08/19/16 Sweet Return

READING: Jeremiah 30-31

We don’t always like to think about God’s discipline. We know God is a God of love, and we don’t often think of discipline as a loving act . . . at least, that is, when we’re the recipients of the discipline. We can tell others to trust God’s love under His discipline, but it’s just different when God’s carrying out His wrath on us. 

That’s when today’s Bible reading would be helpful to me. 

God planned to bring judgment on His people because of their sin, but He also planned to restore them from captivity. His holiness demanded that He discipline His children, but His love also put limits on the discipline: “I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go unpunished” (Jer 30:11). He would compromise His holiness if He ignored their sin — so His people could not go unpunished — but He would discipline them justly and lovingly. Indeed, He would carry out judgment “until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart” (Jer 30:24). 

We so often forget that God disciplines us to bring us back to Him. Like the Hebrews of Jeremiah’s day, we are to return to God, weeping and praying as we come (Jer 31:9). God yearns for our return (Jer 31:20), and He waits patiently for us to say, “After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth” (Jer 31:19). How painful it is to remember yesterday’s sins and then to stare today’s sins in the face — and yet how sweet is the return to our loving Father who never takes His eyes off of us! He really does love us “with an everlasting love” and draw us “with unfailing kindness” (Jer 31:3). 

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Recall any times in your life when God judged you to draw you back to Him. Thank Him for accomplishing His plan through discipline.  
  • If you have recurrent sin in your life, ask God to break you over it. Beat your breast. Be ashamed and humiliated — but then loved and forgiven. Return to Him.                   

PRAYER: “God, I will never fully understand your everlasting love. I know You love me, though, so please do what You must in my life to make me walk in holiness.” 

TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 32-34