Today’s readings: Jeremiah 42:1-44:23, 2 Timothy 2:1-21, Psalm 92:1-93, Proverbs 26:3-5
I’m surprised that I don’t here more about these promises in 2 Timothy 2.
11 This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with him,
we will also live with him.
12 If we endure hardship,
we will reign with him.
If we deny him,
he will deny us.
13 If we are unfaithful,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny who he is.
They begin by promising life and participation in the Christ’s eternal reign. They warn against denial, rejection and rebellion, and then they end with a marvelous statement that God has demonstrated over and over again. The Hebrew Bible is a detailed record of the repeated unfaithfulness of God’s chosen people and His faithfulness in response. In fact, the readings in Jeremiah are all about the exile to Babylon and the disobedience of the few people who had been left behind in Israel. He promised them (again) that He would bless them if they followed Him.
9 He said to them, “You sent me to the Lord, the God of Israel, with your request, and this is his reply: 10 ‘Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. 11 Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore,’ says the Lord. ‘For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power. 12 I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.’
They ended up rejecting the instructions to remain in Israel and went to Egypt despite Jeremiah’s words from God. Their disobedience is very upsetting and perplexing. Why did they ask Jeremiah for God’s direction if they had already made up their minds to go to Egypt? Maybe they were hoping for God’s blessing on their plans. How often do we do this?
The thing that comforts me in Jeremiah 42-44 is that God remained faithful, as Paul observed in 2 Timothy 2:13. God is simply like that. Despite our failures (read that “sins”), He consistently pursues, corrects, and restores us if we repent and are willing to be restored. That continues to be my experience.