Jeremiah will witness the very thing he is preaching about. I wonder when he figured out that he wasn’t warning the people of something that would happen way into the future. His words were nearly coming true as he said them. My heart breaks for him being separated from his children never to see them again. I can relate to being apart from my kids now that they are grown, but we regularly connect thanks to the technical advances in visual communication!
But imagine the terror of uncertainty Jeremiah must have faced. Have you ever lived through a natural disaster or perhaps even lived in a war zone, where terror is fresh and real? Perhaps you were on high alert for something you expected to happen. It serves us well to see how Jeremiah handles this pressure.
Jeremiah submitted himself to God. He acknowledged his own weakness and realization that God is in control. “I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own.” We belong to God, and what happens in our lives matters to him. While it may seem like things are in chaos, we can take Jeremiah’s lead and trust God’s control of the big picture, realizing adversity is part of what reveals God’s grace.
A verse that has popped up a couple times for me already today is Romans 5:3-4. It says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” We can hope, like Jeremiah, that God is “gentle” with us when we do face those times of struggle.
Jeremiah does something else that seems a little curious. Would you agree he seems praying a curse to punish his neighbors? “Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—on the peoples that do not call upon your name.” God certainly doesn’t need our approval for his actions. Yet, this could just as well be Jeremiah coming to grips with the fact that the best result for the people is the extreme discipline provoked by God’s wrath.
Time to look inside our own hearts. Are we needing a little cleansing discipline? Because of what Jesus has done for his followers, I’m expecting any correction we receive will be “gentle.” We are still sinful beings, but we know that Jesus died for us when we were still sinners, not after we get our acts together.
We don’t need to feel terror but joy. We have been saved by Jesus’ sacrifice for us. We have an inheritance that is undeserved but still ours. If that doesn’t bring joy, I don’t know what will. The world may be a terrifying place, but we have a God who fights our battles.
Remember what Moses said to the Israelites when the Egyptians were in hot pursuit? Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” We don’t need to feel terrorized in this world. The price has been paid and we belong to God.
When we acknowledge Jesus as our only way to salvation, we are affirming our position as God’s precious children. Ephesians 6:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” And Proverbs 3:6 says, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” These are great reminders of who is in charge and who we should be seeking.
Let’s pray … Lord, thank you for each battle you have fought on my behalf. I can’t even begin to fathom how many near misses there have been in my life. Use me for the purposes you have designed for me. Empower me to do the right thing so I can glorify you. I want to reflect your love and help others to trust in you as their Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.