All of this made me think about some of the accusations I have heard railed against God: "Why would I want to serve a God who kills women and children? Why would I want to serve a God who forces people to obey him?", etc.
And then in the midst of all God's warning about the judgement coming upon Israel, I found verses like these:
For the Lord Almighty has not forsaken Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though the land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel . (Jeremiah 51:5, NLT)
Have you heard what they are saying? The Lord chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them! They're sneering and saying Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. But this is the Lord's reply: I would not more reject my people than I would change my laws of night and day, of earth and sky. (Jeremiah 33:24-25, NLT)
And then I made the following observations:
- It was God's people (who knew him, knew his demands and knew his blessings) that he was punishing, not some people who could claim this was unexpected
- God had given LOTS of warnings and opportunities to repent
- God's grace and mercy was great even in the face of his judgement. In the face of great sin, God promised not to reject his people forever
- God's anger was righteous. He punished not out of anger but out of a desire for redemption
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, "Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?" (Psalm 8:4, Message)
And then the same day I read these passages from Jeremiah, I also read Hebrews 9:13-14:
Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people's bodies from ritual defilement. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God. For my the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (NLT)
Thank you, Lord, for your great grace and mercy in my life. Thank you that the blood of Christ can purify my heart!