Thursday, March 31, 2016

Rachel weeping, continued again

Yesterday we read a long passage; the thirty-first chapter of Jeremiah shows that God offers to all of us at least ten forms of comfort for our pain and our weeping. The comfort God offers to us is real comfort, and the joy that He promises is real joy. Weeping will last only for the night; then morning comes, full of song.
Let's dive in!
The first form of comfort is that of joyful worship. When we are in pain, the deep and fearful pain that we humans can feel when we suffer loss and depression, we surely don't feel like rejoicing, do we? Do we feel like offering glad worship to our Father?  Sometimes it seems to be all that we can do to get out of bed and get dressed; we may go to church but we barely listen -- we just aren't feeling that "Rejoice in all things" kind of attitude, are we? But God says He will work in our lives; He will comfort us and change those feelings -- look at verse four: "You will take up your timbrels (musical intruments) and dance with the joyful." And again in verses seven and twelve, He says we will shout with joy. In verse thirteen:
         I will turn their mourning into gladness;    I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
When we are weeping, these are words to cling to! How will this happen?
The second comfort is answered prayer. Verse nine says we will weep and pray, and that He will "bring us back" . . . bringing them back was what He would do for the children of Israel. Restoring them to their land. And just as He would do that for them, He will answer our prayers as well.

The next comfort is preservation from danger. Verse nine says He will lead us on a level path, and He will make certain that we don't stumble. Jude 1:24 reassures us that He is able to keep us from stumbling.

The next comfort He promises is the gift of repentance, the ability to see our sins as He does, and then be able to ask for His mercy. Verse nineteen talks about our repenting after we go astray; it says then we can understand what our sin looks like to our holy Father.

Next, God offers the comfort of forgiveness of sins. What a precious promise we see in verse 34:
For I will forgive their wickedness    and will remember their sins no more.
It's comforting, too, to realize that we have His guidance for the future. Verse 21 tells us:
Set up road signs;    put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
    the road that you take.
Just as we read in Proverbs 3:6, this verse tells us that He will direct our paths. There is an old song that speaks of "His hand in mine." How comforting to know that He truly is in control, and will lovingly guide us.

The next comfort He promises is that of a good shepherd. Verse 10 says that He will watch over His flock like a shepherd. The shepherd's job is to find food for the sheep, to keep them in safe pastures, to ward off the attacks of beasts who would destroy them, and much more. Remember Jesus' words in John? Re-read the first 18 verse of John 10 . . . let those words calm and soothe your soul.

God also offers (in verse 12) the comfort of daily provision;
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;    they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lordthe grain, the new wine and the olive oil,    the young of the flocks and herds.They will be like a well-watered garden,    and they will sorrow no more.
This holy God is interested in our every moment; He offers guidance, comfort, and even makes certain we have sustenance each day.
Lastly, He comforts us by paying the ransom for our sins (I Timothy 2:6); He redeems us as His own.
For the Lord will deliver Jacob    and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. (Verse 11)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
All of these blessings are the real comfort -- the peace that comes from the Father.
We'll finish our study tomorrow.


Cathy said...

How beautiful! and so very comforting indeed.

Katie Isabella said...

I have clung to some of those verses as the life saver that they are during times of great pain and travail both for me and one of my children..