Jeremiah 31:15-30 – Divine Love

Read Jeremiah 31:15-30

big red heart with the word God inside

Did you recognize part of today’s reading from the New Testament? Rachel’s lament is quoted in Chapter 2 of Matthew’s gospel. In the New Testament, such wailing took place as King Herod killed all young boys who might be the promised king from on high. Such a horrible moment in history!

It’s a powerful connection, especially when we remember that Rachel was Israel’s (Jacob’s) wife, and her children would be part of the twelve tribes of Israel currently in exile. How fitting the matriarch would be weeping to see how her children had turned from the LORD and been punished. As parents, we always want the best for our children.

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Jeremiah 4:19-22 – Bitter Tears

Read Jeremiah 4:19-22

tears streaming down face of statute

Poor Jeremiah! His prophetic vision of what is coming has left him devastated. I can’t imagine what it would be like for my heart to “writhe in pain.” Looking back on my life, there have been plenty of bumps, but living through something like what Jeremiah envisions would be totally new for me. For most of us!

There are plenty of atrocities happening around the world rousting people out of their homes, exiling them to foreign lands as refugees. But the one Jeremiah describes is being orchestrated by God because of the people’s bad choices. The magnitude of seeing God’s predictions come true, being homeless and left behind. Terrifying!

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Jeremiah 3:11-4:2 – Hope If We Rebel

Read Jeremiah 3:11-4:2

hands making heart shape with sun shining behind and through

What a beautiful scene between God and his favorite child. He loves us all, but God does have special affection for Israel. There is so much hope oozing from this passage. I have to wonder if such a plea fell on deaf ears because Israel couldn’t begin to fathom what suffering was soon to come. God’s heart cries out for his people to repent and get things right again.

There is even a section that speaks for the people of Israel as if it were their response. Was Jeremiah putting words in the Israel’s mouth? Is this truly how they felt? It would have been music to God’s ears to hear them admit that their allegiance to idols was indeed a “delusion.”

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Amos 9:11-15 – Restored!

Read Amos 9:11-15

two little girls hugging with joy

Is there something you’re struggling with right now that you pray God will restore for you? Maybe it’s a relationship, maybe it’s a bank account, maybe it’s to ignite your faith. Whatever it is for you, imagine that it has been accomplished. The restoration has taken place.

The hope we read about in today’s reading speaks of a restoration that was prophesied about and then actually happened. God’s promise to rebuild is meant to give the Israelites hope. Even though they have had a hard time believing they are in for some disciplinary destruction, at least they will have these words to rest upon when they find themselves stuck in exile, feeling abandoned and alone.

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Amos 9:1-10 – All Escape Routes Closed

Read Amos 9:1-10

road closed sign in snow drift

We have the fifth and final vision Amos records for us. This one is special because of God’s presence seen by Amos at the altar. There are very few people who have seen God, so Amos is immediately set apart as belonging to a special class of God’s ambassadors. We can also be ambassadors for God in our own circles and beyond. What does that look like for you?

In this intimate encounter, God confirms all of the messages he has already given Amos. This vision is thought to be one Amos received at a time later than the other visions. Take a moment to just let these words settle. “Then I saw a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar.” Seeing God is an honor I can only imagine having. How will it feel?

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