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He Does Not Afflict Willingly

November 14, 2019

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He Does Not Afflict Willingly

Jeremiah was an Old Testament prophet  who suffered greatly.      Some of his suffering  was in the form of persecutions  and attempts to kill him.      There were people  who arrogantly ignored his preaching  and others who antagonized him.      The people despised Jeremiah’s preaching  because he revealed their sins  of idolatry,  theft,  adultery,  greed,  murder,  and everything else one can think of.

Sure,  Jeremiah felt sad  as he was mocked and persecuted.      But,  far more than that,  Jeremiah wept.      He is often called  the weeping prophet.      But,  he was not selfishly crying for himself.      Jeremiah cried for the people.      Jeremiah truly cared  for the people  who hated him.      He realized  that their sins  were putting them  on the fast track to hell  and he longed to save them  by preaching God’s warnings.      Nevertheless,  the people despised  him.      That called for a lot of endurance  on Jeremiah’s part.

As Jeremiah suffered rejection,  he saw  that the people were really  rejecting God Almighty.      Jeremiah knew  that the people would be punished  by God  with the destruction of Jerusalem  and his country  —  but also,  that God would have mercy  on them  after they repented.

Mercy.      It’s an awesome aspect  of our LORD.      Jeremiah describes  a bit of it  in Lamentations 3:31-33,

For the Lord  will not reject  forever,
For if  He  causes grief,
Then  He  will have compassion
According to  His abundant lovingkindness.
For  He does not  afflict willingly.

God  “does not afflict willingly.”      But,  there are times,  when in great love,  our Lord’s wisdom  finds it necessary  to allow us  to be afflicted  for our own good.      Jerusalem’s affliction  was a punishment  for their unrepentance  and gross sins.      But,  that does not mean  that everyone who is suffering  is being punished  by God.      Job is an example  of a righteous person,  who had to endure  all sorts of afflictions,  just as a test  and a strengthening  of his faith.

Jerusalem’s punishment  was for their wickedness.      Even though they were being punished,  they needed to know  that  “the Lord will not reject forever.”      God’s love did not stop  when the people needed a punishment  to straighten them out.      The punishment  included  the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon,  the killing and torturing  of many people,  and captivity.      In the midst of all this grief,  God truly loved His people.      From God’s perspective,  it is better  to bear punishment  in this world  that makes one turn from their sins,  than to have to be sentenced  to eternal damnation  for an arrogant rejection  of God’s ways.

Whenever anyone suffers  some sort of punishment  for their sins,  they need to know  and be assured  that this is a love  that wants to save them  from their sinful ways.      Everyone has a tendency  to quickly forget  a light lesson learned.      But,  when there is a memorable lesson,  people are more likely  to humbly acknowledge  God’s power,  love,  and authority.

God is very patient  as He waits for us  to turn to Him.      Jeremiah preached  for years  before his prophecies of punishment  finally came true.      God also tenderly approaches us  with His word  to teach us  the right way  to live by faith.      If there ever comes a time  when we have to endure a punishment  from the Lord for our sins, let us remember  that  “He does not afflict willingly”,  and  “the Lord will not reject forever.”

The very moment  we turn to God in repentance,  He will forgive us.      As we endure a punishment,  that is not meaning  we are unforgiven.      It just means  our Lord is teaching us  the seriousness of our sin,  so that we will learn  to trust Him  and draw closer to Him  in faith,  hope,  and love.

Thankful  that God’s love  is so patient with us,  we say,  “Hallelujah!      Lord,  thank You  for demonstrating Your love  for us  when we were still sinners,  by having Christ die  for us.”

Love,
Margaret

 

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A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods

 

Pray for our country.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

 

The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.
Psalm 18:30

 

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1

 

How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4

 

Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1

 

Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3

 

Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12

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