In Jeremiah 24, the prophet sees a vision of good and bad figs. And this is one of those times when God’s wisdom shocks us. Our natural reaction to the deportation of the captives in 597 B.C. is to see those who are taken as God’s rejects, those he despises and is punishing. But God’s thoughts are not as we imagine. Quite the opposite! Jeremiah 24 tells us that the exiles are blessed, chosen and the future!
Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:2, 4-7
The unexpected truth was the exiles were the future of the nation. Notice verse 5 tells us that God sent the exiles to Babylon! This shows the absolute sovereignty of God in all things, how he moves nations for his righteous will in the way he chooses.
It is no secret that one of the major themes of Jeremiah is God’s judgment. And while this is true we see that even when God corrects his people, he separates the good and bad figs. He judges righteously but also lovingly blesses the good before destroying the bad fruit. It is also evident that God uses his process of judgment to sift and separate the two groups so the good heritage is not tainted by the bad. Too many Christians have a negative view of God’s corrective judgments, but in reality it is necessary and shows his great love for his people. Either God is righteous or he isn’t. This chapter shows how righteous, loving and just God is.
What about you? Are you feeling like an exile? Do you feel like God has left you out of the picture and forgotten about you? Be encouraged friend, circumstances are often not what they seem in a spiritual kingdom. God promises to bless the exiles. He chose to pour out his goodness on them. Let’s personalize these promises for those of us who feel like we are in exile.
Starting in verse 4, the Lord says he will:
1) set his eyes on you for good
2) Bring you back (restore your fortunes)
3) Build you up (and not tear down)
4) He will plant you
5) Give you a heart to know Him
6) He will be your covenant God
7) Restore you to new spiritual and emotional heights
Who can hold back to arm of God to bless you? Absolutely no one! He reaches out to bless every part of you in your exile. Honor God with your praise and worship. He has not left you! For there is no God like ours to bless in the midst of the storm. God’s wisdom is majestic, it divides between the good and bad figs. We may be in exile, but our loving Father has chosen us. We have a glorious purpose in his kingdom.