|Photo Credit: Dexell1827|
While extremely grateful, I realized today I have always somewhere felt bad for the pilgrims. I am grateful that they came and settled here in the new world. But when we hear the stories of how hard life was for them especially during the first few winters, my heart breaks for them. And the genesis of it all was to escape religious persecution; all so they could worship God the way they believed they should. After today’s readings, I am beginning to wonder if I should feel so bad for them. Let me explain.
In our reading today we find a discussion between God and Jeremiah. God is telling Jeremiah what He is going to do to the faithful in Judah and Jerusalem. He does so through a picture of good and rotten figs. Here is what God said of the good figs … “The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.” (Jeremiah 24:5-7 NLT) God basically said he was taking His people, the good people, those who loved Him and was moving them out to protect them.
The amazing thing to me was he was moving them to a pagan land where they could truly worship God as they choose. We know some of these as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from Daniel 1. These men glorified God in amazing ways as we see with the fiery furnace and Daniel in the den of lions. The words God spoke to and through Jeremiah He fulfilled in those stories, plus many more.
Should we feel bad for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah? No! They were under the care of God in the land of Babylon. The good figs were protected and cared for. The bad figs, those that remained in Jerusalem, they are the ones our hearts should break for. They were the ones to feel the wrath of God. What about in your own life? Do you have people whom God would consider a bad fruit, simply because they have not accepted a life changing relationship with Jesus? Does your heart break for them?
Maybe I am simply finding perspective. No longer will my heart break for the pilgrims. Maybe their trails here were God using them to do something new and bigger in His grand scheme. God sending the faithful off to Babylon was His protection. Where my heart should break is for people who do not love and know God.