Archive for October 27th, 2017

I remember another childhood incident, this time where I was not the alleged ‘guilty party’, merely an onlooker to what had happened – and the aftermath. It wasn’t just that the deed (long since forgotten) had been bad, but the parental lecture seemed interminable and almost over the top. It became embarrassing to witness, leaving me wanting to disappear as quickly as possible.

It’s a little like that with today’s passage. The depths to which Judah has stooped, the language used to describe it and the length of the tirade, almost make one want to skip over parts of it. It’s embarrassing, and we think, perhaps, “how could they sink so low?” Yet, part way through, I asked myself the question, “how is that not you?” It wasn’t in the form of condemnation, but more of a gentle reminder that there are times when I take what the Lord has given me for granted, and that that is the beginning point of what we see develop in chapter 16.

We briefly considered, last time, that perhaps Judah had a greater responsibility, in view of her calling, than the likes of Sodom and Gomorrah, for example. She had been plucked from nothing and transformed into a thing of beauty (v.1-14), only to discard her God and pursue others (v.15-34). The language used evokes a deep sense of the wantonness of Judah’s behaviour on the one hand, and the depth of God’s despair on the other. Then follows the list of consequences (v.35-58), before, astonishingly, we read that God will take her back because “I will remember my covenant with you” (v.59-63 – see too v.8: this is the promise that God is honouring). Not only will he remember the covenant, but he will “establish for [her] an everlasting covenant” (v.60). It is an utterly remarkable contrast between the depth of Judah’s depravity and the width, length, height and depth of the love of God (see Ephesians 3:18).

The final verse of the chapter (v.63) suggests that Judah will be “confounded” by this response from God. As I write this, I confess to being dumbfounded afresh by the extent of God’s forgiveness displayed here. It is unspeakable mercy, unfathomable love – literally, amazing grace. The ‘confounding’, according to v.63, is when Judah sees God “atone for you and for all that you have done”. It’s when we see the cross that we have no option than to stand in awe of the God who sees the fullness of our wretchedness, but pays the price himself.











Father God, thank you for the cross. Thank you that it is the symbol of your love, and my forgiveness. Amen.

October 2017
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