Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KEKO64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jeremiah 24:3-4, 7 God said to me, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” “Figs,” I said. “Excellent figs of the finest quality, and also rotten figs, so rotten they can’t be eaten.” Then God told me, “This is the Message from the God of Israel: The exiles from here that I’ve sent off to the land of the Babylonians are like the good figs, and I’ll make sure they get good treatment. I’ll keep my eye on them so that their lives are good, and I’ll bring them back to this land. I’ll build them up, not tear them down; I’ll plant them, not uproot them. “And I’ll give them a heart to know me, God. They’ll be my people and I’ll be their God, for they’ll have returned to me with all their hearts.

Go Figure, Definition:  “Go and think about the illogicality or contradictions in what I just said, because I cannot understand it.”

There are many contradictions about my city that I cannot understand right now. How can we have over 3,000 churches and so much violence? How can we be surrounded with so much wealth and yet have such extreme poverty? How can we have a city composed of primarily African-Americans and yet be so racially oppressed? How do we have a city with so many good people and yet the bad people seem to be taking over? Go figure!

The reality is that we have some good and some bad figs. God told Jeremiah that in Jerusalem there were good figs and bad figs. Interestingly the good figs had been taken away in exile. They had already been through God’s judgment for turning away. There were also bad figs that were rotten to the core. God’s promise was to take care of the good figs.

We are not good figs because we are not bad. We are good because we acknowledged our bad and our need for God. If we turn from our wicked ways, seek justice, do mercy, and walk humbly with our God he will separate the good from the bad.

Here’s God’s promise to the good figs.

1.  I will keep my eyes on them and make sure their lives are good.  Jesus said that God’s eye is on the sparrow so surely he will watch over us. Even when we think God does not see he is watching. He will reward every good deed and punish every bad deed.

2.  I will build them up and not tear them down. God is in the business of revitalization. He will help us rebuild our communities when we turn back to him.

3.  I will plant them and not uproot them. God will stabilize our community and give our economy a chance to grow. Much of the violence we see is a result of people who have been uprooted and people displaced. People need roots to grow.

4.  I’ll give them a heart to know me. This is one of the most important factors to consider. Our communities are in disarray because the people don’t have a heart for God. Yes we have over 3,000 churches but many of them have a form of godliness but no power to go with it. We have religion but not relationship. When we have a heart for God we love people like God would. Love is not violent!

When we turn our hearts back to God then we can figure out what’s wrong with this city. When we elect the right Public Figures that’s when we will see change. When our Religious Figures get out of their churches and into the community then we will see a change. When we figure out that we need God then we will see change in our city. Go Figure!

Dear God,

Help us to figure out this problem of violence and poverty in our city and country. There’s too many good people left for things to be so bad. Don’t let us settle for rotten figs when there are good ones to choose from. Help us to figure it out.

In Jesus Name,

Amen