“It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.” v.20
It’s impossible to fully grasp God’s love unless you also grasp God’s wrath and judgment. Without wrath, God’s love is nothing but permissiveness, and most parents learn the hard way that boundaries are essential. Without God’s wrath, what exactly has Jesus saved us from?
Yes, God is love. God’s mercies are new every morning. But God is also holy. In fact, in Revelation, what is heard being sung around the throne of God is not “All you need is love,” but “Holy, Holy, HOLY!” God’s love is made perfect by His holiness. God’s love is glorified by His wrath against sin, because His judgment of sin shows us just how great a salvation is ours in Christ.
It’s uncomfortable for us to read about God’s judgment. It’s not a very popular sermon topic either. We want the “sweet, baby version of Jesus” to quote Ricky Bobby, but we don’t get to recreate God in our image. Instead, we must follow Him as He actually is, as He is revealed in Scripture. And these passages on the judgment of Israel for their wickedness reveal that God is both a God of love, and a God who is Holy.
Reading that God “thrust them from His presence” is hard. The absence of God is the very definition of hell. We read this and it hurts to even think of being thrust from God’s presence. This is the very judgment that Christ saved us from on the cross, so that we might never be thrust from God’s presence.