Time to make changes is BEFORE trouble starts says God. Judah is teetering on the edge. Jeremiah is told to tell them this again. But if you will not listen…
God keeps holding out an “if” for Judah. “IF” you will listen to instruction… “IF” you will humble yourselves… “IF” you will give praise to your REAL God… Then you can avoid what is coming. The saddest part of this though is that He KNOWS they won’t take any of these last chance if’s.
God has already told Jeremiah that the people won’t listen. He says as much in today’s reading too. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil” (verse 23). The people of Judah are so entrenched in going after other gods that they are beyond reaching. No matter what God has done to reach them, they keep pushing Him away. And it is breaking Jeremiah’s heart too.
“But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive” (verse 17). Jeremiah can’t cry out to God on behalf of the people. God told him not to. But that doesn’t mean that his heart isn’t breaking for what he KNOW is coming. He cares about his brothers and sisters, even though he KNOWS too that they are in DEEP sin.
Ane when that judgment does come, what do you think happens? They cry out and ask “WHY”. “Surely, I didn’t do any wrong. Why are You punishing me?” Oh, if only you had listened!!! You were told EXACTLY what sin you had committed and how to fix it. You chose not to listen and not to change. That breaks God’s heart too.
God HAD to discipline Judah, and Israel. If He didn’t, His word wouldn’t mean anything. He PROMISED recompense for sin. He HAD to deliver on that promise.
In the news today is a physical attack on Israel. The nation that God has NEVER stopped loving, even though they have rejected His Son and His work on their behalf. THIS TOO God has seen in advance. He has also seen that ALL nations would turn against Israel in the end. The United States of America has been the last ally or voice for Israel over many years. Now, our President has turned his face away and directed our nation to do the same. So far, we are not actively against Israel but neither is my nation for them. Can you see the ‘writing on the wall’?
Even in the darkest days, in the deepest throes of punishment, God did NOT forget about His people. HE brought about the discipline they needed and saw to its execution. But because He LOVES His people, He didn’t abandon them. His love REQUIRED correction; then and now. Nationally and personally. God is STILL holding out His “if” for ALL who will listen!
He has also given us a promise of hope on the other side of punishment. But it takes letting go of the sin to grasp that promise. He KNOWS there will be those who do. He has said so already. I wonder if that is what keeps Him holding on all along. Because He can see the end and it is ‘worth’ all the pain it cost to get to that point. What an AMAZING LOVE and gift!
Father God, THANK YOU for holding on to me when I make it hard on You. You haven’t given up on me, even though You would have EVERY right to. I wouldn’t even be able to blame You because it would be MY doing that caused it. My heart hurts right now for those who can’t see that. Who can’t see the LOVE You are holding out to them. That keep batting away the “if” You still hold out for them.
I will still love Israel as Your people because You do. I don’t know what You have in Your plans for what is happening today with Your first love. I haven’t heard You say not to pray for them, so, I will add my voice to those being raised today. Have Your perfect work in all of this Father. Watch over those who do love You. Bring about the result YOU have already seen and planned. I trust You Father with Israel’s future AND mine.