Monday, 8 February 2021
“But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord. -Jeremiah 9:24
In today’s reading, God again gives the people of Judea and to us, through Prophet Jeremiah, a glimpse of God’s very nature that His covenanted people failed to understand. They were familiar with a God who is righteous and judged them. But in the key verse, the prophet proclaims a God of lovingkindness, in the midst of the prophecy of severe punishments that would come on them unless they repent. To a casual reader of the Old Testament it may seem contradictory.
While God chose His people and gave them the commandments, He wanted them to follow Him in His ways and be a light for the nations around them. But in the course of time they followed just the rituals God asked them to perform, as their way of life; but for a majority of them their heart was far away from Him. In spite of the lovingkindness God showed them throughout history, they forgot the ways of their Lord and turned to the customs and worship of nations around them. The Sovereign God, whose love they rejected is asking through the prophet the heart-breaking question: “Has a nation changed their gods who are yet no gods? But My people have changed their Glory for that which does not profit?” (Jeremiah 2:11).
Even then, instead of punishing them altogether (as it may seem justifiable), time and again God warns them through His faithful servant Jeremiah, giving them enough time to return to Him and His commandments. But the people who are glorying in their own wisdom, riches and strength do not listen to the prophet. God Almighty, advises His people, in what they should be glorying and what is delightful to God. He thus revealed His nature which was difficult for them to fully comprehend.
Through the cycle of punishment and restoration we see in the Old Testament, some of which are examples for God’s righteousness and judgement, it was proven that His chosen people or anyone else is incapable of fulfilling all of the Law (Romans 3:10-12). Hence, at the appointed time God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ to the earth, who set us an example in living a life pleasing to God the Father and fulfilled all the laws given to Israel. Through the self-sacrificing death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary, God the father exercised His righteousness and hence judgment on behalf of humanity. Jesus alone paid the price for our sin, out of His lovingkindness for us, His creation! Today, we are not judged based on the Law but for not believing in Jesus who has fulfilled all the requirements necessary for us to be made right with God. John 3:36 says, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Today, for us who believe, we need not feel any contradiction in the nature of God, when we say our God is a God who exercises loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth and God delights in these. Only one thing is needed - we should be honoured in knowing and understanding that we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and if we are in Him we are not condemned, which is our Lord’s delight.
Promise: And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)