from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD
Jeremiah 29:11-14; 33:3-9
When you are forced to discipline your children, you want to make sure they know that you still love them. God is the same. The deep, long-term sinfulness of His people forced Him to punish them severely. But God wanted them to understand how much He still loved them. For that reason He had His prophet Jeremiah write them a letter while they were in exile in Babylon. Here is a portion of that letter:
“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:11-13a, NIV)
In the midst of their sin and its punishment, God had plans for them. He was working to draw them back to Himself, to prosper them, to build a future for them.
The same story is told in Jeremiah 33. Even while telling of His horrendous judgment on them, God was dreaming of all the wonderful things He would do to restore them. You can hear the excitement in His voice:
“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city [Jerusalem] will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.” (Jeremiah 33:8-9, NIV)
God is excited and passionate about all the beautiful things He can do for His people. His deep desire for them is always complete forgiveness, renewal, and overflowing blessings. His heart is always love, even while that love must be expressed in stern discipline.