It’s come to a sad turning point in Israel’s history – in spite of periodic confession and revival, the nation in general continues on its rebellious course and God makes it clear that he is determined to follow through on judgement regardless what happens. Has God’s patience come to an end or is it simply that the point is now made that humankind’s rebellious bent won’t change even with all the advantages that Israel had?
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
I think it is not just a question for Israel but for all of us as well. Not very encouraging but, then again, we haven’t come to the end of the story!
God gives his summary of the situation as follows,
“For as a belt is bound around a man’s waist, so I bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to me,” declares the Lord, “to be my people for my renown and praise and honour. But they have not listened.”
Listening – that is what God wanted them to do. Listening means to stop talking and justifying, to stop the activity and thinking about your own agenda, to let the other person talk, to make sure you have understood, and then to respond. Listening implies there is a desire for relationship. So, are you listening to God?