tragedy strikes and setbacks are experienced, there is a temptation to sulk, give
up, and yield to the temptation of mediocrity. It’s easy to become bitter when
life caves in. The hand of Nebuchadnezzar had been hard on Judah and the city
of Jerusalem. The elders, priests, prophets, and many others had been carried
away into captivity in Babylon. In the midst of judgment, the messenger of God
relayed God’s message for hope to a downtrodden people.
do we respond to God’s hand of discipline? The hand that disciplines us also is
the hand that uplifts us. We can learn that spiritual setbacks are not conclusive
unless we refuse to listen to God’s instructive voice.
God Continues to Speak to Those He Disciplines (v. 4)
and setbacks in life are not always the work of the evil one. God was the cause
of the captivity and exile for Judah. God is an intentional God who orchestrates
His plans with purpose. Though the exile was a part of God’s judgment upon the
nation, his hand of discipline had a divine purpose for which He was seeking a
response. He was not through with His people.
that we would understand that God has a word for us even when His hand of chastisement
is being exercised. If the deaf ear of disobedience is the cause of our present
predicament, the responsive ear of obedience may be the channel of hope for our
future. Submission to the voice and way of God is always the way of hope.
God’s Instructive Word is for the Progress, Not Continued Setbacks of His People
and development can take place in barren places. False prophets were giving false
hope for an abbreviated exile, thus tempting the people to be idle and unproductive.
gave the true Word of the Lord to carry on with life’s activities and prepare
for increase and growth during the lengthy stay. They were to get married, have
children and encourage their children to have children to become a strong people.
are to be faithful to our responsibilities and obligations in life even when the
circumstances may not be of our choosing. God is committed to expanding or growing
us when we respond in faith to His voice and heed his instruction.
circumstances of life are often like the ingredients in homemade biscuits. The
flour itself doesn’t taste good, neither does the baking powder, nor the shortening,
nor the other ingredients. However, mixed all together and placed in the oven,
they come out just right.
are to bloom where we are planted regardless of the circumstances of the planting!
Trusting and obeying is still the heart of God for us. His plans are intentional
and His purposes include our peace, a bright future, and eternal hope. The circumstances
mixed together with faith cause the results to be just right.
God’s People Are To Be Instruments of His Blessing Even In Disheartening Circumstances
was exhorted to seek the peace of their city of captivity. They were to pray for
the city. They were to make a difference by who they were and thus enjoy a returned
still true that when you cast your bread upon the waters, you will find it after
many days (Eccl. 11:1). We are to seek the spiritual welfare of others in the
midst of our own deprivation. In giving and desiring blessing to others, we ourselves
will know blessing. The unselfish life is the life of rediscovered blessings.
times are often consequential of our own actions. Our response to hard times may
well determine the longevity of the difficulty.
to God’s direction in faith and learning to bloom where we are planted will not
only impact the lives of those around us for good, but will provide for enhanced
blessings for ourselves.
brief provided by: Larry L. Gilmore, Group Leader
of the Evangelism Strategies Group, Tennesse Baptist Convention, Brentwood, TN