Monday

20 January 2014

“And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them.” (v. 9a)


Background

In popular memory, Jeremiah is often remembered as a doom and gloom merchant! The book that bears his name, however, tells of a prophet who should also be remembered for some wonderful words and actions of hope. His God-given task is not only "to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow", but also "to build and to plant" (Jeremiah 1:10).

Today's short passage is part of the second "word of the Lord" (Jeremiah 33:1) that came to Jeremiah while he was confined in the court of the guard in the palace of the king of Judah. (The first is recorded in chapter 32.) It tells Jeremiah to buy a field in his hometown, Anathoth, during the siege of Jerusalem in the year 588/587 BC. The prophet does what he is told and says, "For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought and sold in this land" (Jeremiah 32:15).

In chapter 33 Jeremiah says that the Lord who made the earth, who formed it to establish it, tells him great and hidden things that he has not known (Jeremiah 33:2-3). The first of these starts by saying that the Chaldeans (the Babylonians) shall destroy Jerusalem (verses 4-5), but continues with a promise to bring recovery and healing (verse 6). These are understood in terms of abundance of prosperity and security (verse 6), the restoring of the fortunes of Judah and Israel (verse 7), and cleansing from and forgiveness of all the guilt of their sin against God (v. 8).

This promised healing and recovery will certainly be of benefit to Judah and Israel. They will also serve as a witness to others of what God can do: Jerusalem shall be to God "a name of joy, a praise and glory before all the nations of the earth".


To Ponder

  • There are those who speak of the world and/or the Church in terms of 'doom and gloom'. What words and actions of hope do you hear and see?
  • How do you relate those words and actions of hope to God's presence and action?
  • How might you share in enabling these to be a witness to others of what God can do?


Bible notes writer: The Revd Neil Stubbens

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