Any parent probably knows the scene: You have just grounded your child for some attitude or disobedient action. The child makes it appear as if it is all your fault they are being punished because you are so strict. You try to help them appreciate that if they hadn’t done what you disapproved of, you wouldn’t be upset and they wouldn’t be grounded. It appears such a “it is not my fault that I’m in trouble” attitude even (sadly) carries into adulthood at times.
This week, part of the worldwide reading for all congregations (of Jehovah’s Witnesses) included Jeremiah chapter 23. The focus of my commentary is verses 33 through 39. In it, Jehovah says that his burden that he has to carry is the rebellious people. In turn, the people arrogantly sass back ‘no, the burden we carry is being constantly reminded of what Jehovah wants from us.’ God is understandably incensed at their disrespectful attitude -- so much so, that in verse 39 he threatens to “throw them away” from his presence, which is a little stronger than being grounded. It is more akin to being thrown out of the house -- disowned!
Thankfully, even though Jehovah has a number of times (throughout the course of recorded Bible history) punished Israel for disloyalty and disobedience, he is not like some imperfect parents that absolutely refuse to forgive. God’s mercy is so impressive that even when people have lead a life of obstinate disobedience, if they demonstrate a true change of heart, he is willing to take them back.