Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go! 2 And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘Those destined for death, to death;
those for the sword, to the sword;
those for starvation, to starvation;
those for captivity, to captivity.’
3 “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” declares the Lord, “the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds and the wild animals to devour and destroy. 4 I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem. (Jer 15:1-4) NIV
In light of the last reading I had, suffice it to say this one hit me in the gut. I wasn’t prepared to hear how God was going to punish the Israelites because of Manasseh. Hadn’t God put him back on the throne to rule Judah? Hadn’t God forgiven him?
I think I needed to read it as a reminder. Yes, God is good and he can forgive us and put us back into leadership. He can change the hearts of the most hard-hearted among us. I like to focus on that part of God. The truth is, God is just! There are consequences to our sins. We have no idea what we set in motion when we choose to “do our own things” and not do what God instructs.
To some, the words sound harsh. “God wouldn’t do something like that to His people” one might think. The thing is, God was very specific about what He deemed acceptable behavior. He spelled it out for the Israelites. He loved them, He provided for them, He warned them they had turned away from Him and gave them every opportunity to repent and change their ways. Yet they still chose to worship idols they themselves created. They still chose to act in ways so contrary to the behaviors God specifically told them not to do. Maybe Manasseh was forgiven, but the generations that followed him suffered because of his early choices. God had entrusted the leadership of His people to him and he led them astray. They had done evil in the sight of the Lord.
I can see this in my own life. There are things going on in the lives of my children that I can attribute to the choices I made which impacted them. Sin has a ripple effect! I have witnessed generational sin in my own family of origin. I have prayed for God to break these patterns so my grandchildren will not repeat them. I truly believe He will answer that prayer.
7 You, Yourself, are to be feared;
And who may stand in Your presence
When once You are angry?
8 You caused judgment to be heard from heaven;
The earth feared and was still,
9 When God arose to judgment,
To deliver all the oppressed of the earth. (Psalm 76:7-9) NKJV
Lord, I am so thankful that You are a God who is loving and just. We can always count on You—You are constant in every way. You love us too much to let us stay in our place of sin. I tried living life apart from You and know the freedom that comes from staying in Your will. I choose You!! In Jesus name, Amen.