Read:  Jeremiah 31:1-40

Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.  Jeremiah 31:24-25  

I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.  Jeremiah 31:33 

The people of Israel and Judah had rebelled for so long against God. The prophet Jeremiah spends most of his life warning them with strong messages of the coming destruction they are bringing on themselves. He was a gloomy prophet, no doubt, but the goal was to turn God’s people back to God. As long as there was a chance of them turning to God, he was going to try and get their attention.

After the Babylonian invasion and exile, The LORD changes His message to one of hope. The punishment that has long been prophesied to you has come, but it won’t be forever. I will restore you and things will be even better.

In the middle of their sin God’s people needed to be warned. In the middle of their suffering they needed to be encouraged – this is not forever, all is not lost, this is only a season, God will come through.

The same is true for us… . If you are a Christian given to sin and rebellion, a stiff warning of the consequences might be just what you need along with the promise of God’s mercy and grace if you turn from what you are doing. God is patient, but His patience won’t last forever and there will be an exile coming your way. Again, don’t mistake God’s patience for His permission.

For those who are reaping the consequences of their actions and living in God’s discipline life can feel overwhelming and hopeless. It’s important to know that God hasn’t given up on you. He still dreams of a better place for you. He still wants you to come home to Him. You will probably have to walk through the exile (the consequences of your actions), but God will forgive and restore you. He’s never stopped loving you. Turn to Him in your pain, in your struggle, in your need.

He will bring blessing, and He will fill your heart with His spirit and love. There is hope.

God – I choose to turn to you today, to obey you today, to surrender my life to you today. Write your ways in my heart and help me to keep You first in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen

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