I will give them a heart to know me… Jeremiah 24:7a NIV
In the 24th chapter of The Bible, in Jeremiah’s prophecy to God’s people, there’s talk of figs; good figs and bad figs.
“So what?!” you might say, “the Bible talks about a lot of things.” It does. But these figs are figs of significance, because they’re figs that represent two people groups.
Fig-uratively speaking, these figs talked about in Jeremiah 24 presents a conundrum. “Why a conundrum?” you ask. Because the good figs are representative of people who were about to face hard times. They’re about to go through very hard territory, a part of their life that will be filled with disruptions and unimaginable pain.
HOW IT’S GOOD TO BE A GOOD FIG, IF IT MEANS HARDSHIP AND PAIN?
Let’s see if we can fig-ure out why it’s good to be a good fig, even if it means you’ll have to face imaginable pain.
In God’s Word it says these good figs represent the exiles during Jeremiah’s time.
Those taken away.
Those forced into Babylonian captivity.
Those robbed of their dreams and hopes.
The future for these folks doesn’t seem all that rosy at first blush, but…these people are labeled “good figs” because they have God’s attention. Their “good” status comes from being blessed by the Lord. Grace, upon grace, upon grace, upon grace is going to be given to these figs during their painful transplant, which is why they are categorized as good figs.
God sees these folks pain coming–it has to come, can’t be avoided–and in it He will be there, experiencing it with them. By His own word he promises to:
Watch over and care for them.
Bring them back to their homeland.
Build them up, not tear them down.
Plant them, and not uproot them.
Give them hearts that recognize him as the Lord.
Make them His people; a special, blessed, and mighty people.
Conversely, the bad figs…well, they’re on their own.
DON’T FEEL BAD FOR BAD FIGS
Some of you reading this today might want to feel sorry for the bad figs in this story. Don’t! They don’t deserve your pity. They are rotten, no good, very bad figs. They’ve been given countless opportunities to be good figs, but they’ve squandered those opportunities, even as they made conscious decisions to run opposite of God’s will. The bad figs in this story chose to exercise their free will to disobey their master, and they did it again and again, and again, and again, until the results they got were exactly what they hoped for—to be left alone by God.
A UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE
Reliance on God causes grace and blessings to flow into our lives.
Ignoring God means we get to do life alone, on our own, calling the shots for ourselves but at the same time pushing away grace.
The moral to this story is this: Be a good fig, no matter the cost, because good figs find grace in their time of need.
Would you classify yourself as a good fig or a bad fig right now? When have you let bad figs suffer their consequences for the decisions they’ve made?