21 March 2014

Jeremiah 18:18-20

“Remember how I stood before you to speak good for them, to turn away your wrath from them.” (v. 20)


Poor Jeremiah! Because he spoke up for God his enemies are now trying to kill him, and he pleads with God to come and sort them out. However what he asks God to do is pretty vile!

Jeremiah, caught somewhere between a rock and a hard place, between the faithful God to whom he is committed and his relationship with his community, seeks to disentangle the web of deceit and ignorance that seems to be preventing the people from seeing the reality of God's love. Lonely and isolated Jeremiah still maintains his relationship with God despite such dreadful antagony.

Living in the reality of such antagony maybe reminds us of the harsh conditions that into which many are forced today when all they can do is to plead with God for help, disbelieving that the world can ignore their needs so much. Probably they, too, long for injury and insult to be thrown at their captors because their living conditions are so atrocious, just as Jeremiah did.

But this passage illustrates for us their strength of faith and need for God. Not only are we told of God's faithfulness to Jeremiah, but in their great need they are faithful to God and perhaps more so than we ourselves can be who have no atrocities that can compare with theirs.

To Ponder

  • Consider times when you may have felt lonely and isolated, and wondered what on earth God was doing. See if you can notice where God was.
  • The people of Syria and all the other places in the world where there is cruel neglect of humanitarian need only have us to turn to. Perhaps you could suggest that a candle is lit in your church for such nations of God's people or light one in your home at mealtimes to give thanks for all that you have.
  • In your prayer life, ask God to help you stand up to evil (as Jeremiah did) no matter where it maybe, so that our communities may see God's love in action.

Bible notes author

Margaret Sawyer

Margaret Sawyer has worked for the Methodist Connexional Team for ten years, first as connexional secretary for Women's Network and then as the Church's equality and diversity officer. She now works to support preaching and worship in her local circuit and district.