Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Rotting Figs, by Rachel Bess

The Lord shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord / Then said the Lord unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
Jeremiah 24:1a,3

Israel has fallen, and the state of Judah is divided. Over half the population is taken away as slaves to Babylon, with a remnant left behind. Those left behind feel blessed, believing God has chosen them, but in fact the opposite is true. The baskets of figs represent the two communities, but in a surprising way.

Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.1

And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the Lord...I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.2

God's plan is not always obvious or apparent. What appears to be punishment might actually be protection. What appears to be blessing may be delusion. We can easily fool ourselves into believing we are the blessed ones. I am reminded of a slogan badge I once bought for a friend, "Jesus loves you—but I'm his favourite". It's funny because it speaks the truth, starkly. We are a deluded people, each group or sect believing they are the chosen ones, each side in a war believing God is with only them. We don't know who God is with, one would hope everyone equally, but one thing comes out again and again in the Bible: God is with the underdog; God is with the oppressed and the downtrodden, with the publicans and sinners;3 God is with those who believe God has forsaken them. And conversely, it seems that God turns away from arrogance, self-importance and self-righteousness. We don't know God's plan, so all we can do is our best, to do what we know to be the right thing, and to trust. Good will prevail.

1 Jeremiah 24:5
2 Jeremiah 24:8-9
3 Mark 2:15