Reflections on the Old Testament: Jeremiah
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.’”—Jeremiah 24:5-6, NKJV.
Too often we wonder why God places us in difficult positions when we have done nothing deserving of punishment (for whatever reason, we naturally associate discomfort with punishment). Or else, we feel “unfairly treated” when we must suffer the repercussions of someone else’s sin. Indeed, such circumstances are difficult to understand, and every day we feel the injustices and slights of a sinful world. But God’s recurring promises of “sheltering” His children from harm are not just a lot of empty words. In Jeremiah 24, God shows Jeremiah two baskets of figs: one filled with good figs and the other with bad. All the figs together represent the children of Israel, and they are all destined to be carried into captivity—but the “good figs” are still set apart. Although captivity was God’s chosen method of punishment for this nation who had turned its back on Him, He reserved a remnant of these people who would return to Him, and used the same circumstance for their good. “Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good….”So it is with us to this day. Our flesh is weak, and is tied to this earth—it complains when ills befall it, it feels slighted and cruelly treated, and, in short, groans with all other creation. But our souls belong to God, and they rejoice when we suffer for His name’s sake. Follow God in all things, and when you are faced with tribulations, whether it feels unjust or not, rejoice—knowing that what may be judgment against the evildoer is, for the children of God, but another crown to cast at the feet of Christ.