Bible Reading for: November 5
Are you a good fig or a bad fig? The bad fig is the wayward child who will never return home. The good fig is the wayward child who does come home.
In today’s reading God showed Jeremiah a vision of two baskets; one with very good figs and the other with very bad figs. This vision came after Nebuchadnezzar took many captives into exile and placed a puppet king on the throne, Zedekiah. God punished His wayward child Judah. As I read, I could hear the anguish of God as He describes the wrath to be poured out on Judah. His desire is to save not destroy, but Judah earned destruction. But listen to what the Lord had to say to Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 24:1-7 ESV
“After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, and the metal workers, and had brought them to Babylon, the Lord showed me this vision: behold, two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”
What was God’s purpose in punishing Judah? To restore a remnant to Himself. Through the fire of God’s discipline, His wayward children return purified and precious in His site. How God longs for us to be obedient and faithful for our own good. He disciplines because He loves His children and He wants us to return to Him in right relationship.
I’m always reminded of the Prodigal Son when I think of this. We want to run and have fun while the sun shines. Our Father’s desire is of little interest to us. He allows us to leave Him so we can discover our need for Him. Just like that wayward young man, we eventually realize that the lowliest person in our Fathers house has it far better than the most exalted in the world. We return beaten, humbled, and repentant, and He rejoices to see us come home.
If you are a bad fig, you will never figure this out. You will never return. You will continue in your self-centered, self-destructive ways until the end comes. There is no hope for you. If you are a good fig, you will return to Him. You will survive His discipline. You will return to Him beaten, humbled, and repentant, and He will rejoice to see you come home.
What a great and wonderful God we serve! What a wonderful Father we have! What a hope we have in Jesus!
Victorem Vivere! (Live Victorious!)
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!