‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’... I am against you, Jerusalem,
Jeremiah 21:8-10, 13
"I am against you." These have to be the most terrifying words God has ever spoken to a man. The prophet Jeremiah delivers this oracle to the people of Jerusalem in the 6th century. King Nebuchadnezzar would soon destroy the city of Jerusalem. God's punishment for their rebellion was to send a foreign king to kindle a fire and destroy their city.
"I am against you." God has passed this terrifying judgment on each and everyone one of His rebellious creatures. In Romans 1:18 the Word says "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness." We have all sinned and gone our own way (Romans 3:23). We have all rebelled against God, and our impending judgment is just as sure as the judgment of which Jeremiah spoke. The fires of Hell have already been kindled to destroy those who oppose God.
But thank God He is never changing! Just as He prepared a way of escape for the Old Testament people of God, so He has made a way of salvation for us as well. Those in Jerusalem had to humble themselves under God's punishment and submit to captivity, but the offer of salvation which He has extended to us is far better. We must also give up our earthly "city." We can longer live for this world if we are to escape God's wrath. We must become citizens of a different and better country. And we must also surrender ourselves to God and submit to His will for our lives. We too will live like aliens and strangers on this earth, but we will be reconciled to God. Everlasting peace will have been brokered on our behalf between ourselves and the Father by the only mediator who is able to do so, Jesus- His perfect Son.
If we will but cast our faith on Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, and believe that His death and resurrection secured our peace, then God will speak new words to us. Instead of "I am against you," He will say "I will be your God and you will be my children" (Revelation 21:7).
Thank you Father for the way of salvation you offer to us through Jesus Your Son. May all praise and glory be to You, God of all mercy!