Day 18

The Righteous Branch of David

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Jeremiah 23:1-40, Jeremiah 24:1-10, Exodus 12:33-38, Colossians 1:13-14

BY Claire Gibson

I’m sitting at my dining room table on the verge of tears. It’s been a good day, really. I slept in, made breakfast for my family, went to the gym, ate a nutritious lunch, and now, the toddler is napping and I’m sitting here, feeling so empty I could cry.

Some modern-day advice-givers would be quick to point out my many blessings; for one, my family is intact and loving toward one another. Other people might try to help by pointing me in the direction of self-help guides, books to help me cope better because people like me shouldn’t be feeling any existential or emotional angst. Still others might remind me that the universe “has my back,” that in the end, everything is going to be okay. But is it? On the surface, my circumstances don’t justify this level of emotion. And yet, I have this sense, deep down, that something is wrong, that even though everything on the surface seems okay, everything on the surface isn’t all there is.

That’s what’s happening in this cryptic chapter of Jeremiah. The people of Israel had been led astray by false teachers—teachers that Scripture likens to “evil shepherds.” These teachers told the people that everything was fine. Even if they lived lives of evil, these teachers promised that God would grant them peace (Jeremiah 23:17). The false teachers encouraged people to persist in their godless actions, and when the people felt the inklings of sadness creep up—sadness that might lead them to repentance—the evil teachers distracted the people with stories of their dreams and false words wrongly attributed to God.

And here’s something important to take away from this passage: God has no patience for people who speak on his behalf, and speak falsely. As I write this devotion that a large community of women from all around the world will read, I should take this warning to heart. Those who attempt to communicate truths from Scripture are held to a high, exacting standard.

Sometimes, a shepherd must strike the sheep with his crook in order to keep the flock together. Sometimes those are acts of mercy. Words of kindness and encouragement have their place. Words of discipline and correction are just as valuable. But I need a doctor that won’t sugarcoat my diagnosis. I need a friend who can look me in the eye and say, “Yes, this sadness that you feel is real, and it’s stemming from the fact that your entire life is structured around serving your own needs and desires, rather than serving others.” I need teachers who will tell me the truth, even when the truth hurts.

We live in a culture that longs for God to be all-merciful, all-healing, all-loving—and He is. And yet, over and over again in Scripture, He uses images like the good and bad figs (Jeremiah 24) to represent the reality that there will come a judgment day when our actions will be measured and weighed. Knowing this, the Lord again provided another way so that one day, His sheep will no longer be afraid or discouraged, nor will any be missing. He declared:

“Look, the days are coming”—this is the LORD’s declaration—
“when I will raise up a Righteous Branch for David” (Jeremiah 23:5).

Our lives here matter. Our choices here matter. And when we go astray, our God doesn’t shout orders to us from afar to get us back to where we belong. No, our Savior came to us to provide a way to God the Father. And when we go astray, Christ doesn’t shout that He loves us from afar; He provides a way to God on our behalf, one that stretches between the Father and us. Through Jesus Christ, “he has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14).The end goal isn’t just heaven someday. It’s being close to God right now, today.

Post Comments (81)

81 thoughts on "The Righteous Branch of David"

  1. Angie says:

    Dear Father, God, I pray your presence over Dana. I ask that she find her refuge in You, that your wings would cover her and give her peace. I thank you for the deep love she and her father shared. Flood her mind with the good and precious. Give her strength for decisions. Give her hope for tomorrow, and thank you for the 8 years of better health he had since the bypass. What a blessing Lord. Be near her I pray. Amen.

  2. Searching says:

    Praying for you Dana!

  3. Kristen says:

    Prayers for Dana and her family. Thank you, Claire for reminding us that judgement is coming. Thank you for reminding us that our choices here matter. God is loving, so loving He sent Jesus. Jesus loves us so much that He was obedient to the point of death on a Cross. God is loving, but I do not want to forget that He is Holy and Just. May He help me to live a life pleasing to Him. I can’t do that on my own. As Jesus said, He will send His Holy Spirit to help us. May the words of my mouth and my actions not quench or grieve the Spirit. May I lead people to Him and not away. Amen

  4. Tricia C says:

    Praying for you Dana.

