Jeremiah 37:6 Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah: 7 Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: This is what the two of you shall say to the king of Judah, who sent you to me to inquire of me; Pharaoh’s army, which set out to help you, is going to return to its own land, to Egypt. 8 And the Chaldeans shall return and fight against this city; they shall take it and burn it with fire. 9 Thus says the Lord: Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away. 10 Even if you defeated the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men in their tents, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.
Just when it looked like the Chaldean army might leave for good, Jeremiah assures Israel the Chaldeans would be back. The day of reckoning for Israel was delayed, but not withdrawn. Then there’s v.10 which really got my attention.
10 Even if you defeated the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men in their tents, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.
The opponent Israel is facing isn’t actually the Chaldean army, though it’s the Chaldeans who are the visible threat. The opponent is the Lord himself. If it is God’s will that the Chaldeans defeat Israel, sack the city of Jerusalem, and send Israelites into exile, that’s exactly what would happen.
I can only imagine what it was like to hear these words from Jeremiah. It must have been something like accepting a death of sorts, which it was. The nation they’d known, the land God promised them, the treasures accumulated over centuries – would all be gone. Their humiliation would be complete.
There are times we have to accept the inevitable, as painful as it may be. I remember standing at my step-dad’s side as life was slipping away from him. It had been a long process, and he was extremely weak, but in the back of my mind I hoped he might rally, that we might keep him around a bit longer. Maybe a few more month. One more football season (he lived for Texas Longhorns football games). But talking to the hospice nurse it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. I needed to make my peace with the inevitable and let him go.
Maybe you’re in a difficult situation right now and you’re putting up a fight, resisting. Maybe there is hope, but maybe it’s time to make peace with the inevitable. Lord, show us the way forward. Amen.