Destroy his own temple?

God is not tame, nor can he be.

This statement, like C.S. Lewis claimed about Aslan, is one that pilgrims who are suffering need to realize and come to grips with. I am coming to grips with it. I wish I didn’t have to, but isn’t that the crux of suffering? We hurt deeply, yet that is the place where we grow deeper in our love for Jesus.

So God is teaching me that he cannot be tamed. I can ask him things, but I cannot tell him to do things. When we suffer, like at no other time, we have to realize that God works in ways that we cannot see. He is willing to do radical things to accomplish his purpose (ex. sinless Jesus suffering and dying for sinners is quite a radical plan).

Continuing my reading in Jeremiah (chapters 6 and 7), I see support for this again, that God will do the radical to bring his people to know him deeper.

Again, these are hard chapters to read as God recounts the sins of the people, of his people, and describes the wrath that is coming. I cannot imagine hearing these words and being on the receiving end of the punishment. However, I can imagine suffering and grief to a small degree, and it just out right hurts.

Verses 8-11 in the seventh chapter cut to the chase and sets up for Israel just how radical God is, how far he is willing to go to show his love. Wait, punishing his people is showing that he loves them? Allowing his people to go through suffering, pain, grief, loss — that’s love? I think we have to say that it is. Jeremiah already showed that God is committed to his people. He will not blot them out completely. He is doing a work of preserving his people, renewal, and restoration. Scripture shows us over and over that this is his purpose as he transforms his people. So everything that he does has love behind it, woven through it, foundational to all his works. It is who he is.

However, lest we forget, he is also holy and his wrath against sin is tied to his holiness. For Israel, they took their claim as God’s people to give them allowance to sin. God would not have that.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think that you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other gods of yours, and then come here (to the temple) and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “we are safe!” – only to go right back to all those evils again?” (Jeremiah 7:8-10)

Oh, the games that we play with God. Isn’t this the cycle of our sin and hypocrisy before a holy, all-knowing God?

We sin, we run to God and say, “I’m safe”, then we go back out and frolic in sin some more?

This is a stinging accusation against God’s chosen people, which God had full supporting evidence to charge them with.

Radical God steps to the plate.

Verse 12-13…

“Go now to the place of Shiloh where I once put the tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. So, just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this temple that bears my name, this temple that you trust in for help…”

God is willing to destroy the temple (and Jerusalem of course) to teach them a valuable lesson (or no doubt, many lessons).

God’s people trusted the temple of God instead of the God of the temple.

God cannot be tamed. We cannot “use” him to meet our needs, to get our way, to remove the thorns of life.

God will not have it.

This has been an anchoring lesson that I keep coming back to in the midst of the pain and confusion of suffering.

God is radical. He will accomplish his purpose through acts and events that boggle my mind, but he is God.

There is a song that I discovered that speaks directly to suffering and the confusion that it brings to a child of God. I so often think that I am “safe” from all harms that this world can throw at me, but is that the same principle that God was teaching Israel back in Jeremiah’s day?

This pilgrim journey is hard. I am more convinced than ever before that it is meant to be that way. Hard. Dying to self is hard.

This is a song that I can still not listen to without tears. The lyrics to clearly describe the raw emotions that we all have in the midst of suffering.

Here is the song (link to the the audio on Spotify below) by Hillary Scott, called “Thy Will”…

I’m so confused

I know I heard you loud and clear

So, I followed through

Somehow I ended up here

I don’t wanna think

I may never understand

That my broken heart is a part of your plan

When I try to pray

All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

I know you’re good

But this don’t feel good right now

And I know you think

Of things I could never think about

It’s hard to count it all joy

Distracted by the noise

Just trying to make sense

Of all your promises

Sometimes I gotta stop

Remember that you’re God

And I am not

So,

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will

I know you see me

I know you hear me, Lord

Your plans are for me

Goodness you have in store

I know you hear me

I know you see me, Lord

Your plans are for me

Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

Thy will be done

I know you see me

I know you hear me, Lord

Source:  LyricFind

Spotify: Thy Will

Good Father, help me to have this same resolve…May your will be done! Thank you for being so tender and merciful with me as I learn to die to self every day. Thy will be done in me — those are not easy words to say, give me the strength to even whisper those words with a sincere heart. Thank you for seeing me and hearing me. Help me to be content with that, that you are with me. You are present in my pain. No, you haven’t answered my prayers, but no doubt those prayers we re amiss. You aim so much higher! Help me to be content with you as LORD and submit to your perfect will, even when that means that my prayers may go unanswered. You are answering; your ways are perfect. Thank you that my faith does not rest on whether you answer my prayers or not. Thank you that everything that I need, I have in Christ my Savior. Oh that I would be content in you Jesus!

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