Lent Devotional: Jeremiah 24
by Jonathan Haefs
Jeremiah 24 (click here)
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know 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. (Jeremiah 24:5–7)
God’s people are in exile in the land of Babylon. They are there by the Lord’s own judgment, poured out upon them for their rebellion. The situation looks bleak, and the people have gotten themselves into it. Surely, they’d have to get themselves out.
“I will regard as good the exiles from Judah…” not because they are good… but grace. “I will set my eyes on them for good…” not because they deserve it… but grace. “I will bring them back to this land…” not because he should… but grace. “I will build them up…” not because he owes it to them… but grace. “I will plant them…” not because of what they have or have not done… but grace.
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD…” this is the heart of grace… that God gives us a new heart!
All of us have been like the people of Israel in Babylon… captive to our sin, which is a situation we put ourselves in. Surely, we’d have to get ourselves out. But we cannot accomplish that any more than they could. God must do something. Not because we are good, or deserve it, or because he should, or because he owes it to us, or because of what we have or have not done…
It’s because of his grace, his love, his goodness overflowing to us… it is because of who he is that he does what he does for us. Like he rescued Israel from exile, he rescues us from slavery to sin, and he does it in the same way!
God gives us a new heart, one that desires him! Do you have a heart that wants God? If so, that is evidence of his gracious work in your life! He alone can give you a heart that longs for him… he alone can rescue us from sin… he alone gives grace. No matter where you are today, no matter what you feel, no matter what is going on or what is coming your way… remember these words now and always…