Not . . . Completely

Read: Jeremiah 5:12-19

“Yet even in those days,” declares the LORD, “I will not destroy you completely.” (v. 18 NIV)

In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, some prominent Christian leaders implied (or stated outright) that the pandemic was God’s judgment for specific human sins. These statements missed two important truths. First, God’s judgment is indiscriminate—well-deserved by all people for all sins. Second, the judgment we truly deserve is not disease or disaster. It is total destruction.

When God announced Judah’s exile, he said that he would not destroy them completely (v. 18). Instead, God used the exile to remove his people’s sin and reintroduce them to his redeeming love. The exile was not the judgment God’s people deserved. He disciplined his people but never destroyed them, and when he afflicted his people, he did so with salvation in mind.

When we are struggling, we are tempted to draw two conclusions. First, we are tempted to think that our suffering is God’s judgment. But our well-deserved punishment fell on Jesus Christ at the cross, and our sin died with him. We are also tempted to think that this particular crisis will be the end of us. God’s promise to Judah is his promise to us. If you belong to Jesus, no circumstance will destroy you completely. In fact, our Lord promises to use even our hardest circumstances to complete us because he loves us completely (see Rom. 8:28; Phil. 1:6). —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, trust God to sustain you and save you.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.

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