“‘If you will return, O Israel, return to Me,’ declares the Lord. ‘If you put your detestable idols out of My sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ then the nations will be blessed by Him and in Him they will glory.’ ” Jeremiah 4:1,2 (NIV)
“‘Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!’ ” 4:18
“‘Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.’ ” 5:1
“‘ Take warning, O Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you and make your land desolate, so no one can live in it.’ ” 6: 8
“‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ ” 6:16
God has raised up yet another prophet to warn Judah of impending disaster at the hand of a distant nation, if they continue to persist in their deliberate disobedience.
I can’t help but think about God’s pleadings and warnings from a parental point of view. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to the wall, or possibly speaking another language as I remind my children of the rules once again. Why won’t anyone listen to me?
God is so persistent. He just reaches out time and time again, literally giving the Israelites hundreds of years before the exile, looking for a positive turn from their rebellion. Encouraging them to turn around, return to Him. But He also is very clear about the consequences if they do not.
In chapter 4:18 it is so clear how painful it is for God to have to punish them. The phrase “this hurts me more than it hurts you” comes to mind. We so want our children to do what is right. We see the big picture and know from an adult perspective what negative outcomes might happen from disrespect and disobedience and what good will come from a home where respect and obedience is the standard.
From the very first verse of chapter four, I get a small taste of the pain that I cause God from going my own way, giving things precedence over Him, doing my own thing. I can just hear Him, with a crack in His voice, a tear running down His face “If you will return to me…O (Beckie)…return to Me. Life would be so much more sweet, more richer if you would let Me have the controls. I have the big picture in mind. I know the beginning from the end. Please trust Me with everything.”
I want to follow You in all things and in all ways, without hesitation, not relying on my own wisdom, but trusting totally and completely in You. Please forgive me for doing it my way and thinking that I know best. I am so thankful for Your persistence in patience and mercy with me! I pray that as I deal with my own children and their “transgressions” that I do so from a godly perspective, knowing how tenderly You deal with me. Thank you my loving, forgiving, tenderly compassionate Father! I love you!
– Beckie (look2thehills)