Saturday, April 15, 2017

Devotion 17: Collateral Damage

"The Lord who planted you has decreed misfortune for you
because of the evil done by the house of Israel..."
Jeremiah 11:17 (New American Bible)
Read Jeremiah 11-12

Is there an intended double-meaning here?  That is, in the phrase "Lord who planted you," does "you," refer to both the nation Israel and the prophet Jeremiah himself?

If God is also here speaking directly to Jeremiah about Jeremiah, we read that he complains, basically saying, "Lord, I'm obedient!  Why include me is Israel's misfortunes in judgment?" God's answer is, "Are you so afraid, so weak in faith that I will care for you when everything is at peace and I have not yet acted in judgment to bring calamity?  How strong will your faith be when I go through with the judgments decreed against Israel and an enemy invades the land and war erupts?"

In the last day of God's judgment against the nations, Christians must realize they will be spared the judgment against sinners, but not the total effects of it upon the nations.  If in judgment against the rebellious there is a famine, the obedient also will go hungry.  If invaders attack and forcibly remove unbelievers out of their homes, the Christian next door will be the next removed from their's.  

This idea of a "rapture" providing an escape is nothing more than an empty hope, a theology that abandons the reality of our solidarity in the sins of men although we ourselves may be innocent.  Yet, while the sinner is under the direct judgment of God, the Christian must endure collateral damage, that is, the accidental damage that ensues as a result of divine judgment, whether it be (a) that which spills out directly from God's judgment (for example, an enemy invasion), or (b) the resultant response of sinners against being judged by God, or (c) our faithfulness to God in proclaiming the misfortunes of men as divine judgments.

Just look what happened to Jeremiah.  Not only did his own family betray him, plotting evil against him, but we read that he was imprisoned, thrown in a well, and forced into exile with those fleeing out of the Land of Israel.  Jeremiah was not tucked safely away from all the turmoil caused by God judging the nation of Israel for their sins.

Our hope is not in a "rapture" but in Christ whether or not we are delivered from misfortune. The "Day of the Lord" will, apparently, not leave the innocent unaffected; there will be collateral damage when the stars begin to fall and the sky is completely darkened.  To prepare for that time, you must face the question now: If history shows us how the thousands of God's people have suffered fearful and terrible calamities and tragedies, as well as persecutions, what makes us think we will avoid these things now and, especially, in the last days?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, strengthen us to stand that we may endure to the end.  Be glorified in our standing, in our endurance, and doing good to others to those who sin against You and us. Even when the time comes that we ourselves suffer misfortunes as the outgrowth of Your judgments against evil men, give us strength of will and action to do good to those very men for whom you bring judgment.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment