Then Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women, all the people who had given him this answer: “As for the offerings that you offered in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your officials, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them? Did it not come into his mind? The Lord could no longer bear your evil deeds and the abominations that you committed. Therefore your land has become a desolation and a waste and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is this day. It is because you made offerings and because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey the voice of the Lord or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his testimonies that this disaster has happened to you, as at this day.” Jeremiah 44:20-23 ESV
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord! Psalm 25:6-7 ESV
There was once a fox who would often sneak into a village and steal chickens from the people who lived there. After he had done this many times, the people of the village caught him coming after their chickens and chased after him with sticks. They beat him with their sticks and drove him out of the village. When the fox limped back to the other foxes, sore and stiff from his beating, he complained about the way the villagers had treated him. He couldn’t understand why they had been so mean! The other foxes scolded him for being so foolish as to not understand. Did he think the villagers would forget about the way he was always stealing their chickens? He was only getting what he deserved.
Jeremiah scolded his people in the same way. They had rebelled against God time and time again, and had made offerings to false gods and goddesses for many years. Now that they had come under God’s judgment, they were complaining and wondering what they had done to deserve the troubles they were having. Jeremiah told them how foolish they were. Didn’t they think that the Lord would remember all the things they had done, as well as their fathers before them? All the disaster that had come to their people was only what they had deserved, because God could no longer stand their rebellion and the way they wouldn’t follow his ways and obey his law.
We also disobey God and rebel against his law, and if God always remembered our sins we would be in terrible trouble. But there’s something else that God remembers, and that’s his love for us. God’s love causes him to have mercy on us, and he sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. Because of what Jesus did, the Lord no longer remembers our sins against us, but instead he forgives us every day. He brings us back to him when we rebel against him, and helps us to walk in his ways.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for remembering us with love and mercy, and for forgiving our sins. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Northcote, James and Harvey, William One Hundred Fables: original and selected London: Geo. Lawford, 1825.