Here’s a different twist on “all-inclusive,” and we’re not talking about resorts in Mexico! You’ll find no specificity in today’s reading. It seems the whole world is doomed. All nations will be held accountable. Isn’t that what we expect when Jesus returns? Everyone is included, and all will be judged.
I feel sorry for Jeremiah having to be the bearer of such troubling news. It’s not an easy task to be the one delivering bad news. I can almost feel the pain of police officers having to break the news to a family that a loved one has died in a car accident. They share in the tragedy of that life-changing moment for families. Jeremiah had God’s presence to give him the strength he needed to share his prophecies.
There are some striking word pictures in today’s reading that really emphasize the seriousness of God’s wrath. Here are a couple that struck me. “A great whirlwind of fury,” “scattered on the ground like manure,” “shatter like a fragile vase,” “frantic cries,” “turned into a wasteland,” and “fierce anger.” Such language truly puts into perspective for the audience the seriousness of God’s coming judgment.
So how do you wrestle with the tension between the divine wrath we see here and the divine love we know God feels for his people? I don’t think it’s wise for us to compartmentalize this anger as once and done, refusing to believe we can still anger God. Just because God sent Jesus to redeem us and reconcile us to him doesn’t mean we are no longer rebels with sinful hearts. Our actions may not be pleasing to God. We also need to be ready for our own judgment day to come.
How does it make you feel when you read about God’s anger and his judgment on all people? Do you feel sorry for the people or for God? Lately I’ve taken to feeling sorry for God for the way his people have always rebelled against his attempts to love us. Look around the world today. How is God feeling these days?
Our judgment day is coming. The Bible tells us to expect that when Jesus returns. It’s important to be ready, even though we have confidence that Jesus paid the price for us. Paul declares in Romans 8:1, “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” And still,Paul cautions us in Romans 14:10, “So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” And Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”
While we wait for Jesus’ return, we have a couple things we can focus on. Love God. Love others. Stop judging because that’s God’s job.
Let’s pray … Lord, forgive me when I fall short and do things that are not pleasing to you. Help me to have the wisdom to know what things I should be focusing on and what things I can let go of. Forgive me when I judge others because I know that is not my place. I love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.