What You’ve Missed…
* Jeremiah cries over Israel’s disobedience.
* God tells Jeremiah to take off his underwear, and after reading about God telling Isaiah to do the same, I’m starting to think Magic Mike might be the holiest movie in theaters right now.
* Jeremiah cries some more.
* God forbids Jeremiah to marry.
* Jeremiah continues to cry, breaking women’s hearts everywhere, who will never receive a rose from the world’s most sensitive bachelor. (Author’s note: No actual, historical evidence has been found to support the idea of Jeremiah being a heartbreaker. But we’ll keep looking…)
Daily Reading: Jeremiah 31, 49-51
What I didn’t include in the re-cap above are the following verses God spoke through Jeremiah:
“I have abandoned my people, my special possession. I have surrendered my dearest ones to their enemies.” (Jeremiah 12:7)
“So this is what the LORD said to his people: ‘You love to wander from me and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people…’” (Jeremiah 14:10)
“‘You have abandoned me and turned your back on me,’ says the LORD. ‘Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance…I will destroy my own people, because they refuse to change their evil ways. There will be more widows than the grains of sand on the seashore.” (Jeremiah 15:6-8)
Basically it’s the end of the line for the Hebrews. They ain’t ridin’ on friendly, little Thomas the Tank Engine that’s for sure. “Minding the Gap” isn’t going to do anything for anyone at this point because Israel is cruising full speed on a Japanese bullet train. A bullet train to hell.
Okay, maybe that’s somewhat of an exaggeration (not to mention an awesome horror movie tagline, which I would like to copyright and sell to any interested parties). However, God does seem to truly be at the end of his rope here, ready to call it quits. Ready to not simply abandon His people, but fully destroy them. That’s some intense talk.
What confused me though was noticing I still had quite a bit of the Old Testament remaining in my Bible. How could this be the end of the Jews if there were still hundreds of pages to read?
Turns out, God STILL shows some compassion.
“‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“‘Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?’ says the LORD. ‘I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him.” (Jeremiah 31:20)
WHAT!? God, you JUST said you were going to destroy them, because you were tired of giving second chances. Your words, not mine. What’s the deal? It seems like you’re changing your mind quicker than Lady Gaga changes, well, everything. I don’t mean to be rude, but God, it seems like you’re going back on your word quicker than a Kardashian reneging on their wedding vows. What’s the deal here?
If you’re wondering whether God spoke back to me, He didn’t. (And if you’re wondering if He smote me for such blasphemous questioning, He didn’t do that either. Surprised? Yeah, me too.)
It’s here I’m left scratching my butt, trying to figure out how God works. Yes Jeremiah goes on to explain God heard Israel crying out with an apology for turning away, repenting, and asking to be reunited with Him again, (Jeremiah 31:18-19) but still, God said no more second chances. Yet, God relents, and not only has mercy on His people, but goes so far to say He will bless them, bringing them happiness, joy and rest.
I’m about as confused here as I was the first time I tried to French kiss Jeni Herring in seventh grade. At the end of it all (which was probably about three seconds honestly), I just stood there, feeling really awkward, not having the slightest clue what to do or say. Unlike God, it was soon thereafter when Jeni decided that she preferred actual kissing to being slobbered on by an over eager nerd, and called it quits for us.
But I know God hasn’t left me. (Then again, he hasn’t been on the receiving end of my “particularly salivary” make-out style.) And that’s the point. He didn’t turn his back on Israel either. Even when He said He would. He says no more second chances, and then gives them another chance! He says it’s over for good, and then decides to stick it out. What am I supposed to do with that? It’s honestly incredibly frustrating.
I mean, I guess it comes down to the fact God just does what He wants? Maybe. Or that His bottom line is the whole “everlasting love” deal He mentions? Maybe. Or that He is more like a parent than we realize, and even though He’s at His wit’s end (can an infinite being have a wit’s end?) with his kids’ behavior, He still finds himself charmed by them, being overwhelmed by how much He loves them, to the point that He changes His mind? Maybe.
Maybe it’s all of that. Maybe it’s none of it. Who knows? (No, really, tell me if you do. I’d like to know.) Or maybe it’s like my ability to French kiss and I’ll just never get it.