The theme for our adult camp was “Comfort My People.” Speaker after speaker spoke words of assurance. But the last speaker drastically changed the tone. He chose Jeremiah 7:1–11 and the topic “Wake Up from Slumber.” Without mincing words and yet with love, he challenged us to wake up and turn away from our sins.
“Don’t hide behind the grace of God and continue to live in secret sin,” he exhorted, like the prophet Jeremiah. “We boast, ‘I am a Christian; God loves me; I fear no evil,’ yet we do all kinds of evil.”
We knew he cared about us, yet we shifted uncomfortably in our seats and listened to our own Jeremiah declare, “God is loving, but He is also a consuming fire! (see Heb. 12:29). He will never condone sin!”
Jeremiah of old quizzed the people, “Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury . . . follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these detestable things?” (7:9–10).
This speaker’s brand of “Comfort My People” was another side of God’s comfort. Like a bitter herb that heals malaria, his words were spiritually curative. When we hear hard words, instead of walking away, may we respond to their healing effect.
Heavenly Father, You love us too much to let us continue defying Your instructions. Your correction is never to harm us but only to heal us. You are the God of all comfort.
God’s discipline is designed to make us like His Son.
The idea of loving correction is a consistent message of the Scriptures. God portrays Himself to us as a loving parent, a father who wants to protect and provide the very best for His children. This is seen in the way God dealt with Israel in the wilderness wanderings. This imagery is seen in the New Testament as well. In Hebrews 12:4–6, the Scriptures make it clear that divine discipline is not an expression of punishment or vengeance. It is the loving Father correcting our wrong behavior so that we can live wisely with and for Him.