At what stage of rebellion are you?

by Bethany

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 52, Psalm 31

The imperial union of northern Israel and southern Judah split after Solomon’s death in 931 BCE – at which point Israel made Samaria its capital and Judah kept Jerusalem.  In 722 BCE, however, the Assyrians attacked Israel and permanently destroyed its political organization.

Although Judah was spared, the political turmoil led to a coup d’état.  King Amon was killed and his young son Josiah was installed as a puppet ruler in 640 BCE.  During Josiah’s reign, Judah experienced nationwide repentance when the Book of Law was found and read to the people [1].

During this reformation, God called Jeremiah to warn His people that He would discipline them if they forsook Him.  Although his message sounded harsh, it was filled with merciful alternatives to avoid punishment.  Initially, the Lord pleaded with them to worship Him, not idols.  When they clung to their idols, He asked them to repent and turn to Him.  When they refused to repent, He offered them exile in Babylon.  When a disobedient remnant refused exile, He told them to find refuge in Him by staying in Judah.  In the end, however, they escaped to Egypt.

Despite their rebellious and stubborn hearts, God never left His people.  Did you notice that Jeremiah always stayed with the disobedient?  When the exiles left, Jeremiah refused a plush retirement in Babylon in order to stay with the remnant [2].  Even when they disobediently fled to Egypt [3], Jeremiah went with them.

God never abandons His people.  This is not an attribute of His character; it is His essence.  He promised: “ … I will heal them … I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.  And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them” [4]

The Lord is not a formless being who embraces our every whim.  Thus, our sin is a major problem.  Yet, God plans rescue missions to redeem His people.  In fact, hundreds of years after Jeremiah, God sent His Son Jesus to lead His ultimate and decisive rescue mission to bring His exiled people home to the New Jerusalem.

As you think of particular sins with which you have struggled for a long time, at what stage of rebellion are you?  Which will you choose – God’s mercy or His discipline?


[1] The Book of the Law that discovered by Josiah is now in the Bible and known as Deuteronomy. |  [2] 40:4-6 |  [3] 43:4-7  |  [4] 33:6-9 ESV  |  [NOTE]  Historical references are taken from Wikipedia, the NIV Bible Dictionary, and Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch (2009).

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