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Jeremiah 4:7-8(CEB)

7A lion bursts out of the thicket;
    a destroyer of nations advances.
He’s gone forth from his place
    to ravage your land,
    to wipe out your towns,
        until no one is left.
So put on funeral clothing.
    Weep and wail,
        for the Lord’s fierce anger
        hasn’t turned away from us.


These verses are scary! Nobody wants to think about a lion destroying us, or about God being

so angry with us that God wants to destroy us. We all know lions need to eat so they hunt and

destroy their prey, but we certainly don’t want it to be us! We all know that we have sinned, we

know that we are not worthy on our own of being what God needs us to be, but we are told

over and over that God’s grace is sufficient to save us from everything. We have all experienced

terrible things in our lives – we have collectively been through a pandemic, and individually we

have had illness and losses of loved ones, maybe a job, maybe a home. There are people who at

this very moment are being shelled or murdered as they are trying to flee war zones. Is that

what God intends for us? If so, I am not comforted by that. I don’t think I want to follow that

path. I know there have been times when famous Christian leaders have said that natural

disasters and illnesses have been due to God’s wrath because we as a nation were not following

God’s path. How can anyone know our hearts and minds except God?

But do we sometimes take our salvation and God’s grace for granted? Do we think, oh that is

just “Old Testament”! We are the “New Testament” or “Sunday” people. Maybe we don’t

worry about God’s anger or the Friday of the cross anymore. And we praise God that this is our

hope and our belief, but what do we do with these things such as the pandemic, wars, terrible

election seasons, etc.? Do we sit in the sorrow, pain, and confusion that Pastor Hendrickson

spoke of on Sunday – the lament of what we did to contribute to a situation that we would like

to change? Do we turn away and just wait for the next catastrophe to happen so we can stay in

the cycle of despair? Do we hope someone else will take care of it – a group of people through

God or that God would just perform a miracle and things would be better or even for the end of

the world to come and it would all be over? None of these seem like great solutions. We, as the

Sunday people, try to do something to help in this world – that is our calling. We pray and we

do what we can – maybe something as simple as joining a small group or doing the morning

devotional to help us work through our day a bit better so we can be a blessing to others. (just

a plug here for the live devotional that Pastors Kate and Joe are doing at 7 am – it has been a

blessing so far). Maybe we can give money to agencies that help support those in Gaza who are

starving or maybe we give a few dollars to the person at the traffic light with the sign. Maybe

we just look at that person and acknowledge their humanness. These verses can be difficult for

us to read. Verse 4 says “Dedicate yourselves to the Lord; don’t be thick-skinned”. Being thick

skinned is usually considered a good trait – a trait of strength, of being able to take it when

someone does something to us, but maybe we need to remember that hungry lion can tear

through any skin so we need to soften ourselves and admit that we need God to protect us. We

need to remember that we have been in the wrong and to recognize those things we have

done, but to look to God for hope because Jesus has provided us with a way to escape the lion

that is God’s wrath.

For Pondering & Prayer


What can we do as people of God to help alleviate some of the suffering in our
neighborhoods and in neighborhoods around the world? How can we move past the
overwhelming feelings of sorrow, pain, and confusion and move toward hope without taking
our salvation for granted?

Prayer: God of Hope, help us to remember our failings but to use them to help others in
whatever way we can. Guide us where you would want us to help and where you would want
us to grow this season. Amen.