Day 71: From Despair to Hope

Jeremiah 14:19-22

Have you utterly rejected Judah?
Has your soul loathed Zion?
Why have you struck us, and there is no healing for us?
We looked for peace, but no good came;
and for a time of healing, and behold, dismay!
We acknowledge, Yahweh, our wickedness,
and the iniquity of our fathers;
for we have sinned against you.
Do not abhor us, for your name’s sake.
Do not disgrace the throne of your glory.
Remember, and don’t break your covenant with us.
Are there any among the vanities of the nations that can cause rain?
Or can the sky give showers?
Aren’t you he, Yahweh our God?
Therefore we will wait for you;
for you have made all these things.

Right after God’s command that Jeremiah not ask for the good of Israel, we have this prayer. I assume that this prayer was not a violation of God’s request. It doesn’t ask God to keep them from their punishment. Instead, it recognizes both the sins of the current generation of Israelis as well as their relatives. This is an honest confession of sin. The prayer also expresses the concern that God may have rejected His own people. It expresses the fear that there may never be any healing of Israel this time.

Just as in many of the Psalms, this prayer starts out with doubt, and ends in confidence. That confidence appears to be coming from two things. First, there is a reminder of the fact that God had made a covenant with Israel. When God says something, it will always be true and God said that He would bless Israel forever. He said that He would punish them for a while, and return to them and heal them again. When we have God’s word on a matter, it is settled and that is why the Bible is so important to us today as well. The other thing that this prayer mentions is the fact that there is only one God who can save. Looking for salvation from anything or anyone else would be a waste.

In the end we read that the only right thing to do is to wait for God’s salvation. God is the only one who can help and He said that He would. That means that all we have to do is wait for Him to do it. That’s what faith in God is like. It’s when we get to the point where we hear God’s promise to help in His word and then wait expectantly for it. This prayer shows us that even if we aren’t feeling very faithful in our trials, an honest prayer along with God’s word, can bring us back to a place of hope.