(Jeremiah 46:1-28; 47:1-7)
Harness the Horses
By Charles Joseph Staniland
Reading through the Old Testament, we may find ourselves stunned to uncover so many examples of the judgment of the Lord. We pore through accounts of God’s anger and woeful stories of wrath.
Today’s Bible readings fit this bill completely, as we learn of the Lord’s words to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah about the fate of the land of Egypt.
God fairly dared the armies of Egypt to mount up and defy Him.
"Prepare your shields, both large and small,
and march out for battle!
Harness the horses,
mount the steeds!
Take your positions
with helmets on!
Polish your spears,
put on your armor!”
Of course, the omnipotent God of the universe knew full well that the mightiest armies of the earth stood no chance against His heavenly forces.
Again, as always, the Lord would reign victorious. Before the first arrow left the bow, the Lord had already conquered His enemies. Surely He has vanquished every foe.
What a blessing and comfort it is to belong to the Lord!
While His enemies may be toppled, including those who defy Him willfully, all who seek His face may be spared.
Jeremiah recounted the Lord’s promise to His own people. Although He would surely discipline His own and test them, He would not destroy those who belonged to Him.
"Do not fear, O Jacob my servant;
do not be dismayed, O Israel.
I will surely save you out of a distant place,
your descendants from the land of their exile.
Jacob will again have peace and security,
and no one will make him afraid.
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
for I am with you," declares the Lord.
"Though I completely destroy all the nations
among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only with justice;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished."
(Isaiah 46:27-28, emphasis added)
Why does the Lord discipline His own? Why does He allow troubling times into our lives? Theologians have debated such questions throughout human history.
Could it be that the Lord knows we need to feel a sense of need before we will cry out to Him? Must we be humbled, and perhaps even hurting, before we will fall to our knees?
Will you pray with me?
Mighty Maker and Master,
How grateful we are
To belong to You.
You have promised,
In Your time,
To set all things right
And to bring justice
On the earth.
We look to You.
Though You discipline us,
We remain Your.
Even as You rebuke us,
We know Your love.
Draw us ever closer
To Your heart.