Monday, January 21, 2013
I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm, in anger and in fury and in great wrath.
This is a message from God that had to be difficult for Jeremiah to deliver. It is the opposite of what God had traditionally said to His people. As Babylon's army surrounded Jerusalem, King Zedekiah finally inquired of The Lord, sounding very serious about God's past deliverance, and apparently hoping to hear that God would save the nation.
Instead, a scathing announcement of impending judgment is made. And God is clear that He is leading the invading army to punish Jerusalem for its desertion of the Law. God's arm that used to exclusively fight for Israel was now bared and fighting AGAINST the nation. The only hope for saved lives was exile. God actually counsels the people to surrender outside the gates to the invading Babylonians in order to live.
This is a striking passage because we so want God to be "for us". And the story of redemptive history in Christ is just that. But sometimes entrenched sin is so rampant and people so degenerate that God must judge unrepentant sinners. And when He is against sin, painful consequences will erupt.