Lord, let my heart break with what breaks Your heart. If it is something in me, let me leave it behind.
Read: Jeremiah 4:19-31
 Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry.  Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.  How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?  “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.”  I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone.  I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.  I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away.  I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.  This is what the LORD says: “The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.  Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.” At the sound of horsemen and archers every town takes to flight. Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks. All the towns are deserted; no one lives in them.  What are you doing, you devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why highlight your eyes with makeup? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they want to kill you.  I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child- the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, “Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.”
Reflect: How do you see God’s judgment?
Although these words come from the lips of Jeremiah, it is God himself who is speaking. In this almost overpowering lament, the heart of the prophet and the heart of God are in harmony. It is as though God is grieving aloud through his servant.
Despite God’s repeated pleadings (see yesterday’s reading), his people are unwilling to mend their ways. Exile is now inevitable. But although this punishment comes from God’s hands, it no less grieves God’s heart. He is a Father who punishes his child only reluctantly and as a last resort.
When we come to considering God’s judgment, two equally serious mistakes are often made. Some shy away entirely from talking about judgment, insisting that God is a God of love, never of anger. But parental love that never chides or corrects is no love at all. Others almost rub their hands in glee at the thought of God judging–always other people, of course. But this overlooks two truths: first, that God stands in judgment only with reluctance and grief (2 Pet. 3:9); and, secondly, that his judgment falls first on those who claim to be on his side, and does so to purge and purify (1 Pet. 4:17).
In what ways and for what reasons do you think God is holding back judgment? Journal your thoughts.
Father, You are perfectly loving and perfectly just. My heart trusts in You.