"I am broken by the brokenness of My dear people. I mourn; horror has taken hold of Me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? So why has the healing of My dear people not come about?" 8:21-22
So far, Jeremiah has been a book of vast dichotomy - God has a fierce love for His people the Israelites, but they are far from Him and He talks at great length of the punishment He will suffer them to endure. He aches for them, not only for their fellowship, but because He knows the destruction their evil causes themselves.
"Don't go to lament or sympathize with them, for I have removed My peace from these people" - this is the Lord's declaration - "as well as My faithful love and compassion." 16:5b
I've read Jeremiah before, but it really makes sense this time why he's called "the weeping prophet." It's a depressing book! To hear that God would remove his peace, love, and compassion from His beloved... and I am only a branch grafted in... I'm filled with despair on behalf of the people and fear of the Lord.
In another verse that couldn't find just now, He speaks of destroying the tabernacle as a way of punishment. The tabernacle that they built for Him... destroyed by His hand... to punish them? But it makes sense if you think that His plan for the tabernacle was for it to be a place that the people could commune with Him, to show their love and devotion. If He took that away... well, when has God ever needed our company? But we need His.
"Discipline me Lord, but with justice - not in your anger, or You will reduce me to nothing." 10:24
This reading has really struck me, and is compounded by the fact that we're going through Judges at church. None of us are much different. God mourns over us and our sins, too. I don't want to make Him mourn... I want Him to be pleased with me.
Brad made an interesting distinction this morning - it's not that we ever stop worshiping... it's that we abandon God to worship something else. Also that when God gives us over to our sinful cravings as He did to the Jews in their rebellion, that we are no longer able to defeat the enemy. The Jews were slaughtered every time they went into battle without the Lord's blessing, much less when He had given them over; in the same way, the spiritual battles that we fight are too much for us when we don't let Christ fight for us.
That part's really hard for me. I want to be a good soldier, fighting the good fight, hearing Him tell me "Well done," but none of it is ever me...? The letting go and the holding on, the resting and the fighting... it all gets muddled in my head, especially in the midst of battle as I've been lately. Last night was the worst I've had in a while... I slept better with all the expended energy, but upon awakening my eyes were swollen and I still have a splitting headache.
It's a fantastic day, though. The first cool day of the season.