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Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Reminder of God's Forgiveness and Love
The book of Jeremiah tells an incredible story of love from God for His people, Israel. Most people look at this book as a judgment from God upon Israel, and rightly so, but there's so much more to it. In the beginning, God presents his case to Israel, and gives them all the reason why they shouldn't have ever have abandoned Him.

"What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? They did not say, 'Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?' And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things, but when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination . . ." Jeremiah 2:5-7

"Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the LORD your God, when He led you in the way? And now what do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what do you gain by going to Assyria to drink the waters of the Euphrates?" Jeremiah 2:17-18

There are so many reasons why the Israelites shouldn't have abandoned God. God establishes a case to show how good He was to them, to show that His future actions in punishing them are justified,

"for my people have committed two evils: they have forsake me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13

"Yet my people have forgotten me days without number." Jeremiah 2:32

but not only that, to show His great love for them that even though they have sought out people and things that cannot save them, He still wanted them back.

" 'Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD, I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God . . . and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 3:12-13

What's even more incredible is that not only does God want them back, all He requires of them is that they just repent. All they need to do is ask for forgiveness from God, acknowledging the wrong they have done to Him and just come back. That's it. It's so easy. Instead, they refused these simple terms.

What I found most interested was how relatable this passage was to us today as Christians. We are God's people, if we are saved, and sometimes we tend to falter in our spiritual life. We might neglect reading or praying, and all of a sudden we've become just like the Israelites, forgetting our God for days and days. But yet even when we've done wrong, God calls to us and reminds us that all we have to do is repent and He will take us back. We don't have to think that it will take years before God will accept us again. It's not a process; it's an immediate event. Once we repent, we're right with God. Sometimes I think we as Christians tend to think that "coming back to God" is a process that takes months and maybe years, but that's not true. It's an immediate transition graciously given to us by God and a staunch reminder not to be like the Israelites who ignored God's call, bringing misery and death upon themselves.