Jeremiah prophesied at a time of Judah’s imminent destruction by the Babylonian army. In fact, he lived to see the destruction of the temple and the devastation of Jerusalem. He himself was captured by the Babylonian army but was released and sent home on the order of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He knew his warning would not be received by his own people. It was a grievous ministry and Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet” for the tears he shed for Judah. Yet, despite all that, his hope is still in the God of Israel: “O you hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night? Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us” (vv. 8-9). It’s true that Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed, but the Lord remained with the people even in their exile in Babylon: he never left them.
There will be times when God will allow the full consequence of our sins (if we do not repent from them in time) to take their full effect upon us, whether it be a broken marriage and family, a job loss, a sickness and loneliness. When we sin against the Lord and refuse to repent and return to Him, God's hedge of protection around us is breached by our sin, allowing Satan and his minions to infiltrate into our lives to "kill, steal and destroy" (John 10:10a). But we know even in the midst of our troubles He never leaves us. If we repent and return to him, he will be found by us, waiting to restore and embrace us, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Whenever we feel forsaken by God, it’s usually not that He has left us but that we have left him.
May we repent and return to Him while we have the opportunity and before the full consequence of our sins is being played out. God is patient with us, but let's not take His grace for granted. If we persist in our sins, only we will suffer. But if we repent and return to Him, we will find full restoration and healing. Even though Judah was in exile, God was with those who call upon him. Daniel and his faithful friends continued to be faithful to the Lord while in Babylon and found favour with God who never left them.
Father, we thank You that You are a God who says You will never leave us nor forsake us. And whenever we feel forsaken by You, it’s never because You have left us but that we have left You. Restore us from our backslidings. Amen.