Today you should read: Jeremiah 5
Ouch! God brought some very strong rebuke through Jeremiah. It’s almost painful to read these rebukes because they are so stern and pointed.
It’s easy to read some of these chapters of rebuke and begin to picture God as a crotchety old man who always has issues with everybody. The truth, though, is that God gives these rebukes as a strong and loving Father of His people. God is holy and desires us to become more and more like His Son. When we go against His desires for us, we grieve Him. His rebukes are like those of a loving parent of a child who acts up. A loving parent will bring rebuke and discipline to a disobedient child.
So, as I read these chapters filled with rebuke, I want to see God for who He is—a loving Father who disciplines those whom He loves. He’s not a crotchety old man just looking for me to mess up so He can yell at me and tell me how awful I am. Honestly, that’s my view of God at times, and it leads me to feel like I am constantly failing, never able to measure up. Those wrong thoughts of God cause me to become performance-minded.
Like the people of Israel and Judah, God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. He wants us to be drawn to repentance, which, by the way, is an exciting concept. Repentance doesn’t mean, “Hey, you’re a stupid failure who is never going to get it right.” Instead, repentance is God’s loving invitation to draw closer to Him by turning away from sin and towards Him.
Also, when I look at verses 10 and 18, I am reminded of the grace of God that comes through Christ. When God said in these verses, “[b]ut do not execute a complete destruction,” He is referring to His faithful promise to bless the nations through a Redeemer who would come through the lineage of the Jews. If God would have executed a complete destruction, then His promise wouldn’t have been true. Those two verses are “grace” verses.
So, amidst another chapter with a lot of negative-sounding rebukes and warnings of impending judgment by God for the disobedience of His people, I hope you are able to see a chapter that is laced with God’s love of His people. Celebrate His love today. Rest in the grace of God, who accepts you because of Christ’s sacrifice, and draws you to repentance when you fall short in order to make you more like His Son. Also, know that His wrath is real, and there are consequences to pay for being disobedient and unrepentant. He wouldn’t be a loving Father if there were no discipline.
Posted by: Rich Duffield