Day 2: Jeremiah 31:16-25
This is what the LORD says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD. “They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the LORD. “Your children will return to their own land.
“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 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.’ Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.
“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, Virgin Israel, return to your towns. How long will you wander, unfaithful Daughter Israel? The LORD will create a new thing on earth— the woman will return to the man.”
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people in the land of Judah and in its towns will once again use these words: ‘The LORD bless you, you prosperous city, you sacred mountain.’ People will live together in Judah and all its towns—farmers and those who move about with their flocks. I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
When I read this passage the first time a few of the verses struck me. Some of them were like a punch in the gut; others not so much. Either way, my head was spinning.
This is what the LORD says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD. (vs. 16)
For the last few months I have felt pretty useless. More than that, I felt like I was back in gym class getting picked last for kickball. I can’t even say how many nights I fell asleep crying because I felt worthless. I love spending time with the kids at church, but when I hear about my classmates (from high school and college) who have, like, real jobs. It feels like people look down on my for the way I spend my time.
When I read verse sixteen I really felt like God was telling me to stop comparing myself to other people. What I’m doing is not worthless. I am not last picked. I need to keep my chin up and keep moving on.
Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD. (vs. 20)
I have a hard time believing that I really matter to people. I know I am friends with people but it is really hard for me to understand that I might be closer than just friends with people. I’m not a burden. I have people who want to spend time with me. Verse twenty says that not only am I a child of God, but a dear child of God. Not just that, but He does desire to spend time with me. He yearns for me.
How long will you wander, unfaithful Daughter Israel? (vs. 22)
While God desires to spend time with me, he is willing to let me wander. Verse twenty-two presents the question as ‘how long’ not him saying ‘I’m gonna come drag you back kicking and screaming’. While he longs for me to come back, he is patient and waits for me to decide on my own to return to him.
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (vs. 25)
When I do return feeling beat down and exhausted God doesn’t add on to the bruise count. Instead he nurses me back to myself. He refreshes me. He provides real love for my soul when I am faint and starved for that love. He is a comforter, no matter what hurtful things I have said to him. He always comes through when I am stretched way to thin, and I am so thankful that I can rely on him for that.
*Read Day 1 here.