JEREMIAH 24:4-7: “Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “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. Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Will God always protect me? Have you ever found yourself in a strange situation where everything seems to be going in the opposite direction of what you have been hoping and praying for? Could it be possible that in this very moment you are experiencing,
GOD’S PECULIAR PROTECTION?
The Lord spoke to the nation of Judah in their final days before the Babylonian captivity through the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a very difficult task. His message was one of impending judgment. It was not a popular message and one that Jeremiah proclaimed obediently but not joyfully. He too wept over the spiritual condition of God’s people. The message he proclaimed was bitter in Jeremiah’s mouth and very unpopular with the people of Judah.
Amid his message of judgment for the sins of Judah, Jeremiah also proclaimed God’s faithfulness for those who remained faithful to the covenant and had not turned their hearts to serve false idols. How would God protect them? How would He provide for them? How would they be treated differently than those who rejected God’s Word and turned their hearts to follow the dictates of their own heart?
In the answer to these questions, we are introduced to God’s peculiar protection. In times of war, it was never seen as a blessing to be taken captive by an opposing army and led away from your home to a land that you did not know. This was a sign of defeat and humiliation. Yet, in this instance, it was a sign of God’s love and protection. It was His faithful remnant that He chose to be led away captive while those who rejected Him were left behind to die by the sword.
What seemed like defeat was actually God’s peculiar protection. It was the very means by which He preserved the nation of Judah and prepared a remnant for their future deliverance and return to their homeland.
- “…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.”
While the enemy thought they were taking captives and spoils of war, it was actually God who was leading them out to safety by His good hand. They were sent out of the destruction of Jerusalem – “…for their own good.” In the land of Babylon, they would be told to establish roots for 70 years and to prosper in the land. As the Lord allowed the nation of Israel to grow and prosper under the Egyptians until their day of deliverance, so He would bless and keep the remnant of Judah until their day of return.
It would be during this period of 70 years that something wonderful would take place. The weakness of Israel had always been their penchant to worship the false gods of the nations surrounding them. As much as they tried they were continually defeated by this sin. It was ultimately the cause of the Northern Tribe’s defeat and captivity in Assyria and Judah’s defeat and captivity in Babylon. Yet, during these 70 years, God was caring for this remnant of “good figs.”
- “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”
When the nation of Israel returned to Jerusalem 70 years later, the one sin they never had to deal with again was the sin of idolatry. God had not only provided for them during these 70 years of captivity, but He had also transformed their hearts.
We have the privilege of understanding God’s peculiar protection as we view these events in their fulfillment. Yet, I don’t think that the remnant of Judah who was taken captive really understood it during their capture and removal to a land they did not know. How many times have we misunderstood God’s peculiar protection in our lives? The job that we lost, the house that fell through, the ministry that ended abruptly, the time of deep personal struggle – could these have been times of…
GOD’S PECULIAR PROTECTION?
Jesus promised that He would never leave me nor forsake me. If this is true, then He is with me when I am prospering and when I am taken captive. His hand of protection sees my past, present, and future. He knows every rut in the road, every precarious cliff, every twist and turn that my life will take. And, sometimes, the direction He leads me in, though it seems strange and is perceived as a setback, is really His love working in my life to protect me! It is…
GOD’S PECULIAR PROTECTION!
This morning, I am greatly encouraged as I am reminded of this powerful truth. God never promised me a life that would be without suffering, setbacks, and disappointments. What He did promise me is that He would lead me, strengthen me, forgive me, cleanse me, and equip me for the greater purposes He has for my life. While I may experience times that seem like Judah going into captivity, I can rest assured that God is protecting me and leading me to His will for my life!
- “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:28-32 NKJV
Lord, thank You for – YOUR PECULIAR PROTECTION!
In Jesus’ Name!