As a young girl I went with my parents to visit my great-grandmother, who lived near a farm. Her yard was enclosed by an electric fence, which prevented cows from grazing on her grass. When I asked my parents if I could play outside, they consented, but explained that touching the fence would result in an electric shock.
Unfortunately I ignored their warning, put a finger to the barbed wire, and was zapped by an electrical current strong enough to teach a cow a lesson. I knew then that my parents had warned me because they loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt.
When God saw the ancient Israelites in Jerusalem crafting and worshiping idols, He “sent word to them . . . again and again, because he had pity on his people” (2 Chron. 36:15). God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, but the people said, “We will continue with our own plans” (Jer. 18:12). Because of this, God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and capture most of its inhabitants.
Maybe God is warning you today about some sin in your life. If so, be encouraged. That is proof of His compassion for us (Heb. 12:5-6). He sees what’s ahead and wants us to avoid the problems that will come.
Lord, give me the ability to hear not just Your words but also Your heart. Help me to learn from the mistakes of those whose stories You have given us. Help me to honor You with my life.
God’s warnings are to protect us, not to punish us.
We sometimes wonder whether God can change His mind. Today’s passage in the book of Jeremiah helps us answer this question. God tells Jeremiah that sometimes His actions are affected by our actions. God has decided to act in certain ways depending on how we act. This is God’s freedom. He is not changing His mind; He has simply determined how He will respond to our stubbornness or our repentance. We don’t determine what God will do; in His goodness He has told us how He will respond to us. J.R. Hudberg