You Will Be My People & I Will Be Your God
When people think of “the fear of the Lord” they often wonder, will He punish me for my sins, does God really care about me? Sadly, nowadays the fear of the Lord doesn’t matter because the world says do what’s right for you. But can you honestly fear God if you don’t respect yourself first? The fear of the Lord is having respect for Him and obeying his commands. That is so contrary to what people think in this present age. I believe once you discover the fear of God then you can receive the love of God.
I say all this because there is one book of the Bible that I always seemed to wrestle with understanding. That book is Jeremiah. Don’t get me wrong the prophets of the old testament have always been my favorite reading but for some reason, the perceived heaviness of Jeremiah was a challenge. The prophet Jeremiah was commissioned by God to try to get the people to repent of their ways or else. Interesting how history repeats itself as we face the same dilemma. Consequently, I decided to pray earnestly to God before reading this book so I could seek the revelation of what Jeremiah meant to me. That’s the key to reading the Bible, finding out what God wants to reveal to you.
Just in a few chapters, I discovered how similar the people of old are to us today. But more importantly, it struck me in one simple verse how much God really, really loves us and how touching His words can be. In Jeremiah 31:20 we find God speaking to Jeremiah after sending His people into exile because of their disobedience. I’ve listed multiple Biblical versions of this passage below. Please take the time to read each one carefully.
Jeremiah 31:20 (AMP) “Is Ephraim (Israel) My dear son? Is he a darling and beloved child? For as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him. Therefore My affection is renewed and My heart longs for him; I will surely have mercy on him,” says the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:20 (MSG) “Oh! Ephraim is my dear, dear son, my child in whom I take pleasure! Every time I mention his name, my heart bursts with longing for him! Everything in me cries out for him. Softly and tenderly I wait for him.” God’s Decree.
Jeremiah 31:20 (VOICE). So I, the Eternal One, asked: “Is this not Ephraim, My beloved son, My darling child? As often as I speak against him, I have never forgotten him. Even now, My heart longs for him; I will surely show him mercy!”
Notice the common theme in each version? Even after punishing Ephraim (the nation of Israel) God forgives them, shows strong affection toward them, misses them, and wants to have compassion for them. The book of Jeremiah can sometimes be seen as doom and gloom. Throughout, the prophet Jeremiah trudges along speaking his prophecy of how God is going to judge the people because of their disobedience. But these passages speak of something entirely different. God’s love for His creation surpasses everything else!
When God is speaking “My beloved son, my darling child” think of yourself and allow your mind to be that child. When God speaks “My heart longs for him” allow yourself to be touched by the Father. When God speaks “I will surely show him mercy” then let yourself be forgiven, because no matter what you have done, God still loves you! When you read the Bible allow yourself to become immersed in the verses but stop and reflect on what you’re reading. I guarantee you the Lord will speak to you, much like the passages above.
Should we fear God? Absolutely. But our fear should be one of ultimate respect for a Father who loves us no matter what. Allow God to guide you by following His ways and discover the love he can show you throughout your entire life.
Then you will truly understand what God meant in Jeremiah 30:22 MSG. ‘And that’s it: You’ll be my very own people, I’ll be your very own God.’