Rope Burns

11:14; 12:15–16:
“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry
or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their
disaster.” . . .  “After I have uprooted
them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each
one to his inheritance and each one to his land. Then if they will really learn
the ways of My people, . . .  they will
be built up in the midst of My people.”

Observation: Jeremiah here
continued his prophetic description of the well-deserved destruction God was
about to visit upon His people. But tucked within this string of gloomy
chapters is a different message, one of hope and divine strategy. God told
Jeremiah not to pray or lift up a cry for the people, for He had determined not
to listen when their desperate circumstances caused them to cry out to Him. But
He went on to say that if they really would turn to Him, if their cry became
not just an appeal for rescue so they could go back into sinful ways but a true
change of heart, He would have compassion on them and build them up again.

Application:These verses
are a rich vein of gold for a variety of relationships where we feel
responsible for those determined not to be responsible.This is a “tough love”
passage, and God was saying there does indeed come a
time when we ought not to pray as we formerly did for someone in determined
We should simply release that loved one to the well-deserved
disciplines of God. After all, we know about His nature. Not only is He just,
but He is also compassionate. The deepening pain into which we must sometimes
allow our loved one to descend is used by God to be the very instrument for
redemption and restoration. God intends this as kindness, as it is a dim
glimmer of the total aloneness and eternal abandonment to darkness that must be
faced if true repentance does not come.

We must always remember that every descent into darkness comes with
a rope attached, a way of ascent.
But we must be certain that the rope is
in God’s hands, not ours. We must be willing to release fully to God every
decision as to who handles the rope. Otherwise, our tendency is to stop the
descent every foot or two. Thinking we are being merciful, we may instead be
preventing our loved one’s access to the very tools and strategies God has
lovingly prepared to bring back this one whom He, and we, love so much.

Prayer:  Father, my hands bear the marks of rope burns. Forgive
me. Keep me increasing in purity as I live life before my loved ones, but
prevent me, Lord, from trying to do what You want to be allowed to do in their

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