For those of us who are married, we can remember the days of looking for an engagement ring for our brides. Men like me cluelessly stumbled into a jewelry store hoping to find the perfect ring, only to receive a lecture about “the four C’s”: color, clarity, carat, and cut. Afterward, we would be shown what seems like countless options. There, with the bright lights of the jewelry store’s lights, set against the dark velvet backdrop of the showcase, the colors of the diamonds would shine with exquisite brightness. Each turn of the diamond showed off another facet of the stone and beautiful new rays of light.
In the same way, the more we meditate on who God is, the more we learn about His true nature: we discover the beautiful wonders of His grace, mercy, and love toward us. However, these things shine even brighter when set against the dark backdrop of God’s unflinching justice. When we consider just how heinous our sin really is, the fact that He moves toward us in grace and mercy to bring us back into relationship with Him becomes even more amazing.
The fall of Jerusalem reminds us of this important, but frightening, truth: God keeps all of His promises, including those that threaten negative consequences for sinful behavior. Today’s reading recounts how Jeremiah was freed so that he might stay in Jerusalem. The captain of the guards released the prophet, and in doing so, he revealed what he knew of Jeremiah’s message before the fall of Jerusalem.
The captain of the guards took Jeremiah and said to him,
“The LORD your God decreed this disaster on this place,
and the Lord has fulfilled it. He has done just what he decreed.
Because you people have sinned against the LORD and have not obeyed him,
this thing has happened” (Jeremiah 40:2–3).
The captain understood that the Lord had warned them what would happen if they did not repent of their unfaithfulness to Him, and he had seen the Lord follow through on that promise. God’s faithfulness to keep His promises is wonderful, always. It is no less wonderful when it isn’t what we wanted because of our disobedience. In Romans, the apostle Paul contrasted the grim consequences of our sin with the beauty of Christ’s gospel, saying, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
There is not one man reading this who has not sinned. Left to ourselves, we have all earned the wages of our sin, but because God is rich in mercy and loves us, He sent His Son into the world (Ephesians 2:4). Not by our good works or by our religious perfection, but through God’s own grace, He gives us the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. In Christ, though we were once dead, now we are alive. In Him, though we once had no hope, now we live in the hope that we will forever reign with Him.
Written by Scott Slayton