The Lord’s rage continues as Jeremiah tells us what will happen because of the sinfulness. It’s not a pretty picture. Did the people not think about the consequences to their actions? It’s hard to know what motivated the people to choose idols, mere images of foreign gods, over the one true God. We can look at people making similar choices today and wonder why, for instance, they chose to sleep in versus getting up for church.
That’s a simplistic example. I used to feel extremely guilty when I found myself too busy to spend quality time with God. I’m not sure I thought about what the consequences might be. Would God stop loving me? Would he let bad things happen to me? Would he stop fighting my battles?
Would the words God spoke through Jeremiah wake up the people to repent? These are pretty graphic word pictures: “carried away as plunder,” “destroyed,” “in ruins,” or “destroyed Israel’s glory and power.” It could have been prevented. God said, “And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the Lord your God, even though he was leading you on the way!” Are we bringing doom upon ourselves from our own rebellion against God?
God asked, “What have you gained from …”, as related to their military alliances with other nations. Maybe we should fill in the blanks (…) and answer that question for ourselves. It might be a good strategy to keep ourselves in line with God’s will to always be asking the question, “how does this benefit me and draw me closer to God?”
The Israelites had turned from God. Their consequence was on the way. “You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him.”
We can learn from this example. Our sins may not look the same as those in our reading, but they are still sins. Sin keeps us separated from God. That’s a huge consequence of sin, isn’t it? Think of it like some sort of a chasm or roadblock between us and God. We can’t get as close as we’d like.
We might feel like something is missing. It’s the joy. The joy of the LORD is that swell of gladness you feel from knowing God is the foundation of your life, being close to Jesus who ransomed you from your sin, and being filled with the Holy Spirit’s power to be unstoppable in your faith. Joy is a good thing. Happiness fades; joy does not.
What does rebellion against God look like today? Does what Jesus did for us on the cross keep us immune from consequences? These are two big questions to wrestle with today.
Let’s pray … Lord, I thank you for the privilege of knowing you. Help me to stand strong in my faith and not falter. Thank you for sending Jesus and for the promise of life with you forever. Thinking of a future in your presence brings me so much joy! May I always reflect your grace and love in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.