The Cup of Wrath

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it.

Jeremiah 25:15

Jeremiah 25 is surely one of the more distressing passages in all of Scripture, for it reveals the imminent judgment of God upon, not just Israel, but all of its neighbors as well. Because all nations have dishonored the Lord, all will fall before his verdict of “guilty.”

A cup filled with wine is the central image of Jeremiah 25. The Lord told his prophet, “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it” (25:15). Literally, the Hebrew speaks of “this cup of the wine of my wrath.” Then, beginning with Jerusalem and Judah, Jeremiah made “all nations” drink from the cup. No nation would go unpunished.

This image from Jeremiah helps us to grasp part of the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice for us. He chose to drink the cup of God’s righteous anger, thus taking the judgment for our sin upon himself (Mark 10:38-40; 14:36). Instead of the cup of wrath, Jesus offers us the cup of the new covenant, the cup of forgiveness and life (Mark 14:23-25). Thus we do not have to live in fear of God’s judgment. Jesus bore the penalty for our sin so that we might live joyfully, freely, and obediently in relationship with God.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Were you raised to live in fear of God’s judgment? Do you live in fear of God’s judgment today? How can we experience the joy of drinking the cup Jesus offers to us? How can we offer this cup to others?

PRAYER: O Lord, you are truly a God of justice and holiness. Every sin falls under your righteous judgment. Thus, as a sinner, I stand before you condemned.

But you have not made me drink of the cup of your wrath. Rather, Jesus drank my cup, taking upon himself the judgment that was mine. Even more amazing, he offers me the cup of life, the wine of forgiveness. How blessed I am to live in the new covenant with you, O Lord.

Help me to live each day in relationship with you. May your grace motivate me to offer my whole life in response to you. May I obey you, not out of fear of judgment, but out of consistent gratitude for all you have done for me.

All praise be to you, God of justice and mercy. Amen.