In the previous installment of this series, we looked at the prophet Jeremiah’s counsel to the people of Judah, not to think about their exile as being more temporary than it was going to be. Nevertheless, God also revealed to him that their exile would one day end. Similarly, although COVID-19 looks like it will not fade away anytime soon, there will be a time when it too will become a memory.
So, what do we do in the meantime? This week, we will explore what the Jewish exiles did, to see if there is something amidst their actions that we can glean.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO
‘Our Next Starts Now’. The use of the analogy of sowing and reaping to describe the relationship between cause and effect is common throughout the Bible. Yet, there are instances when God suspends this process.
The prophet Jeremiah himself declared God’s word to the disobedient people of Judah:
“They will sow wheat but reap thorns;
they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.
They will bear the shame of their harvest
because of the Lord’s fierce anger.” – Jeremiah 12:13
Later, after some of the exiles had returned to the land and had stopped the
reconstruction of the temple of God, another prophet, Haggai, declared something similar: “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” – Haggai 1:6
In both cases, it was inattention to the purposes and desires of God that led to the futility and uselessness of the people’s actions. Therefore, as we gather our talents and our insights, organise them, and scatter them, may we choose to remember to put God first and to recognise the greater importance of His will and His kingdom over ours.
“I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.” – Ezekiel 36:30-31