Jeremiah 16:19 – “O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction.”
At the first sign of troubles that come your way, to whom do you turn?
In this scripture, God forbade the Israelites to marry from within the people in Judea. This ban shows us the state of Judea at that time – parents were miserable as their children were wayward and Judea was disorderly and dreadful. God had promised fruitfulness as a blessing under the law. However, it seemed like in such difficult times, as were upon the Jewish nation, they didn’t feel God’s presence.
How did Jeremiah feel about God through all of this? God was his support and comfort (strength), his protection and shelter(fortress), to where he escaped for deliverance and consolation (refuge in… affliction). Jeremiah describes how the Lord made him strong. God was like his strong building and his place of safety.
Jeremiah consoled himself at the waywardness of Israel, of pursuing idols instead of God, by thinking of the time when all the nations (Gentiles) would become aware (conscious) of the irrationality of their tradition of idolatry and acknowledge the one living and true God. The Gentiles would realize that their ancestors inherited lies, vanity and so on, and did not receive the satisfaction promised for themselves and their children. They would get sense of their foolishness of going to idols that got them cheated to ruin. They would therefore renounce idol worship and go only to God for refuge and protection. God’s judgement to His people was harsh and God’s power is seen that He would convict them of their erroneous ways of worshiping inanimate objects with no power. This is because God is a just God and wants all, Jews and Gentiles, to be His people. God promised to draw the Gentiles to Himself from the ends of the earth. This is God’s love for all people.
One day all people will understand God’s power. God promised Abraham that “all the nations” would receive the blessing. Isaiah said that ‘in the last days’ all nations would come to worship the Lord. People would recognize that idols had no value; idols brought no benefit to the people who worshiped them; idols were only made by men. This is God’s grace to mankind.
So again take a look inward – At the first sign of your troubles, to whom do you turn?