Jeremiah 40-44

So this is how I read this story:

  1. People did the thing.
  2. God said: because you did the thing, bad things are now going to happen.
  3. People stop doing the thing too late (my kids do this by the way: ‘but I stopped!’)
  4. Bad things happen just like God said they would, because people did the thing in the first place and didn’t stop and didn’t stop and didn’t stop until God said “bad things will now happen,” too late.
  5. People say: bad things started when stopped doing the thing, so we’re going to start doing the thing again.

So, this is how it plays out in my life:

  1. son pokes little sister
  2. I tell son to stop poking little sister
  3. son pokes little sister
  4. I tell son to stop poking little sister or he’s going to go to time out
  5. son pokes little sister
  6. I tell son to go to time out now
  7. son stops poking little sister
  8. I go to move son to time out
  9. son cries “but I stopped!”

To complete the comparison, the people of Judah basically said, “well, as soon as we stopped poking our little sister, we got put in time out! Maybe if we start poking her again, we’ll get out of time out!”

I mean, I get it. No one wants to be told everything is going to fall apart. The entire nation is going to be either killed or carted away in captivity. But, I mean, my son doesn’t want to go to time out. By the time the message is “this is going to happen,” I guess I can get the desperation behind “we’ll try anything, even more of the stuff that got us into this,” because at that point, the self-delusion is going to be strong. It’s amazing what people can believe in order to justify their choices or excuse their guilt. People rewrite and reinterpret reality all the time, reframe it until they are the victim.

Giving in to that level of self-defense, however, just prolongs and deepens the consequences. It is through humbly admitting our faults and fears and mistakes that we are able to address them, correct them, and move forward in a positive direction. They could have remained and worked the land and persevered, accepted the consequences for their people and begun to serve faithfully, but they were afraid, and they didn’t trust, and the disobeyed, again. Just… something to think about.

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