Wednesday

'I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob, and have compassion on his dwellings.’ (v. 18)

Jeremiah 30: 18-22 Wednesday 24 March 2021

Psalm 130

Background

At last, we have some talk of compassion! This compassion is not the reason why God is going to restore the "tents of Jacob" but instead, is a description of what God is going to do. God will have compassion. This seemingly trivial point highlights an important description of love outlined by St Ignatius of Loyola in The Contemplation on Divine Love, that love is primarily about actions rather than words.

The rest of this passage describes in very practical ways what this compassion will look like and it reads a little like a declaration of human rights. The compassion will be upon the places where people live so that they are restored, and the people will be happy and thankful. Their numbers will increase rather than decrease and they will be honoured rather than disdained by others. Furthermore, anyone who oppresses the people will be punished by God. Finally, they will no longer be ruled by foreign kings such as Nebuchadnezzar, but instead by one of their own. The picture painted here is of a thriving and content community who will have everything they need in a physical sense along with dignity, self-worth and freedom and, the people around them will not oppress them, rule over them or look down upon them.

 In addition Jeremiah makes another prophecy which is summed up in the words ‘You shall be my people and I will be your God’ in verse 22. This will come about by having a prince from among them who is able to have a relationship with God and so lead the people. It is a restoration of a political system in which the king or ruler has special access to God, in the model of King David or Moses.

 

To Ponder:

  •  What does having compassion on where people live, look like in your community?
  • Take a look at The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What do you think?
  • Today should we expect our political leaders to have a relationship with God?
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