THE TURNAROUND

Have you had a time when you thought, this is it, I will not survive this, this will be the end of me?

Maybe that time is right now.  As I read about God’s people who left Him to worship idols and live ungodly lives, it is amazing that God didn’t just wipe them off the planet.  But then I recall God’s promise to Noah as he departed the ark after the Big Flood, “I won’t flood the earth again.”  But God did intervene and discipline His people, not to get rid of all His people, but to punish them for turning away from Him.  He allowed the enemy to enslave them.  God is angry because of His great love for His people.  They left Him and His best for them.  God made a “clean sweep” of the evil that had ravaged His people and their promised land. 

Dear friends, when we read the whole Bible carefully, we can readily see that His Word is about our Creator who simply wants us to love Him back.  Read that again and hold that thought.

We complicate our lives with our turning from Him to the world.  We turn from that simplicity of loving God back to complicating our lives by going our own way, thinking we can do better, living unguided by an all-knowing God.  We even think we can avoid the enemy by ourselves while leaving God’s powerful protection.  “I want it all, I want it now” becomes our battle cry.  But then we quickly become easy prey for God’s enemy who encourages us to leave God completely for that is the enemy’s goal.  What we once thought was perverted becomes pleasing to the eyes in spiraling acceptance, leading us down a hole that is hard to crawl out of and recover.  Worship of God is replaced with worship of self-made idols and superstitions. We fall for anything and are distracted by everything not of God. 

Love is lost.  Hope is gone. When life falls completely apart, cries of panic rise to the heavens for help.  And God hears.  God turns things around but only when His people humble themselves and turn back to Him.

And that’s it: You’ll be my very own people; I’ll be your very own God.” 

Truth in a nutshell.

Jeremiah 30, The Message

Don’t Despair, Israel

1-2 This is the Message Jeremiah received from God: “God’s Message, the God of Israel: ‘Write everything I tell you in a book.

“‘Look. The time is coming when I will turn everything around for my people, both Israel and Judah. I, God, say so. I’ll bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors, and they’ll take up ownership again.’”

This is the way God put it to Israel and Judah:

5-7 “God’s Message:

“‘Cries of panic are being heard.
    The peace has been shattered.
Ask around! Look around!
    Can men bear babies?
So why do I see all these he-men
    holding their bellies like women in labor,
Faces contorted,
    pale as death?
The blackest of days,
    no day like it ever!
A time of deep trouble for Jacob—
    but he’ll come out of it alive.

8-9 “‘And then I’ll enter the darkness.
    I’ll break the yoke from their necks,
Cut them loose from the harness.
    No more slave labor to foreigners!
They’ll serve their God
    and the David-King I’ll establish for them.

10-11 “‘So fear no more, Jacob, dear servant.
    Don’t despair, Israel.
Look up! I’ll save you out of faraway places,
    I’ll bring your children back from exile.
Jacob will come back and find life good,
    safe and secure.
I’ll be with you. I’ll save you.
    I’ll finish off all the godless nations
Among which I’ve scattered you,
    but I won’t finish you off.
I’ll punish you, but fairly.
    I won’t send you off with just a slap on the wrist.’

12-15 “This is God’s Message:

“‘You’re a burned-out case,
    as good as dead.
Everyone has given up on you.
    You’re hopeless.
All your fair-weather friends have skipped town
    without giving you a second thought.
But I delivered the knockout blow,
    a punishment you will never forget,
Because of the enormity of your guilt,
    the endless list of your sins.
So why all this self-pity, licking your wounds?
    You deserve all this, and more.
Because of the enormity of your guilt,
    the endless list of your sins,
I’ve done all this to you.

16-17 “‘Everyone who hurt you will be hurt;
    your enemies will end up as slaves.
Your plunderers will be plundered;
    your looters will become loot.
As for you, I’ll come with healing,
    curing the incurable,
Because they all gave up on you
    and dismissed you as hopeless—
    that good-for-nothing Zion.’

18-21 “Again, God’s Message:

“‘I’ll turn things around for Jacob.
    I’ll compassionately come in and rebuild homes.
The town will be rebuilt on its old foundations;
    the mansions will be splendid again.
Thanksgivings will pour out of the windows;
    laughter will spill through the doors.
Things will get better and better.
    Depression days are over.
They’ll thrive, they’ll flourish.
    The days of contempt will be over.
They’ll look forward to having children again,
    to being a community in which I take pride.
I’ll punish anyone who hurts them,
    and their prince will come from their own ranks.
One of their own people shall be their leader.

    Their ruler will come from their own ranks.
I’ll grant him free and easy access to me.
    Would anyone dare to do that on his own,
    to enter my presence uninvited?’ God’s Decree.

22 “‘And that’s it: You’ll be my very own people,
    I’ll be your very own God.’”

23-24 Look out! God’s hurricane is let loose,
    his hurricane blast,
Spinning the heads of the wicked like dust devils!
    God’s raging anger won’t let up
Until he’s made a clean sweep
    completing the job he began.
When the job’s done
    you’ll see it’s been well done.

WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?

To summarize Jeremiah’s prophecy: The people of Judah and Jerusalem would experience terrible trials at the hands of the Babylonians. They would end up wearing the Gentile yoke, bearing the wounds caused by their sins and having endured the storm of God’s wrath. But God would eventually deliver them, breaking the yoke, healing the wounds, and bringing peace after the storm. The “line of David” is preserved so that the Savior of the world is born into the world to become our redeemer.

Our response to live a simple but committed life of loving God back:

  • Worship God alone. 
  • Love God back with all our hearts, minds and souls.
  • Love others like He loves us—without conditions with mercy and grace.  “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19)
  • Believe that God loves each one of us and sent His Son to save us.  Then live a redeemed life!
  • Be still and know God by daily letting go of our grasp on the world.

Lord,

Thank you for loving me, turning life around for me. I am not who I once was before you came into my life.  Continue to transform my life to be all you created me to be.

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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