The word of the Lord came to me: “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bore them and the fathers who fathered them in this land: They shall die of deadly diseases. They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried. Jeremiah 16:1-4a ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
There’s an old story about the wizard, Merlin, who was an advisor to King Arthur. Merlin could sometimes see into the future, and one day he was in the marketplace and saw a young man buying a pair of shoes. The young man also bought some leather so that he could repair the shoes when they started to wear out and make them last longer. When Merlin saw this, he started to laugh. He knew that the young man was about to drown in a river, and that he’d never even wear the new shoes he had just bought. Merlin could see into the future, but he had no sympathy or concern for this young man.
This is only a story, but the Lord truly does see into the future, and he saw death and disaster coming because of his people’s sins. God warned his prophet Jeremiah not to get married or to have any children. He had sympathy and concern for Jeremiah, and he knew that many people would soon die of disease and famine and violence. He wanted to spare Jeremiah the anxiety he would feel for his family as he lived through the terrible times to come, so he gave his prophet the difficult assignment to not have a family. Jeremiah would know loneliness because of this, but God in his mercy wanted to spare him from a bigger sorrow.
The Lord doesn’t ask most people to live without families, and in fact a family is one of the greatest blessings he gives on this earth. Some people choose to live without a family so that they can serve God better, but most people serve God by loving and serving their families. Yet God does ask us to leave behind everything that keeps us from following him and doing his will. What he asks his people to leave behind is the sin and rebellion that turns us away from him. When Jesus came to the earth, he followed his Heavenly Father’s will perfectly and didn’t let anyone or anything turn him away from the road that led him to the cross. Jesus died on the cross to bring us back to God, our Heavenly Father, and Jesus stays beside us every day, forgiving our sins and helping us to follow the will of our Heavenly Father.
Dear Jesus, thank you for following God’s will for our sakes. Help us to follow you, and please forgives us our sins. Amen.