“’Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord.
‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’”
Jeremiah went to great lengths to expose the sinful behaviors of his nation. Not only had they violated the covenant with idolatry, but they were also horribly mistreating one another. A nation that was supposed to love, care for, and serve one another, was instead committing heinous sins against one another. Adultery, theft, corruption, deceit and injustice filled homes, courtrooms and politics. A nation designed to be a light to the world, had become just like the world they were supposed to impact. It is no wonder that God asks,
“’Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord.”
It seems whenever the subject of judgment comes up, God is accused of wrongdoing. It is as though righteous assessment of wrong behavior is somehow unfair or unloving. We fail to recognize that society cannot survive without dealing with injustice and immorality. We also fail to realize, the judgment of God is as much corrective as it is punitive. While there will ultimately be an accounting for sin, God’s first desire is not to punish, but to redeem. It was only after years of prophets rising early, staying up late, and consistently warning the people, that God finally sent the Babylonians to conquer Judah. We need to keep in mind, although judgment will fall and it may seem sudden, it can easily be avoided. No one has to sit under the judgment of God. All can receive pardon through faith in Christ.
It is important, as a follower of Jesus, we declare faithfully, consistently and clearly that judgment can be averted through faith in Christ. Instead of being afraid of the subject, we should be heralding the way of escape.