Jeremiah 32:26-44 – Rise & Fall

Read Jeremiah 32:26-44

red rollercoaster

Rise and fall or is it fall and rise, the one that ends on a happier note with hope! Today’s reading covers the gamut in terms of what’s happening to the people of Israel. As I’m writing this, it’s Thanksgiving in the United States once again. I could have spent time reflecting only on the prediction of the fall, but on a day of giving thanks, it seemed appropriate to focus on both. Thankfully the Spirit prompted me accordingly!

How unbelievable and frightening it must have seemed to the people to hear Jeremiah’s words. That is assuming they were actually listening to the words of the LORD being spoken by Jeremiah. Their beloved Jerusalem was going to fall.

It was no secret why this catastrophe loomed before them. God’s message hasn’t changed. He said, “the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods.” Some may say we have a “jealous” God. What if that’s true? He loves us with that much passion. He wants us to yearn for him like he hungers for our attention.

Do you think it was hard for the people back then to follow God? Did they fear persecution or ridicule? Why did they turn away? Today, we have so many distractions that take the place of “Baal” and “other gods.” If God’s anger was provoked by those folks, doesn’t it follow that he is probably not too thrilled with how we’re behaving as a society?

Just like he promised them a restoration, the “rise” part of our reading today, we, too, have a promise. Jesus came just as was foretold. He lived and ushered in the New Covenant. Jesus’ brutal death on the cross led to his resurrection and life for us with him forever. Our “rise” story starts with Jesus’ resurrection.

What did the “rise” story look like for the people hearing God’s words to Jeremiah? First, let’s look at where the people were in terms of their faithfulness before the “rise”. God said, “My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return.” These folks were far from God, and it didn’t sound like they had plans for turning that around anytime soon.

Nonetheless, this loving (and maybe a little jealous) God chose to promise redemption. God would not abandon them forever. You might even say the exile was a 70-year “time-out” to get their attention focused back on the one true God.

Do you think we’ve seen the fulfillment of this restoration prophecy? “They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.” How does it make you feel to know your one purpose is to worship God? We could spend a whole season talking about types and ways to worship God! Take a moment to reflect on your favorite way to worship him.

Then God says, “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me.” Jesus is certainly the one who ushers in the new covenant for us. Isn’t it exciting to know that God has put a desire inside us to pursue our very purpose? Brilliant!

There’s one more “rise” promise God tucked into this prophecy. “For someday I will restore prosperity to them.” That may have been a special message for Jeremiah having had some concerns about the land he just purchased. We can receive that promise as well. God will determine what “prosperity” looks like for each of us. We can be confident our needs will be well taken care of.

Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t being thankful every day be your reality? A grateful heart puts us in the perfect place to worship God. What a great reminder that our God-assigned purpose is to bring our thanks and praise to God in worship!

Take some time today to add to your gratitude journal if you have one started. Otherwise, grab a piece of paper and jot down all the things you want to thank God for today.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray … Lord, you thought of everything that I would need to know and experience so I could stay close to you. Thank you for placing that desire to draw near to you in my heart. Use me to help others awaken that same desire in them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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