Wednesday Devotional: Promises of Presence
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Jeremiah 3: 24
Between now and Advent, I am writing a series of devotionals on Lamentations 3: 19-36. In this passage, Jeremiah sits in the rubble of fallen Jerusalem absent of the people exiled to Babylon, a downcast soul who then remembers God's love, compassion, presence, and much more, giving hope to the people in Jerusalem.
Today's specific text is Jeremiah 3: 24.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
This is a curious thing to say - "The Lord is my portion." This is the same wording we see in Numbers 18: 20, when God tells Aaron that his priestly tribe of Levites will receive no land of their own in the Promised Land. While the other tribes will receive land, the tribe of Levi will receive God Himself as their portion of the inheritance. And God is no consolation prize; he’s the biggest prize!
Therefore, "my portion" is referring to the presence of God. Jeremiah waits for the presence of the Lord to arrive in fallen Jerusalem. Jeremiah might be confused as to how exactly this will happen; God was supposed to live in the temple, and if it was destroyed, then where would God be? (Ezekiel later has a vision indicating that God left the temple before it was destroyed as a sign of judgment against the Jewish people).
But as for Jeremiah, he may not be aware of where God is, yet he believes that the presence of God will return to be with him and the Jewish people. So Jeremiah waits patiently and confidently.
Before and after Jeremiah, God gives the gift of His presence. A few examples:
In the pillar of fire and the cloud that traveled with the Hebrews in the desert.
In the ark of the covenant that was placed in the Holy of Holies within the temple.
In Jesus' promise to send the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, once Jesus is gone. Then the Holy Spirit arrives with a flourish at Pentecost.
In the resurrected Jesus' promise that He Himself will be with His followers until the end of the age.
There are certainly times when we wonder where God is.
Perhaps it is during a crisis.
Perhaps it is when things somehow aren't going our way.
Perhaps it is when we are lonely or filled with self-doubt or feeling a dryness in our soul.
But like Jeremiah, we receive the promise of God's presence. God is and will be present with us, through all of our own exiles, in the midst of the rubble of our own lives. Thanks be to God for fulfilling His promise and being present with each of us today!
To learn more about experiencing God's presence each and every day, please check out my video series and upcoming book, Live Like You're Loved.