TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Have you ever seen repeated phrases and ideas in the scriptures? Look at these texts, and note the similarities about God, the Divine Warrior:
Deut. 4:34 Or has a god attempted to go and take a nation as his own out of another nation, by trials, signs, wonders, and war, by a strong hand and an outstretched arm, by great terrors, as the your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Deut. 5:15a Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm.
Deut. 26:8 Then the brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, with terrifying power, and with signs and wonders.
Psalm 136:10-12 He struck the firstborn of the Egyptians . . . and brought Israel out from among them . . .with a strong hand and outstretched arm.
Look at the texts closely, noting the change in Jeremiah 21. The same God who delivered Israel from Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm — the One who was Israel’s Divine Warrior — is the God who turned on His people with the same righteous ferocity in Jeremiah’s day. Even the reversal of the phrases (from “strong hand and outstretched arm” to “outstretched hand and a mighty arm”) suggests something is now different.
God is both deliverer and judge. He can intervene to free from bondage, or He can step in to send into exile. He will fight for us, or He will sometimes fight against us. He makes the call.
Jeremiah’s words in these chapters are stark reminders that we must be faithful to God. Though His love for His people and His commitment to His Word always lead Him to guard His remnant, we are foolish to assume that God will not fight against us in judgment when we turn to idols of our own making. Frankly, that thought is arresting to me.
As it should be.
PRAYER: “God, I never want to be in a place where you must battle against me. You are my Savior and my Deliverer. Let me live in that light, turning from my wrong long before you must execute judgment.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 23-25