Day 133: God’s Darling Child

Jeremiah 31:18-22

“I have surely heard Ephraim grieving thus,
‘You have chastised me,
and I was chastised, as an untrained calf.
Turn me, and I will be turned,
for you are Yahweh my God.
Surely after that I was turned.
I repented.
After that I was instructed.
I struck my thigh.
I was ashamed, yes, even confounded,
because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he a darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I still earnestly remember him.
therefore my heart yearns for him.
I will surely have mercy on him,” says Yahweh.

“Set up road signs.
Make guideposts.
Set your heart toward the highway,
even the way by which you went.
Turn again, virgin of Israel.
Turn again to these your cities.
How long will you go here and there,
you backsliding daughter?
For Yahweh has created a new thing in the earth:
a woman will encompass a man.”

I believe that the Bible is instructing us to hear these words by Ephraim as being the words of Israel when they decide to repent and turn back to God. You really have to study God’s words. This is true even when looking at prophesy that is in a poetic form like this. Earlier in the chapter we read that God called Ephraim His firstborn. That’s pretty significant. It’s interesting to note that Ephraim wasn’t a firstborn naturally. He was actually Jacob’s grandson from Joseph and Joseph was definitely not a firstborn either. To make it even more interesting, Ephraim wasn’t even Joseph’s firstborn. Even so, God decides to call him that. Notice that “firstborn” is a title, not necessarily a birth order. That’s something important to remember when studying the Bible. As a firstborn, it makes sense that when God refers to Ephraim, He’s referring to Israel as a nation. In this passage, we see Ephriam coming to his senses about his sin.

Then, we see God describe His feelings for Ephraim. God’s heart actually “yearns for him.” I have to confess that for some reason, I don’t often consider God as a person that yearns for things. I guess I always think of Him as a person who already has everything He wants, but that is definitely not an accurate picture. The Bible corrects my wrong assumptions about God here. God has purposefully placed Himself in a position in which He yearns for those He loves. He calls Ephraim, and by implication, Israel, “a darling child.” God does punish His children when they sin, but He doesn’t take His eyes off of them because He longs for them to be with Him.

As Christians, the Bible clearly calls us God’s children and this passage shows us how God thinks about His children. That implies to us that God also longs for us. The reason we should do what is right is because we are children of God. God isn’t disconnected. If you are a Christian, God longs for you too.

Ephesians 5:1

Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.

Day 40: Marked Man

John 5:15-23 : The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise. For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires. For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him.

In this passage, we find out why the Jewish leadership wanted to kill Jesus. The reasons were:

  1. He healed on the Sabbath.
  2. He made Himself equal with God.

In regard to Jesus healing on the Sabbath, Jesus said that the Father is working so He was too. This may sound strange unless you understand the basis for observing the Sabbath. This rule is the fourth of the famous Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:8-11 : Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.

Notice that it says: “…for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day;” The reason for the rest that the Jews were required to do on the Sabbath, was that God rested and they were to imitate Him. Jesus’ reasoning was that His father was not resting and He was to do whatever God is doing now. He was following the spirit of the law by doing what God was doing right now not by merely copying what God did at one time. That is what is truly important; imitating God, not following rules.

Now Jesus gives out a hint about the amazing sign He will be doing publically. He says: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.” Jesus is going to be raising the dead in front of them all, but we aren’t to that part yet…

So Jesus tells the critical leaders that He plans to come out with a bigger sign that will prove that He is who He says He is, but evidently, they would rather finish Him off before He can prove it. Jesus gives another reason why they should listen to Him. It’s more of a warning.

He says that God has given Him the power to judge. In other words, they should respect Jesus, because He will be the one deciding the fate of men. Jesus honestly tried to give these men fair warning, but clearly they refused to listen even though their own fate was in the balance. To top that, Jesus said that their failure to respect Him was going to be judged as a failure to respect God and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)