Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 24; 27-29
Jeremiah is shown good figs and bad figs by the Lord. And what the Lord basically says is that Judah is to accept the fact that Nebuchadnezzar is executing discipline on Judah for God Himself in taking Judah into exile! That’s the way to be “a good fig”! And to refuse God’s discipline, is to face unspeakable consequences! But it is also the same thing for us! Hebrews 12:7 also is God’s pleading with us, God’s children – “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” So Judah is encouraged to settle down and accept exile as God’s discipline on them as His earthly children!
And then I am filled with astonishment – God (unlike me, who tends to write off people!) as if it were in wistful happiness, hurriedly moves on to good news that He will bring them back again from captivity after 70 years! So in Hebrews, God goes on to say, “They (our earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He (our Heavenly Father) disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.” And on my wall hangs the verse from this chapter in Jeremiah that my Sweetheart gave me when we were going through some tough times of growth, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I leave you to revel in the verse in its context and the beautiful verses before and after this verse!
However there is another side to the big picture! The king, priests, officials and prophets are warned of God’s severest punishment for being in rebellion and ignoring God’s voice of warning through Jeremiah His prophet. Basically there is no escape! We can choose to learn this through the example of what we read – it’s history – true fact, don’t miss the reality of the fact! – God appeals multiple times by giving hard facts which come true and thus prove Himself to be the Lord Almighty (thank you Lord for that beautiful Name and the assurance it brings to my heart!).
Then lastly, I learn what God thinks about someone talking on His behalf, but in actual reality just speaking human fallible thoughts and not God’s truth! A man at the end of our reading dies within the year for being so presumptuous to do this! So sometimes when I speak to others and especially when I am responsible to share God’s Word, I feel deeply uneasy sometimes, lest I should presumptuously pretend to talk for God and actually be only talking my own personal thoughts! I often remember Peter’s admonition when he admonishes us that we have all received a special gift (from God), “Whoever speaks, let him/her speak, as it were, the utterances (!) of God.” And I am filled with a sense of unease, that I may not be speaking HIS WORD, but my own thoughts! And in case, your gift is doing and not speaking, you too have an incredibly high standard for your gift! – “whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies!” So I am filled with awe at the things which Jeremiah was called to do in lifetime in speaking and doing! But now we honour such a servant of God (& God does too!), for paying the price to be God’s man for the moment! – if you’re tired like I am, (or maybe just too busy!) take courage, there is a reward for growing into being God’s man or woman for the moment of time in which we live! So will you and I be a “Jeremiah” or a “Hananiah”?