God will forgive me. Won’t He?

Reflect on Jeremiah 14 with me, especially verses 19–22.

Have you utterly rejected Judah?  Does your soul loathe Zion? Why have you struck us down so that there is no healing for us? We looked for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but behold, terror.

Jeremiah’s nation and even the animals are stunned to experience God’s judgment.  But this judgment is entirely understandable.  Jeremiah traces the people’s false confidence back to false prophets who gave the people the lies they themselves demanded to hear.  Now, terrible judgment is coming but God tells Jeremiah not to pray for this presumptuous, rebellious people.  Jeremiah is left asking God if this judgment is final and admits the sin that brought it.

We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against you.

Where can the guilty go now?  Jeremiah rightly reasons with God on the basis of God’s nature and power.

Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us. Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?  Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O LORD our God?  We set our hope on you, for you do all these things.

Yet there was no rescue for Jeremiah’s generation.  But isn’t the message of the Bible one of forgiveness and hope?  For those who repent and believe, yes.  Israel experienced God’s patience and mercy and offered last minute rituals, but God is not an afterthought.

Like Jeremiah we are part of a generation that presumes God’s blessing, loves to hear the lies we demand, and offers God scraps of obedience if we think trouble is coming.  What does God rightly demand?  Honest confession of our sin, our turning away from it in repentance, our trust in him, and our heart.  Giving up all our false hopes allows us to receive Jesus, the only hope for our salvation.