“Jeremiah Hurts for His People”
It is really hard to see people we love suffer, especially if their suffering is a result of personal sin or deception from the evil one. Our consolation and hope in these seasons is to believe that God can take someone from a place of defiance and restore them by teaching them about his love, mercy, and plan for their lives. In the midst of frustration and worry, we have hope that God can change the hearts and behaviors of those we love.
This is the situation we find Jeremiah in! He hurts alongside the people because of the destruction their sin has caused. He longs for them to turn their hearts to the Lord. He warns them again and again of the destruction to come. But they just won’t listen.
As Scripture teaches us, God patiently waits for the nation of Israel to repent, but ultimately they bear the consequences for their sins because of their defiance. As a result, they are defeated as a nation and exiled to a foreign land. This punishment is meant to bring them to their knees, help them see their waywardness, and turn in repentance to God.
As bad as their judgment is, God’s mercy remains. If we fast forward many years past their judgment, a time does come when faithful Jews are allowed to return to rebuild their homeland. The punishment gave way to forgiveness and renewal!
As we contemplate the great gift we receive in Jesus this Christmas, let’s meditate on the patience and kindness we have received from the Lord. He has rescued us from the power of sin and death, even though we are bent toward sin and often forsake his commands. And, let us pray for others, that they might not have to suffer grave consequences for their sins, but rather that they would see and behold the gift of renewal and forgiveness found only in Jesus our Lord!
Father, please examine my heart, convict me of sin, and free me from the power it has over me. Please help ___________ (insert names of loved ones) see your kindness and mercy and turn from their sins to know and follow you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.