Read:  Jeremiah 16:1-21

LORD, you are my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble!  Jeremiah 16:19

The LORD gives Jeremiah a prophesy to give to the people of Judah.  A prediction of punishment and exile.  A punishment well deserved for continuously turning from God to idols and sin.  It’s not that God doesn’t extend mercy and grace to them.  It’s that they continued to reject God over and over again.  Only after the repeated rejection did He remove His protection and peace and took away His unfailing love and mercy (vs.5).  In the midst of all this doom and gloom and the promise of restoration some day… Jeremiah calls out to God in despair…  You are my strength God, You are my fortress.  When it goes bad here, You will be faithful to me.

So many lessons found in this passage.  First, God’s patience does not last forever.  He will allow us to destroy ourselves if we continue to insist on that path.  Second, God does not abandon us forever.  If we will turn our hearts and lives to him, He will bring rescue and restoration.  And third, as we see the world around us turn itself over to sin, and it feels hopeless, we can join with Jeremiah and hold onto his declaration…  “God is my strength and protection, my refuge in the day of trouble!”  There are tough days ahead for our world and country, especially as the culture turns its back on God and gives itself to sin.  Don’t lose hope, God will restore, and for those of us who love and follow Him, He will protect and defend and shelter.  In the meantime, we must help folks find Him and follow Him.  Because that is what He is longing for more than anything else.

Father, may the peace of your protection and strength of your presence encourage me, carry me and fill me with hope and life today.  Use me to help those who are in exile or on their way to see your unfailing love and to turn them back to you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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