  5. Jenn says:

    Praying for you Dana. May the Lord wrap His arms around you and lift you up and may you find peace.

  6. Tina says:

    Dana, lifting you and yours up in prayer. Praying you know the loving arms of God the Father, tightly wrapped around you, and His peace that surpasses all understand envelope you..
    Sending love wrapped hugs to you at this sad sad time Dana..❤

  7. Indiana Christina says:

    Oh, dear Dana. My heart hurts for you. I was wondering why God woke me from sleeping only 4 hours after going to bed. Perhaps He wanted me to see your prayer request and lift you up in prayer. I know how you feel. My dad passed away in 2013, and it felt like a nightmare.

    May our Loving Father provide you and your family comfort and an awareness of His presence during this tough time. May He give you the glory strength..”the strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us” (Colossians 1:11b-12, The Message). May He bless and keep you.

    Sending love and hugs to you, Dana.

  8. Dana says:

    Hello,

    Asking for prayer please. My 80 year old dad passed away suddenly early this morning from a fluke esophageal tear that went unnoticed and he was on blood thinners. And I am missing him so very much. I am 49 years old and I still need him. Grief is so difficult to go through and I wish I could wake from a dream. I’m so grateful for his life and the extra time we were given (he had a triple bypass 8 years ago that gave him a whole new lease on life and he’s done wonderfully!). Anyway, just feeling a little lost tonight. Thank you for listening and for any prayers said on our behalf.

    1. Kristin Dovbniak says:

      Lifting you up in prayer ❤️

    2. Linda J says:

      Praying for you and your family.

    3. Ashley McCoy says:

      Dana I am praying for you sister. ❤️

    4. Emily Lemons says:

      Holding you in prayer today, Dana. I’m so sorry

    5. Crislyn Petzoldt says:

      Praying for you at this time of heart ache

    6. Stacey Wilson says:

      Saying a prayer for you right now

    7. Dee Wilcox says:

      Grief can be so lonely. Know that your SRT sisters are standing with you and holding you up in prayer

    8. Jonelle Olson says:

      I’m so very sorry. I have a dad in his 80’s and I know dear is near but one can never be prepared for such loss. I’m praying for you tiday.

    9. Jennifer Cummings says:

      Prayers of comfort for you Dana. I lost my mom suddenly 3 years ago and I understand that grief. May you feel the nearness of the Lord today ❤️

    10. Stephanie Spay says:

      Praying for you, Dana!

    11. Allison Reed says:

      Praying for you right now Dana. Praying you will feel your the Lords nearness and provision!

    12. Shasta Moczulski says:

      Dana, my prayers are being lifted now for you and your father. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    13. Jane K says:

      Praying for you Dana. May God wrap you in His arms and give you His peace and comfort as you go through this season of grieving. May you be a light to those around you as you mourn the loss of your father. Keeping you in my prayers.

    14. Mari V says:

      Praying for a Dana! I know your pain. Next month April 12 will be 12 years since my daddy went home to be with Jesus. He would be 89 years. As much as it hurts, please know that our daddies are healed completely! I’ll be praying for you sister!

    15. K D says:

      Praying for you right now Dana.

    16. Sam Campbell says:

      Hi Dana. I am 26 and my dad is on hospice currently and is expected to die any day now (stage 4 cancer). I’m praying for you right now and so sorry for your loss. I’m dreading it terribly. You are not alone in your pain and the Lord is going to keep giving you and I both enough strength and grace for each day.

    17. Cristina Higgins says:

      Praying for you Dana. The loss of a beloved parent leaves such a hole in our lives. That hole will become smaller with time, but we don’t want it to completely go away. Store your precious memories in there.

    18. Joyce Smith says:

      Dana I am lifting you up to Our Father. Please know you are so very loved. I will continue to pray for comfort and peace for you and your family.❤️

    19. Julia L says:

      Praying! For comfort and for strength to walk through the fog of grief and know that whether you can hear His voice or not, Jesus walks with you.

    20. Monica Hailey says:

      Praying for you, Dana!

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