Bible Reading: Jeremiah 31
“Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 31:20)
Sometimes, God will use the hardest times to discipline us and shape us to conform to us more and more like Christ. These times may be tough. Yet, God never leaves the ones He calls His children. Take the Jews in Jeremiah’s time, for example.
For just about thirty chapters, God commands Jeremiah to prophesy about God’s wrath to His stubborn and ignorant people. God brings down woe after woe for their disobedience and idolatry. Not only does Jeremiah prophecy about God’s judgement, God’s judgement actually comes. The Babylonians come and invade Judah. They take over Jerusalem, and God’s people are sent into exile. Reading those passages of judgement impress upon us God’s holiness and righteousness and the detestable nature of our sin and rebellion against God.
At this point, we might think that God had forsaken His people. It was just for God to send all the horrible judgements to mankind. It is what our sins deserve. Maybe this is the kind of fate we accept when troubles arise in our lives. We blame sin when evil wins out in our lives. We say it is because I sinned that I was afflicted with cancer. Or, it is because of sin that God allowed me to suffer from the loss of my family member. It is true. The consequences of sin are death and suffering. It hurts, but that is the reality. That is the extent of our evil and rebellion against God.
However, even at the lowest point, there is light for God’s children. To the Israelites who thought they had been forsaken by their God (and rightly so!), God Himself reminded them that He loves His children and still remembers them. His heart yearns for them, and He will surely have mercy on them. God’s promises are not just small talk. He accomplished His promise of forgiveness and ultimate restoration of the covenant in Christ.
When Christ faced that cross, He remembered all those who were His from all ages. He took on the real punishment we deserved and suffered with it till death on the cross. Then, showing His love to us, He offered us a new heart and a new life through the Holy Spirit. He gives us His righteousness and His perfection. As Jeremiah 31:34 says, “And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, ‘Know the LORD’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”.
What is more assuring is that our Father in heaven will not let go of this promise. He says that His people will perish only if He is no longer the Creator of the sun, moon and stars. This is an impossibility. Our hope in Christ is sure and secure. No matter how we feel, no matter what we think, no matter how sinful we are, when God chose to love those He chose to love, His love will never fail. His faithfulness will never be proven wrong. Therefore, take heart because you have a Father in heaven who cares for you, remembers you, and will show His mercy to you.
Lord, please help in trust in Your love and faithfulness. Too often, I try to trust in my own feelings, thoughts and actions. Your ways are mysterious yet wondrous. Please help me wait on You and learn to obey You in faith one step at a time. Thank You, God. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.