This is what the Lord the God of Israel, says: “Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:5-7

The people who are about to go into exile are called “good figs” (verse 8). The “bad figs” are the leaders who will remain in the land and experience destruction. God separates his people into good and bad figs and allows his good figs the refining trial of exile.

Humanly speaking we would expect the “good figs” to remain in the land and the “bad figs” to be exiled since the exile was a punishment. Yet God’s punishments are designed to purify us. His purpose in sending them into exile was to give them a heart to know him so that they would return to him with all their heart. God had a good plan.

God allows difficulties, upheavals and trials to encourage us to seek him more earnestly. Often it’s in the hard times that we get serious about our faith and seek God for answers. Sometimes he has to strip away earthly securities so all we have is God, then we discover he is enough.

God’s ways are good. He will do whatever it takes to get us to a place where we have a close relationship with him.