S (Scripture): Jeremiah 24:1
The Lord showed me two baskets of figs sitting before his temple. This happened after King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon deported Jehoiakim’s son, King Jeconiah… 2 One basket had very good-looking figs in it. They looked like those that had ripened early. The other basket had very bad-looking figs in it, so bad they could not be eaten. 3 The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I answered, “I see figs. The good ones look very good. But the bad ones look very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”
4 The Lord said to me, 5 “I, the Lord, the God of Israel, say: ‘The exiles whom I sent away from here to the land of Babylon are like those good figs. I consider them to be good. 6 I will look after their welfare and will restore them to this land. There I will build them up and will not tear them down. I will plant them firmly in the land and will not uproot them. 7 I will give them the desire to acknowledge that I am the Lord. I will be their God and they will be my people. For they will wholeheartedl return to me.’
8 “I, the Lord, also solemnly assert: ‘King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and the people who remain in Jerusalem or who have gone to live in Egypt are like those bad figs. I consider them to be just like those bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten.’…”
O (Observation): The Lord brings in an image to Jeremiah. The expectation for God’s people is that those who stay and defend their position as rightful heirs of the promised land will be honored, and those who leave will essentially be leaving The Lord and the central place of worship. Where is God, but in the Temple?
But God has other things in mind : ). Those who stay are the bad figs. Those who are sent to Babylon are the good figs.
God is bringing about a course correction for His people. And what’s more, is that God promises to be with those “good figs” who follow God’s call to step away from the home land. God promises to establish those who are sent to foreign lands. God promises to NOT abandon God’s people, but promises to be with them in their exile.
At the end of their capacity, God promises to step in and provide saving grace, along with a promise to re-establish God’s people again, into the Promised Land.
A (Application): Following God’s call into a foreign land can seem daunting, even impossible. Sometimes we need a course-correction. Sometimes (as the Spirit leads) we just need to go off the reservation for a short time, in order to see that God goes with us.
That’s where my mind is today. I don’t particularly think we’ve been bad over at the congregation I serve : )
I simply connect to what it might be like to step off of my “promised land” (aka the building for Advent Lutheran Church) and follow the Spirit into a new territory (Middle TN State University), as we begin our joint campus ministry at The Wesley Foundation.
I sense that God is in the midst of establishing a home there for us. That God will call us the “good figs.” That God will build us up, together, with our Methodist brothers and sisters.
P (Prayer): Lord, I’m heading into new territory today. Guide me ever, Great Redeemer. (I assume you know that hymn, right, God? : ) Amen.