Yikes! Not the good news that people were hoping for! While it was true that God’s people had broken the covenant, surely God wouldn’t abandon them. That’s not the God we serve, right?
I call passages like this “Bible behaving badly.” A little provocative to be sure. These parts of scripture don’t point to a God whose love is readily apparent, and we can become concerned that the gospel message of love and forgiveness isn’t universal.
These difficult passages are part of our biblical tradition, and they speak to an experience that God’s people were having. They knew they sinned and broke their agreement with God. They expected to be punished.
But God’s story doesn’t end there. While God’s people found themselves in exile, which they understood as a punishment, they also found themselves returning to the land that God had given them. They learned what they already knew, that God is a God of love and forgiveness, and restores our broken relationships, especially our relationship with God.
Holy God, repair my relationship with you when it is broken. Amen. — KP