As I read today’s One Year Bible readings from Jeremiah 12–14 and Psalm 72, I noticed that they are remarkably similar. That’s not surprising, for the background of Psalm 72 is probably the conquest of Judah by Babylonia, which took place during the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah.

God had brought the nation of Israel into being and had sustained it for hundreds of years. But the people of Israel had repeatedly turned away from God into idolatry, and God was punishing the nation for generations of sin. (Ironically, God’s agent of punishment in this case was Babylonia, an even more wicked nation.)

Fortunately, this punishment didn’t mean God was finished with the nation of Israel. Rather, it was part of His discipline of His chosen people, to bring them back to Him. And so, we see God’s promise to “bring them home to their land again.” (Jer. 12:15)

The prophet Jeremiah and the psalmist Asaph both cried out to God, questioning His justice, asking how long this period of judgment would last, and begging Him to intervene and save them.

These passages are not particularly enjoyable to read. They’re not full of comfort, but of judgment. But even in the judgment there is hope—God will restore His people, and punish the nations that abused Israel.

And that’s what brings me hope and comfort today. I haven’t experienced the degree of difficulty Israel did (for which I’m thankful!), but these passages are instructive nonetheless. God is at work, even in times of difficulty, to refine my character, and make me more of what He wants—and created—me to be. God is still sovereign, He is still good, and I can trust Him that He will accomplish His purposes in my life—and in our world.

I love what Corrie Ten Boom said: “I have read the end of the book—we win!”

by Darrel Eppler, Chairman of the Elder Board

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