4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. 6 My eyes will watch over them for their 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 uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
This short chapter, only ten verses, entitled Two Baskets of Figs has much to say about those carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and those who refused His direction via the prophet Jeremiah to go into exile.
In the verses above we see God’s plans for those who did go into exile and the plans are positive during the exile and afterwards. During the exile He will watch over them with a promise to bring them back to this land. In addition He will build them up and upon their return plant them in their home in Israel. However, the most important thing He will do is I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. All dependent upon their hearts!
For those who did not follow His directions and go into exile, instead trying to flee to Egypt or remain in Israel, the results will not be positive at all.
8 “‘But like the bad figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,’ says the Lord, ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the survivors from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt. 9 I will make them abhorrent and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword, a curse and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish them. 10 I will send the sword, famine and plague against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.’”
It should be noted the cause and purpose of the exile. The cause was idolatry in its many forms, but especially the worship of Baal and child sacrifice. The purpose was to humble His chosen people and wean them away from such idolatry while He watches over and protects them until their promised return.
God’s corrections to our erroneous and wicked behavior is not something to be looked forward to, but it is something to pay careful attention to and learn from it what He would have us learn. I know I have had a series of corrections from Him throughout much of my adult life. Sometimes I listened and I learned my lesson. Other times I didn’t listen and greater corrections came until I listened.
It’s Monday and I hope you have a Great Week!