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. Churchmouse says:

    Cera, praying too for you and your family as you support your mother in her battle against cancer. How much your loving presence must mean to her! I pray that you know Jesus is near even when you can’t feel Him. I pray you know he whispers “I love you. I am with you” even when you can’t hear His voice. Praying for strength for you all in this difficult journey.

  2. Churchmouse says:

    Dana, I pray the sweet presence of Jesus brings you peace and comfort in your loss. You will have a great and glorious reunion with your dad in heaven one day.

    Pam, I pray that one day you will have a sweet reunion here on earth with your grandson, that he would be freed from the chains of addiction and that he would be made whole in body, mind and spirit.

    Dana and Pam, I pray for strength for you both as these are difficult days of grieving for you. I pray you lean on the strong arms of Jesus. You can do all things, even get through all this, through Him. He’ll give you the strength you need.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I’m so glad the Lord has given us his Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads us into all truth. We can discern the truth in other’s words and our own. I pray I would accurately speak out your truth Jesus.

  4. Melanie Rastrelli says:

    I know your heart is broken precious Dana. May God bless and heal you to make it through this very sad time in your life. Praying for you sweetness. ❤️

  5. Pam Williams says:

    Please pray for me today. I almost daily am overwhelmed with tears As I pray and as I read the word, often with my Realization of how weak my Flash is And yet how great my God’s love is for me. On Monday we picked up our oldest grandson,, Who was adopted out of Foster care as 6 years old. Hes now 24, Worshiping at the idol of drugs, been living on the streets for the past couple of years, and just finished a 6 month stent in the county jail. So we picked him up and delivered him to our local gospel rescue mission to hopefully enter a program. Unfortunately we learned last night that he left to meet with his parole officer and has never returned. These passages in Jeremiah are being played out in his life. We were guardedly hopeful, as he seemed to be trying to mend his relationship with his parents and us. We’ve practiced tough live in the past, asking the Lord to humble him so that he will return. I understand and trust God’s bigger plan, but its still hard to once again have our hopes dashed.

    1. Jane K says:

      Praying for you Pam, your family, and your grandson. We have adopted too and I know some of the hurts and pains that can come with that. I also know some of the joys. Praying he turns from the sins of this world and runs to the arms of his savior.

  6. Claudia says:

    Dana, my deepest and sincere condolences to you and your family. May God wrap his loving arms around you and your family and bring comfort and peace. You will be in my prayers.

  7. Pam Williams says:

    Praying for you, Dana. I suddenly lost my dad when i was only 25. Tho I knew he was with Jesus, it was like a dream. Praying God’s strong arms will be around you.

  8. Dorothy says:

    Dana, the loss of a family member suddenly is hard. My mother died suddenly after a car wreck and it was hard. Remember you will see him again in Heaven one day. I’m praying for you and your family.
    Love what you said in your second post Angie. Kristen and Pursued by God your words touched me. Churchmouse your words really sparked me — WOW.
    Amen Meagan, Mari V., and Kelcy Pryor

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