I remember noticing this back when studying Isaiah and it has continued in most of the minor prophetic books also. God goes back and forth between pointing out sin, giving consequences, and naming how they will be delivered in the future. Each of those three elements could be labeled on a juggler’s balls and each time the juggler touches and then throws the ball, that element is included. Except that this juggler is so talented that he can keep one ball up in the air longer while the other two balls are tossed around. Because when God goes through those three elements in these prophetic books, they aren’t in any particular order.

As I noticed this, I realized that if I were having these books written, I would have had a section, like a chapter, naming all the sins. Then when I’m done, I would name all the consequences, and then finally, all the good news for the future. The writer in me would organize everything together.

But God doesn’t do that. It’s as if He knows that if He went on and on, chapter after Biblical chapter about their sin, they might not read very far. And then for giving consequences, well, who’s going to continue on reading not knowing that the future deliverance will be named?

So God juggles them in different orders and to prevent discouragement, the good news is wedged in between the bad news. Sounds like a good way of relating to people, especially in the area of counseling. Sprinkle in some good news; cast a vision of how good it can be from obedience; yet point out sin and its consequences too.

God knows how to do it.