Then I spoke to the priests and to all this people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Do not listen to the words of your prophets who are prophesying to you, saying, ‘Behold, the vessels of the Lord‘s house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon and live. Why should this city become a desolation? If they are prophets, and if the word of the Lord is with them, then let them intercede with the Lord of hosts, that the vessels that are left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem may not go to Babylon. For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take away, when he took into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem—thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that are left in the house of the Lord, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem: They shall be carried to Babylon and remain there until the day when I visit them, declares the Lord. Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.” Jeremiah 27:16-22 ESV
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:7-13 ESV
Silas Marner was a lonely weaver who lived by himself in a stone cottage. As he did his work and got paid for it, he saved all the money he earned, and soon he had a lot of it. Since he didn’t have any family or friends to love, he loved his gold money and spent his spare time looking at it and holding it. But one day a thief broke into his cottage and stole his gold from him, and he was devastated. He kept going to the door day after day and looking out, seeing if maybe his money had returned to him. But nothing happened, and it was many years before he got his gold back.
God’s people had lost their treasure also. Nebuchadnezzar had taken all the beautiful temple vessels that had been made by Solomon. But Nebuchadnezzar had left some of the larger treasures in the temple: the large sea for washing, the pillars, and the stands. The people kept wishing and hoping that the temple vessels would be returned to them, and lying prophets were telling them they would soon be brought back. Jeremiah said that if these prophets were truly speaking for the Lord, then they should be praying for the people and asking God to keep the rest of the temple treasures safe. Jeremiah warned the people that Nebuchadnezzar would be back to take the rest of the treasures also. They should stop wishing for something that wouldn’t happen, and obey Nebuchadnezzar instead of trying to fight him.
Sometimes we fight against God’s purposes in our lives also. God sometimes allows us to have trouble and sorrow, and he wants these hard times to bring us closer to him. But we often keep wishing and hoping that the Lord would bring back our good times, and complaining when he doesn’t. We don’t look for God to work good things for us through our troubles. But God keeps loving us and forgiving us for fighting against him. He sent Jesus to die for us to take away all of our sins. Because of Jesus, we have God’s love forever, and no problems or sadness can take his love and help away from us.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to trust you and your purposes when we have hard times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Eliot, George Silas Marner: the Weaver of Raveloe Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1861