God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
7 Therefore this is what the LORD of Armies says:
Watch. I will refine them and test them.
What else can I do
because of the sin of my people?
8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows.
They speak deceitfully.
With their mouths they speak peacefully to their neighbors,
but in their hearts they set traps.
9 Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD,
and shall I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?
Once again the Lord compares the lying tongues of his people to bows shooting arrows. Because of their lies and their other sins, he is going to refine them and test them. He has already talked about this (Jeremiah 6:29), and that time he rejected everything he found. Perhaps this prophecy dates from the same time, or perhaps it’s a repeat of that judgment.
This is a warning about the coming punishment, and the warning is meant to encourage people to reconsider their sinful lives. But God isn’t just going through the motions. God’s compassion is genuine, as his next words show:
10 I will cry and sob for the mountains.
I will sing a lament for the meadows in the wilderness.
They are desolate and untraveled,
and not even the lowing of cattle is heard.
The birds of the air have fled,
and all the animals are gone.
11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
a jackal’s den,
and I will lay waste the cities of Judah
so that no one can live there.
God’s tears are for the corruption that sin has brought down on all creation. Before the fall of Adam and Eve, the universe was perfect and uncorrupted. But part of Adam’s curse involved the curse of the land and of all creation. “Cursed is the ground because of you,” God said. “Through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field” (Genesis 3:17-18). God’s love and concern go out to all of his creation. Even though man was the crown of creation and was given authority over everything—the land, the sea, the sky, and all animals and creatures (Genesis 1:26-29, 2:15)—God still has concern and compassion for the lower living things and even for the created things that are not alive, the things without souls that are there for man’s benefit. So God laments for the cursed mountains, the cursed meadows, the cursed wilderness, and God laments that the cursed animals have fled the cursed land.
God also watches as the creatures that live on the fringes of the wilderness come loping in to take over Jerusalem’s ruins. Things like jackals and owls live there, and little else can thrive.
This happened once, when Judah was taken into captivity, but that doesn’t mean it could not happen again. Jerusalem will be eternally deserted and ruined one day, cursed for eternity because people turn away from Christ. Even those who try to give glory to God the Father but do not put their faith in Jesus will be forever cursed and damned. The Bible says: “Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God” (1 John 4:3). So we take up our faith and share it. Jesus came into the world to remove the curse: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). This is why we praise and worship him, and this is why we share our faith with the world.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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