The harsh reality of forsaking their Glory (God) for the sake of idols and things made with hands out of wood and stone, came down hard upon the nation of Israel. Jeremiah prophetically describes the event before it happens. It’s always been 21 sufferinginteresting to me that the Scriptures often gave Israel of the warning destruction but God left it up to history to describe it. The best accounts we have of the destruction of the Temple are not in the bible but in secular history. Josephus records better accounts with more detail of the destruction of the temple than anything in Scripture. Scripture predicts (prophesies) and history records!

Speaking of the coming invasion of Judah, Jeremiah warns the people in Jeremiah 4:20-21. He explains the effect it will have on the land, “Crash follows hard on crash; the whole land is laid waste.” He then moves to explain that it will affect himself as well. He says, “Suddenly my tents are laid waste, my curtains in a moment.” The invasion seems to go on forever. He concludes, “How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?” It’s always been a major debate about how God could be loving and yet allow such pain in the world. I’ve wrestled with numerous explanations and have found all of them with some kind of flaw. I’ve come to the same conclusion that Job came to at the end. My thoughts are not God’s thoughts. My ways are not His ways. I wasn’t around when he placed Orion in the skies. I wasn’t around when He carved out the mountains. My role is to trust Him. He doesn’t need me or Elihu, Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz to defend Him. Neither does he need me! He just calls for me to trust Him. I do!

Yet the old time commentator, Alexander Maclaren makes some interesting comments about the purpose of suffering. He writes, “But what it really means is this, that the divine love which hovers over its poor, prodigal children because it is love, and, therefore, lovingly delights in a loving recognition and response, desires most of all that all the wanderers should see the light, and that every soul of man should be able to whisper, with loving heart, the name, ‘Abba! Father!’ Is not that an uplifting thought as being the dominant motive which puts in action the whole of the divine activity God created in order that He might fling His light upon creatures, who should thereby be glad. And God has redeemed in order that in Jesus Christ we might see Him, and, seeing Him, be at rest, and begin to grow like Him. This is the aim, ‘That they might know Thee, the only true God … whom to know is eternal life.’ And so self-communication and self-revelation is the very central mystery of the will.”[1]

[1] Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture (Heritage Educational Systems, 2008), Eph 1:5.