S (Scripture): Jeremiah 21:8 This is what you should tell this people: The Lord says: I’m setting before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in the city will die by the sword, famine, and disease. But whoever leaves the city and surrenders to the Babylonians will live; yes, their lives will be spared. 10 I have set my face against this city for harm and not for good, declares the Lord; it will be delivered to the king of Babylon, who will set it on fire.
O (Observation): God has finally allowed the people of God to be taken over. Their lives are no longer dedicated to God, except when they are in a pinch. God will be letting the people feel the pain of moving away from God’s grace.
This pain, however, can possibly be assuaged. God is giving life in the midst of the death and destruction to come. If they stay in Israel, they will perish. But if they go with the Babylonians – back to Babylon – they will live. The people must decide.
A note about “captivity” in the days of Jeremiah: neighboring countries that conquered a people and its land would take the people as captives back to their own homelands. Some of the captors would stay in the place which they conquered, but mostly, folks whose land was captured would be taken to the land of their captors. They would live, but in a foreign land.
A (Application): At times, we find ourselves in a pit that we have dug with our own hands. We sort of wake up to the destruction we have created around our lives. These moments of awakening can seem to be desparate times, indeed. And yet…we are still people of hope.
Our past does not define us. Our errors are not what makes up our identities. We are who are followers of Christ seek our identity in Him: forgiven sinners, sheep in the Great Shepherd’s flock, sons and daughters of The King.
Who we are is shaped by God. We err. We repent to God. We are made new.
God’s people would be gathered once again, despite their captivity in Babylon. The years would be many, but they would eventually be redeemed. In Jesus Christ, who reconciles all of us to God.
P (Prayer): Lord, hear our cries of repentance. Amen.