginning to have economic impact. House prices in the UK fell by about 1% in a single month this year (January 2019). It’s probably not a great time to invest in property!

It was back in the late 1960s that I recall with great clarity annual Sunday school prizegiving days. Prizes were awarded for attendance and learning bible verses. It seems like a million years ago now! And I suppose that many people today would frown upon such a practice as being unfair and unkind to those children who did not receive a prize. The principle, however, is a biblical one – faithfulness is valued by God and is rewarded by him.  

Shortly after the Israelites were supernaturally led out of Egyptian slavery, God invoked a covenant with them that imposed legal requirements on their religious, social and moral lives. The law was given to Moses and was epitomised by the 10 commandments written by the divine hand on two tablets of stone.