When God Restores broken lives.
Read Jeremiah 24
“I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people.”
In Jeremiah 21-23, the discipline of God on the nation of Israel was declared to be inevitable. Israel had been warned repeatedly not to continue in its headlong pursuit of idolatry and sin. Even though God had given them repeated warnings and ample opportunity to repent, they refused. As a result, the time for avoiding their punishment had passed. Chapter 24 begins with a summary statement of the exile, as Nebuchadnezzar had invaded the land, conquered the nation, and led the people away into exile. It was a dark day for the nation and a terrifying time for the people as they faced an uncertain future in a foreign land.
For those who were left in the land, it must have seemed that they had escaped a terrifying fate. Some had escaped the armies by fleeing to Egypt, and through their alliance with Egypt would give them security from not only the armies of Babylon but even from the discipline and punishment of God. But their false sense of security would lead to their downfall.
In verses 2-10, God compares the two groups of people - those who were led into exile and those who escaped by looking to Egypt - with two baskets of figs. One of the baskets was good figs. In a surprising twist, this basket does not represent those who were not carried away into captivity, but those who were. Instead, those who escaped the captivity were the ones described by the rotten fruit. The reason for this dramatic shift is that those who are sent into exile represent those who accept and respond to the discipline of God. Those who remained, instead of repenting, continued to look to human alliances rather than God for their salvation.
In verse 7 then we find the promise that God will not only restore to the land those who respond favorably to his discipline, but he will also bring about a complete transformation of the heart. While they had previously acted in rebellion against God, God will now give them a desire to know him and walk in fidelity to his commands. This complete transformation of the heart would be achieved through the redemptive work of Christ and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit that is promised us in the New Testament.
In life, we face times of adversity and trials, times when we experience God’s discipline because of our rebellion against him. When we seek God’s forgiveness through repentance, we have the promise not only will God forgive our sin, but he will restore a desire and passion for him. While sin distorts and destroys our relationship with God, grace and forgiveness bring healing and restoration. When we seek God, he promises to transform us and give us a desire to know him. When God seems distant, and our heart grows cold, and our passion for God wanes, all we need to do is to ask for his forgiveness and seek him, and he promises to renew our love. Today ask God to give you a heart and passion for him.